Read were catapulted to the Championship’s summit as South African overseas amateur Zadian Muller finished off their eye-catching win at promotion rivals Atherton with a hat-trick during a disrupted Saturday in the Anthony Axford North West Cricket League.

Seamer Muller claimed three of four wickets to fall in four balls in the final over as Atherton, chasing 151 in 33 overs, were bowled out for 135.

Atherton captain Jack Welsh was run out before Muller, who struck four times in all, had Zeeshan Alsam caught and then bowled Harry Morgan and Mohammad Nazim.

Read’s South African professional Blayde Capell top-scored with 43 in their 150-8 following a delayed start, and they have now won five of six games to sit atop of the table with 61 points - seven ahead of Baxenden. Atherton have now won three, lost three.

Read, who claimed the full 12 points, benefited from Baxenden being involved in one of three games abandoned without a ball bowled across both the Championship and Premiership. They were rained off at Earby - five points apiece.

Walkden led the Championship table before a ball was bowled, but they suffered a surprise home defeat to Feniscowles, by 78 runs having failed to chase a revised 204 target from 40 overs.

Pakistani professional Mohammad Jameel top-scored with a middle order 65 in Feniscowles’ 217-7 from 45 overs. Walkden were later bowled out for 125 to slip to their second defeat in six and drop to third in the table.

Adnan Khan struck four times in the successful visiting defence.

Blackrod’s 100 percent record - six wins from six - in the Premiership was ended on Saturday as their latest clash with fellow title-chasers Salesbury was rained off at home.

They just held onto top spot, however - one point clear of champions Little Lever, who beat bottom side Ribblesdale Wanderers at home by 28 runs in a 35-over game. They won for the sixth time in seven.

Little Lever posted 161-8 thanks to Mukhtar Nasir’s middle order 69.

Adil Nisar then claimed 5-34 from seven overs as Wanderers were limited to 133-9 and suffered their seventh straight defeat.

The top four teams in the Premiership - Blackrod (75 points), Little Lever (74), Padiham (64) and Salesbury (64) are now separated by just 11 points in a fascinating battle for supremacy.

Padiham jumped to third courtesy of a comfortable win at Astley Bridge - their fifth in seven games.

They won a reduced contest by 45 runs having posted 176-7 from their 37 overs.

Callum Clarke top-scored with 62 from number three before captain Toby Burrows put Bridge in a spin with a superb 6-46 from 13 overs. The hosts, bowled out for 131, lost their sixth game in seven and are rooted in the relegation zone, above only Ribblesdale Wanderers.

Farnworth Social Circle are fifth having hammered Eagley by 133 runs at home on the back of Jameel Stuart’s stunning 139 off 97 balls with nine fours and as many sixes.

The Bajan pro underpinned their daunting 262-8 in 43 overs. He then struck three times with his spinners as Eagley were bowled out for 129.

Social Circle won for the fourth time in seven, a record matched by Kearsley, who beat Lostock at home.

Six wickets for Naveed Gondal and 101 for South African overseas amateur Byron Giraudeaux helped them to a thumping nine-wicket success as they comfortably chased a revised 134 target in 37 overs.

Kearsley initially bowled Lostock out for 150, in which glorious Gondal claimed 6-31 from 8.1 overs. Opener Giraudeaux then dominated the response with 14 fours and four sixes in a brutal 51-ball assault.

Farnworth are starting to find their feet having only won one of their first five games. They have since won their last two, including at home to Tonge on Saturday by 124 runs in a 41-over affair.

Australian OA Liam Smith top-scored with 82 not out off 88 balls in their 204-3 and was well supported by captain Ross Sutton’s unbeaten 61. They shared a third-wicket 120.

Aussie pro Conor Spinks then put the skids under Tonge - 80 all out - with an impressive 5-19 added to four wickets for new ball partner Yasir Rashid. Both teams are sat mid-table with three wins and four defeats.

The Championship included the other abandoned game, between Barnoldswick and Whalley.

But Oswaldtwistle Immanuel were able to claim their third win in seven in emphatic fashion, bowling hosts Cherry Tree out for just 61 and winning by five wickets.

Australian OA Luke Sirianni top-scored with 24 not out.

Their heroes were captain Kurt Smithson with a new ball 5-19 and fellow opening bowler Adil Hussain, who struck four times.