THE top of the Second XI Premiership tightened up again last weekend with the top four now separated by just two points and the next three in the table just a handful of points behind them.

Last week’s leaders Darcy Lever suffered a crushing eight-wicket defeat to Farnworth Social Circle at Piggott Street.

Batting first, they were kept in check by some fine bowling from Jess Bradley, who took 4-40, and Andrew Brooks (3-32) and only Bilal Khan, who top-scored on 47, together with a defiant late 20 not out from Zakir Bashir helped them post 142 all out.

In reply a run-a-ball unbeaten 75 from Zac Wilson aided by Max Perry (25no) in an unbroken stand of 99 helped the home side to an emphatic win.

Horwich RMI moved to the top of the table with a comfortable eight-wicket win against visitors Astley Bridge at The Recreation Ground.

Set a target of 115, RMI raced home with 18 overs to spare as Jacob Swindells made an unbeaten 42 and Daniel Hunt 39no, sharing a stand of 67 for the third wicket.

Bridge had a decent start with Ady Cooper and Bilal Patel each making 21 at the top of the order before the rest crumbled against a fine spell of 3-7 from Andy Taylor.

Lostock share top spot after a 108-run win at Lower Pools against Heaton.

Going in first, Danny Cockton led the way with an impressive 130 with great support coming from Harry Stockton (66no) and Sam Barlow (47) as they compiled an imposing 285-4.

Heaton’s reply seemed well placed at one point as they approached 150 with just four wickets down but once the fifth wicket had fallen the rest of the order was swept away by Louis Greenhalgh (3-26) and Ryan Crombie (3-40).

The main contributions with the bat came from Jacob Whittaker (44) and Joe Cumberbatch (26).

Westhoughton kept up their challenge with a seven-wicket win against Kearsley at Springfield Road.

The home side went in first and, apart from a run-a-ball 39 from Grant Cordin, struggled to make progress against some fine bowling from Chris Leyland, who took 5-30, and Mason McKenna (3-24) that helped restrict them to just 110 all out.

Everyone chipped in as Westhoughton reached their target with just less than half their overs remaining with Joe Curme top-scoring on 26.

Adlington are starting to get cut adrift at the bottom of the table after a 45-run defeat at the hands of Bradshaw at Huyton Road.

The visitors went in first and built a solid total of

180-7, led by Rob Counsell’s 64 and Daisy Mullen (24) which were the highest of five double-figure knocks as Zac Green took 3-47.

Green then top-scored with 37 in the home side’s vain chase with Andrew Chamberlain making 30 and Andrew Leyland 26 in a reply of 135 all out as Ian Ross took 3-21.

Farnworth maintained top spot in the Association Division after a tense 16-run win against Eagley at the Eagley Sports Complex.

Set a target of 160, Eagley found themselves on 43-6 despite 22 from George Jackson before the lower order almost pulled off a great revival.

Harvey Seigne (35) and Graham Fallows (22no) led the fightback but it proved just out of reach as Victor Walcott returned 4-32.

Martin Axford led the Farnworth batting, making 42 with useful support from Kevin Rogerson (23) and Muhammed Khan (21) as they posted 169 all out.

Mick Craig (4-33) and George Jackson (3-27) did the damage with the ball.

Golborne remain second following a seven-wicket win against Tonge at Simpsons Fields.

Tonge batted first and never really came to terms with a fine spell of 5-66 by Jack Kidman and they struggled to set a challenging target as they were eventually bowled out for 104, George Brodie making 22 of them.

Golborne lost two quick wickets but Tom Owen with 27 and Dave Szostok, who went on to hit an unbeaten 65, steadied the innings and saw their side home.

Blackrod travelled across to Higham Park to take on Atherton and came away with a good seven-wicket win.

Chasing an Atherton total of 115 a second-wicket stand of 81 between George Tipping, who made 46, and an unbeaten 37 from Andy Gregory helped secure an impressive win despite Dan Hudspith taking 3-20.

Atherton had earlier struggled to cope with fine bowling from Tony Tipping (5-22) and Ste Glover (4-40) as, despite 26 from Matt Nolan, 22 by Paul Woodend and 20 from Mike Tomlinson, they were dismissed for just 115.

Little Lever enjoyed a comprehensive win by 121 runs against Daisy Hill at Victory Road after posting the division’s top score of the day in making 207.

Bob Waller (84) and Tuseef Hameed (57) laid the foundation with a stand of 143 for the third wicket but disappointingly only one other batsman reached double figures.

Keiran Farrell (4-46) and Chris Charters (3-23) bowled well for Daisy Hill.

Joe Rushton then took 6-27 to destroy the Daisy Hill reply, with only a determined 40 from Brett Farnworth offering much resistance in a total of just 86.

Walkden defeated Little Hulton by six wickets at The Oval in the final game of the day, chasing down their target of 129 in just 27 overs.

Mo Razzaq with an unbeaten 51 led the charge, aided well by Adam Newton, Mason Sutherland, and Tom Gaskill who all hit scores beyond 20.

Earlier Little Hulton had struggled to a total of 128-9, which was something of a recovery from 41-6, thanks in the main to Jack Stanley (25) and Jon Platt (23) as George McManus took 3-40.