FARNWORTH are firmly in the Premiership title race even if they have some improving to do.

Simon Booth’s side secured a 51-run win in the Farnworth derby as Social Circle, chasing 147 at Bridgeman Park, were bowled out for just 95 in a clash which saw them miss a huge chance to topple the hosts.

Farnworth had to recover from 88-7 to post 146 before Social Circle fell to 2-2 in reply and slipped further.

At the halfway mark in the season, third-placed Farnworth are only four points behind leaders Walkden after six wins and a defeat from nine matches.

This Saturday, they host Horwich RMI, who are second.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Booth was influential in their recovery from 88-7 with 27 from number nine, sharing 44 for the eighth wicket with opener Kamran Younas, who made 74 off 79 balls.

Nobody else reached double figures as new ball pair Dave Mather (5-52 from 18 overs) and Josh Roscoe (4-57 from 12) impressed.

“At the moment, we’re just ticking along and relying on our bowling,” said Booth.

“We haven’t been great with the bat, and I don’t know why. I said to the lads, ‘I’ve got loads of questions and no answers’.

“We’re such a good side on paper, but we’re inventing ways of getting out. It’s not great. But when it clicks, we’ll destroy somebody.

“It was quite frustrating because we were 49-0 in no time with Ross Sutton and Kamran smashing it to all parts. We were thinking, ‘We might get 300 here’.

“Social Circle weren’t at full strength. They were missing a few players. Chris Barrow wasn’t playing. But in fairness, Dave Mather and Josh Roscoe bowled nicely.

“They could have capitulated, but they didn’t.

“I took a gamble and batted low at nine to try and lengthen the game out. But it didn’t matter because they took wickets. I went in with nearly 30 overs left.

“Myself and Kamran had a really good partnership. That’s what has probably won us the game because we could have been 100 all out. Then we bowled really well.”

New ball seamer Tufail Ahmed put the skids under Social Circle with 5-37 from 12 overs, including bowling professional Damith Perera with “a jaffa”, according to Booth. Spin duo Younas and Noman Ali added three wickets and two respectively.

“That’s probably the best bowling performance of the year,” said Booth, who believes his side are flying under the radar in the title race.

“People aren’t really talking about us, but we’ve only lost one game’.

“We play Horwich on Saturday, and it’s a massive game.”

Booth’s own form with the bat down the order has been mightily impressive this year. He is in the top five leading run-scorers in the Premiership with 229 at an average of 57.25.

He added: “I put it down to a bit of maturity and experience. I’m maturing at 34! I used to be a 30 and out man.

“I don’t think I’ve ever scored this many runs up to July. Normally, I score all my runs from July onwards. Hopefully that continues added to what I’ve already got.”