DARCY Lever consolidated their position at the top of the Bolton League Second XI Premiership last weekend after a seven-wicket win at Adlington.

The home side had gone in first and struggled to reach a final score of 139 and things could have been much worse had it not been for a last-wicket stand of 57 between Chris Samways (32 not out) and Ryan Kane (28) after Andrew Leyland had earlier made 26. Toseef Hanif with 3-33 and Adeel Hanif (3-10) did most of the damage with the ball. Darcy cantered home for the loss of just three wickets, led by Aaqib Pervez (54), Zeeshan Ali (35) and Ifikhar Ali (24).

Horwich RMI sit second following a 74-run win against Westhoughton at The Recreation Ground. Marcus Haydock top-scored for them with 46 with five of his team-mates also in double figures as they closed their innings on 168-9, Ryley Walton taking 3-43.

Ian Pilkington with 26 was pretty much the only batsman to offer much resistance in the run chase as Jordan Higham’s 5-8 blew away the heart of the batting and they were bowled out for 94.

The highest score of the day came at Springfield Road where Heaton emerged winners against Kearsley by a massive 186 runs.

An opening stand of 147 between Robin Isted (75) and Neil Williams-Denton (46) set Heaton on their way and with Matthew Ball making 39 and Vishal Bhandari 36 they were eventually all out for 296. Mohammed Zaheer toiled hard to take 4-56 and Stephen Nice 3-40. Jacob Whittaker then destroyed any hope of a successful run chase as he tore through the top order, taking 6-33 with only Abby Mort (33) and Zaheer (22) making any real score.

Lostock travelled to The Rigbys and came away with a comprehensive nine-wicket win against Bradshaw, who remain in trouble towards the bottom of the table.

The home side batted first and only Rob Counsell (29) managed to make much of an impact on a good bowling performance led by Darren Parr, who took 4-19. Lostock raced to their target with Dan Cockton making 35, Sam Barlow 25no and Harry Stockton quickly knocking off the required runs.

Astley Bridge also won away, by seven wickets at Piggott Street against Farnworth Social Circle. Chasing 116 to win they were in a little trouble at 21-3 before an unbroken fourth-wicket stand between Bilal Patel (59no) and Alex Lowe (37no) saw them home. Earlier, 4-31 from Ady Cooper had helped to restrict FSC to a total of just 115, achieved thanks mainly to 37 from Zac Wilson and Patrick Hayhurst’s 29.

Farnworth stay top of the Association Division, having beaten Daisy Hill by 58 runs at St James Street.

Going in first, they built up a useful 215 thanks in the main to 85 from Shujat Ali with useful support coming from Osama Amjad (28) and Saif Stanikzal (27) as Kieran Farrell toiled manfully to take 4-31.

Stephen Bradley’s spell of 5-49 then put the skids under the run chase, although Kishen Pindoria (33), Jack Berry (32) and Farrell (32no) gave the score some respectability as they were all out for 157 in reply.

Golborne lost ground in second place after a six-wicket defeat at the hands of Walkden. They were in some trouble at 14-3 before George Corfield (71) and Tom Owen (61) helped them recover to a useful-looking 208 all out as Oliver Gaskell took 5-46 for the visitors. Walkden made a great fist of their chase, losing just four wickets in hitting their target, with Tom Gaskell (86no) and Mo Razzaq (79) scoring the bulk of the required runs.

Tonge also managed an away win on a day that was dominated by visiting teams (nine out of 10 games being away wins) as they edged out Eagley by 38 runs. The home side made a good fist of chasing a target of 246 as Gareth Pryce hit 59 and Craig Faulkner 51 but in the end a fine spell of 6-42 left them just short on 207 all out. Tonge were steered to their 245-8 by a good knock of 85 from Hasib Patel and Sajid Patel who made 57 while Tom Mitchell took 4-77.

Little Hulton won a low-scoring game at Vicarage Road where their total of 110 was sufficient to beat the home side by 59 runs. Last batsman Tony Tipping gave the home side’s total a modicum of respectability with his unbeaten 18 pushing them up to 51 all out as the rest of the batsmen were simply blown away by a superb spell from Ian Lee who took 7-14.

Tipping had also been prominent with the ball, taking 5-15 as he and Tom Keegan (3-17) helped bowl them out for just 110, Ashley Perry hitting 38.

Atherton’s total of 140 at Higham Park left them 44 short of visitors Little Lever, who had earlier been dismissed for 184. Daniel Ashton (39), Darren Stewart (24) and Dan Hudspith (23) top-scored for Atherton but 4-38 from Don Heyes and Adam Clark’s 3-7 kept them in check. Hudspith and Ashton had also starred with the ball, taking three wickets each as Lever built up their total mainly on the strength of Naz Patel (50) and Joe Rushton (32).

Sunday saw the quarter-finals of the Birtwistle Cup with Walkden, Farnworth Social Circle, Horwich RMI and Farnworth moving into the last four.

The game of the round was at Horwich where RMI edged out Astley Bridge by just one run in an absolute thriller. Going into the last over Bridge needed seven runs with two wickets in hand and veteran Andy Taylor had ball in hand.

Two dots were followed by a four and a two, leaving two to get off two. Another dot ball followed, with Thakrar given out lbw to the last ball, leaving RMI one run ahead.

RMI had made 158 thanks in the main to 50 from Sam Little as Akhtar and Thakrar each took three wickets. Jimmy Dakri with 34 and Akhtar (23) led the Bridge response.

Farnworth cruised to a 103-run win against Westhoughton when, having made 228, they then bowled out their visitors for 125.

Shujat Ali was again to the fore, making 69 as Michael Daley hit 37 and Tom Speak 28 with Jamie Ramwell taking 4-43. Three wickets each for Speak, Ali and Victor Walcott ensured the chase was never really on, despite 23 from Seb Miller and 22 from Jamie McAndrew.

Farnworth Social Circle also enjoyed an emphatic win as they beat Kearsley by 132 runs at Springfield Road.

A brilliant spell of 7-23 from Zac Wilson blew away the Kearsley run chase as they collapsed to just 69 all out with Ste Pellowe standing firm with an unbeaten 33 the lone bright spot. Social had knocked 201 all out batting first with Max Perry hitting 54, Aryan Soma 43 and Charlie Gibson 30 as Darren Whittle took 4-29 and Abby Mort 3-28.

Walkden complete the last four after a seven-wicket win against Eagley at The Oval, chasing down their 148 target for the loss of just three wickets. Nathan Rushton, who ended unbeaten on 63, and Mason Sutherland (44) shared a stand of 108 which broke the back of the run chase. Dan Counsell with an undefeated 54 had shored up the Eagley innings with a little help from Harvey Seigne who posted 21 of their all out 147. George McManus took 3-32.