WESTHOUGHTON maintained their position at the top of the Bolton League Second XI Premiership with a crushing nine-wicket win against Astley Bridge at St George’s Oval last weekend.

Batting first the visitors had no real answer to the bowling of TJ Pindoria (4-26) and Oliver Dixon, who claimed 3-19 as Astley Bridge struggled to reach 73 in 35 overs.

Alex Lowe, with 21, provided the only real resistance.

Despite losing an early wicket, Kai Hodgkiss (23 not out) and Ian Pilkington (28no) raced home in just 14 overs to clinch the win.

Horwich RMI and Heaton fought out an exciting game at Lower Pools which ended with the visitors winning by 26 runs. The visitors were in some trouble at 19-4 before Daniel Hornby (64) and Adam Knowles (56) added 114 for the fifth wicket to turn the innings round and help them reach 204-9, despite Ryan Garner taking 4-45.

Garner then top scored in the Heaton reply with 53, with Robin Isted (29) and Matthew Ball (25) supporting him well, but Sam Little (4-44) and Phil Cavill (3-47) helped dismiss them for 178.

There was another close game at Farnworth's Bridgeman Park where the home side edged out Daisy Hill by three wickets in a tense finish.

Chasing a target of 174, Farnworth got off to a steady start with Victor Walcott making 27, but a middle-order collapse saw them rocking on 114-7 before an unbroken stand of 61 between Stephen Bradley (37no) and Lee Bridge (33no) got them over the line with 10 overs to spare as Kieran Farrell took 4-62.

Farrell had also been to the fore in the Daisy Hill innings with 31no together with Mike Leeming (33) and Jack Sleigh (29) to help his side reach 173.

Matthew Hicks (3-26) and Elliott Longworth (3-17) were the pick of the Farnworth bowlers.

Despite a valiant effort, Blackrod fell 26 runs short of their first win of the season at Kearsley.

Set a target of 183, they were eventually restricted to 156-8 by the bowling of Ramesh Pushparajah (3-35) and Joe Capstick (3-29), with Charlie Fletcher (35) and Matthew Baty (29) leading the chase.

The Kearsley total of 182-6 had been built mainly around the efforts of Daniel Robinson (41), Steven Pellowe (37) and George Banks (25), while Stephen Glover proved the most effective bowler, taking 3-20.

Darcy Lever remain top of the Association Division after thrashing neighbours Little Lever by a crushing 225 runs at The Levers.

Wayne Hopkinson led the way with 85 and was well supported by John Bayliss (35), Bilal Khan (33) and Mujtaba Khan (33) as they rattled up 264-7, with Matthew Pendlebury (3-40) the pick of the bowlers.

Sajid Mahmood (4-13) and Toseef Hanif (4-24) then hustled their visitors out for a meagre 39 in reply.

A magnificent unbeaten 153 by Thomas Gaskill, who added 121 for the first wicket with Tallis Keeler (30) and 92 for the second with Josh Wilson, helped Walkden to build up a score of 261-4 against Adlington.

Their hosts then gave the chase a good go before eventually being restricted to 219-7 in reply.

Liam Kane led the chase with 96 and Andrew Chamberlain chipped in with 36 but their efforts proved in vain.

Lostock got the better of Tonge at Chew Moor, defeating their visitors by a comfortable 134 runs.

Batting first they put together a total of 190-9, thanks in the main to Lucky Issa (53), Mark Cregan (42) and Alex Senior (21), with the pick of the bowlers being Daniel Holt (3-38) and Mohsin Patel (3-52).

Darren Parr, with 5-21, then undermined the Tonge reply and they slumped to 56, with Holt again to the fore as he provided the only real resistance.

Little Hulton maintained their challenge as they defeated Golborne by 113 runs at Simpsons Fields.

Batting first they managed to total a useful 221, with the main contributions coming from Neil Jarvis (59), Brian Kelly (29) and Mark Penny (23) as Ian Anders collected 3-38.

Penny, with 3-17, and Stephen Thomasson (3-34) then ensured the reply only reached 108-8, with the main resistance coming from a battling David Houghton (42).

The day’s other game saw Atherton secure a four-wicket win against Eagley in a relatively low-scoring game at Higham Park.

Eagley batted first and, despite Daniel Counsell making 44, struggled to a total of 124, with David Baines (4-21) and Matthew Lilley (3-40) starring with the ball.

Lilley then helped Mark Davies, who went on to make an unbeaten 45, lead Atherton to their target with 10 overs to spare.

Sunday saw the semi-finals of the Stafford Trophy, with Eagley and Little Hulton making it through to the final.

Eagley made it through by virtue of a thrilling six-wicket win against Heaton as they chased down their hosts’ 196-9 with four overs to spare.

Heaton recovered from a shaky start thanks to Ryan Garner (51), Matthew Ball and Jacob Whittaker (29 each), as Tom Mitchell took 4-40.

Jack Phillips then led the chase with a fine unbeaten 75, with David Shuttleworth (40) and Daniel Counsell (33) providing the main support.

Little Hulton enjoyed a more comfortable passage through to the final as they swept Lostock aside by 114 runs at Chew Moor.

Lostock had simply no answer to the bowling of Ian Lee, who returned an impressive 6-19 to help skittle them out for just 80, despite Danny Cockton making 31.

Roger Kumah, with 53, and Mark Penny (45) had laid the foundation of the villagers' 194-6, with Andrew Willis and Neil Jarvis also making useful contributions.