WESTHOUGHTON are off the mark with their first Premiership success in seven this season, but winless Bradshaw remain rooted to the foot of the table.

The Howfeners triumphed at home largely thanks to a committed bowling performance having posted only 136-9 inside 49 overs, hurt – literally – by the loss of key all-rounder Rob Brown to a dislocated knee 25 balls into his innings.

Brown would have opened the bowling, but his regular new-ball partner Kieran Edwards claimed 5-28 from 16.3 overs as Bradshaw were bowled out for 95.Given the low-scoring nature of the St George’s Oval fixture, however, arguably the key contribution came from Ben Harrison with two sixes in 52 off 40 balls, coming in at 65-6.

Captain Rob Houghton admitted he was relieved: “That’s an understatement!” he laughed.

“We’ve played some good and some average cricket this season. On Saturday, we played just okay but dug it out with the ball.

“Not having a pro, we were at a disadvantage straightaway. So to win against a good side who played some decent stuff is a massive plus.

“The league say we can’t have one until we sign a permanent replacement for Jonathan Carter (who returned to the West Indies in late May).

“That makes things a bit harder for us.

“What happens is, the league allows you to have six weekends where you can have a deputy pro. That is if your pro’s unavailable.

“If you have a pro injured, you’re allowed a replacement that doesn’t count to the six.

“I was under the impression that with Jonathan going home initially due to an intercostal tear, his sick note would allow us a pro in his place.

“Should he not return, we’d get someone in and count that to the six weeks.

“For some reason, that isn’t the case, and we’ve been deemed to have used our six already. So we’ve just got to play without a pro until we find somebody.

“We had one signed and done, but the ECB wouldn’t recognise his coaching qualifications. We should have things moving with another today (Monday).”

Houghton, who elected to bat, scored 18 at the top of the order, the third highest score of the match behind Harrison’s 50 and Bradshaw opener Elliot Dargan’s 24.

The skipper assessed: “It was a better deck than the scorecard suggests, if a bit slow. But modern cricket nowadays means everyone plays shots, and that’s been the downfall of a few.

“Both sides bowled better than they batted. They bowled really well, tight lines to good fields. Fortunately, Ben’s maiden 50 for the club got us out of a hole.”

Houghton says Brown was up on his feet after the game having suffered his nasty injury: “He was treated really well. We’re grateful that the Doc, Steve Liversedge from Bradshaw, was on hand alongside a member of ours who is a physio.

“Rob would have opened the bowling, so that further emphasises what a good performance it was and shows how good our team spirit is.

“We’re definitely a better side than where we find ourselves in the table.”