SEVEN-WICKET spinner Iain Critchley returned one of the bowling performances of the season in the Bolton League as Adlington look to mount a late-season revival.

Critchley returned a stunning 7-9 from 8.5 overs as hosts Adlington defended a target of just 115 to bowl Kearsley out for 99, winning by 15 runs.

It was only the Huyton Road side’s second win in 13 Premiership matches this season, and they are now just three points behind third-bottom Westhoughton and six behind Bradshaw, who are fourth from bottom.

Westhoughton host Adlington a week on Saturday in a blockbuster fixture.

“We’re definitely still hopeful we can stay up,” said captain Simon Trim.

“There’s some big games coming up, and there’s no point playing if you don’t believe you can stay up.”

Trim hailed the performance of Critchley, whose figures rival eight-wicket hauls in the Association division from sub pros Tony Palladino and Shashrika Pussegolla earlier in the campaign.

They took 8-15 and 8-46 for Atherton and Blackrod respectively. Experienced campaigner Critchley has now taken 19 wickets in 11 outings this season compared to 48 from 15 in the Association last year.

“They are decent figures aren’t they!” chuckled a delighted Trim.

“He’s bowled well and got his line and length right. He was back to bowling how he did for us last year.

“Iain will admit himself that he hasn’t bowled to his potential this year. I just think he’s not really found his rhythm, but he’s getting back into it now. It turned from ball one. Their spinner (professional Imran Khalid) also got plenty of turn and took three wickets. It suited spin down to the ground, to be honest.”

Adlington elected to bat and were bowled out for 114 as only three batsmen, including Critchley, made it into the twenties and no one made it to 30.

Professional Gulraiz Sadaf (24) and Critchley, who made 20, shared a fourth-wicket partnership of 32 to recover from 11-3 before Khawaja Naveed Ullah top-scored with 27 from number nine in the order after another flurry of wickets.

Greg Jennings took the new ball and claimed five wickets for Kearsley, who later looked to be in control chasing at 96-6 with Phil Morris (41) and Adeel Baig (20) putting on 44 for the seventh wicket.

But Critchley, who claimed the last seven wickets to fall, removed both of them – Morris lbw and Baig caught – en route to a memorable win.

In all, he claimed five lbws and a bowled, with Trim adding: “That was a great game.

“We wanted 160 at the start. That would have been an ideal score.

“There were a couple of useful scores down the order, which turned out to be very important.

“At one point they were looking quite comfortable.

“They didn’t look in any trouble with those two (Morris and Baig) at the crease. But Critch came through for us. Winning’s a habit, and it only takes one performance to get back into that habit. Hopefully this is the one for us.”