THE game of the day in last weekend’s Bolton League Second XI Premiership was undoubtedly the thrilling game between Kearsley and Astley Bridge in which Kearsley eventually came out on top by just nine runs.

Batting first they were able to post a total of 184, mainly thanks to the efforts of Darren Whittle who hit a fine 79 as Ramesh Patel took 3-27 for Bridge.

Despite Bilaal Patel, Luke Wainman and Rob Hitchen all getting into the twenties none were able to kick on and quite see their side home with Josh Roscoe’s 3-45 and 3-31 from Grant Cordin helping dismiss them for 175 in reply.

The highest total of the day came from Horwich RMI who rattled up 221-8 in their 45 overs against Darcy Lever.

Jordan Higham (69) and Marcus Haydock (55) led the way with Aryan Ashraf also chipping in with a useful 30 despite Toseef Hanif taking 3-31.

Hanif then played pretty much a lone hand in Darcy’s reply, making a fine 77, although Bilal Khan did chip in with 26 but 3-22 from Haydock and 3-32 from Andy Taylor helped bowl them out for 144 in reply.

Champions Farnworth Social Circle were made to work hard for a five-wicket win against Adlington despite dismissing their visitors for just 100 following a superb spell of bowling from Simon Harrison, who took 7-29.

Matthew Knight then made an invaluable undefeated 54 to steer his side home despite the best efforts of Leon Morris who took 4-29 to keep the pressure on the batsmen.

Newly-promoted Lostock stormed to a second win of the season as they defeated Westhoughton by a healthy 118 runs at Chew Moor.

Westhoughton battled hard to restrict them to a total of 169 – despite Asghar Ali making 49 and Will Berry 31 – spreading the wickets around their bowlers, but then had simply no answer to the bowling of Tom Mills who grabbed five wickets and Darren Parr with four as they collapsed to just 51 all out in reply.

Heaton must have been happy with their work with the ball as they dismissed Bradshaw for 120, only to find their visitors’ bowling even more of a handful as they slumped to just 95 all out in reply.

Sury Varsani (4-25) and Kishen Patel (3-33) had been instrumental in bowling out Bradshaw for whom Luke Davenport’s 34 – the top score in the game – was eventually to prove the difference.

Ian Ross then set about the Heaton batting in a fine spell of 5-38 with Joe Cumberbatch the only one to make much of an impact with the bat.

Top score of the day in the Association division came from Eagley as they raced to 227-8 against Little Lever on their way to a comprehensive win by 92 runs.

Most of the batsmen chipped in but it was Tom Mitchell with an unbeaten 69 and Will Owen with 42 that led the way with Lever’s bowlers sharing the wickets between them.

Craig Massey then took 4-14, backed up well by Danny Counsell (3-34) to help restrict the reply to 135 with Don Heyes and Harry Williamson the only ones to reach 20.

Golborne also passed the 200 mark on their way to a 30-run win against Farnworth at Simpson Fields.

The visitors made a good fist of chasing 206 to win before eventually being bowled for 175 in reply.

Shujat Ali (53) and Ste Collins (48) led the chase but in the end the efforts of Tom Owen (4-36) and Tom Peacock (3-45) helped frustrate their efforts.

The Golborne total of 205 had been built around a fine 81 from David Szostock together with 36 by Graham Corfield and Craig Ward’s 32 as Rizwan Pervez took 5-39.

Daisy Hill crushed local rivals Atherton by nine wickets at St James Street, charging to their win on the back of a rapid 78 from Stephen Kenny and Mike Leeming with a more patient 34 not out as they raced to 131-1 to seal the win.

Atherton had slumped to 32-5 before Matt Nolan (42) and Paul Woodend (26) added 79 to help them reach a more respectable total of 130.

Nathan Blair with a fine 5-32 and Leeming (3-23) did most of the damage with the ball for Daisy.

Little Hulton entertained Tonge at The Old Vicarage and emerged with a comfortable win by seven wickets. Tonge went in first and never got going against a bowling attack well led by Ste Thomasson, who collected 5-31 to help restrict them to just 115 – a total that could have been much worse but for the efforts of Wayne Cook (36) and Masum Patel with 32. Ashley Perry then saw his side to the target with an unbeaten 60.

Blackrod travelled to The Oval to take on Walkden and struggled with the bat as they mustered just 127 batting first. Nathan Mayor and Matt Westhead both managed to get into the twenties but none of the other batsmen really got going as Mo Razzaq took 3-27.

Josh Wilson then made a fine 67 to help the home side to a six-wicket win.

Sunday saw the first round of the Birtwistle Cup and there was a truly remarkable game at Sharples Park where Astley Bridge crushed Golborne by a massive 306-run margin.

Bridge went in first and totally dominated the bowlers as they raced to a total of 372-4 with Ady Cooper making a fantastic unbeaten 162 and James Cooper close behind with an excellent 101.

Golborne must have been demoralised as they then slumped to 66 all out in reply, thanks mainly to George McAleavey who battled hard to make 21 as Luke Wainman and Tazeel Ahmed each grabbed three wickets for Bridge.

A low-scoring match at Higham Park saw Atherton get past Lostock by just three wickets in an exciting game.

Lostock batted first and never got to grips with the home side’s bowling led by Dan Ashton, who took 4-11, and with a top individual score of just 15 scrambled to a total of just 78.

Any thoughts of an easy win were dispelled as Darren Parr took 3-12 and the chase was floundering on 14-4.

However Mike Tomlinson, with 32 not out, and Matt Nolan (25) helped them over the line with three wickets to spare.

Little Lever got past a depleted but battling Darcy Lever at Victory Road where the visitors pushed them all the way to a three-wicket win. Aaqib Patel played a lone hand for Darcy, making an excellent 83 as Tamoor Jehangir (5-17) and Don Heyes (3-60) destroyed the rest of the order and they were bowled out for 131.

Toseef Hanif then grabbed 4-22 but in the end Bob Waller with 27 and Jo Rushton (22no) got Lever over the line.

The final game of the round saw Blackrod squeeze past neighbours Adlington at Meadow Street by four wickets in another relatively low-scoring game.

Nathan Mayor took 4-56 to help restrict Adlington to a total of 123 with only Joe Leather (32) and Mike Halliwell (23) making much progress with the bat.

Mayor then chipped in with 22no and, together with 50 from Tom Keegan and a useful 20 from Matt Baty, took his side to the second round with four wickets to spare.