EARLY pacesetters Rawtenstall proved their lofty position is anything but a flash in the pan as they stepped up to the plate to overwhelm Todmorden yesterday.
Vinny Hanson’s men were a class above their hosts at a busy Centre Vale as they made it four wins from four at the start of what is already shaping up to be an enthralling season.
After the early loss of Hanson, Sam Kershaw and Chris Cook-Martin (39) dealt with the threat of Tod pro Michael Neser as they kept the scoreboard moving.
Queensland Bull Neser was a different proposition once he swapped from the school end to the park end and he bowled Kershaw with a beauty when the young opener was on 45 and looked set for a deserved half-century.
But Brett Pelser made 46 and Nick Payne an enterprising 31 as Rocky posted 219-8 with Neser (3-66) the leading wicket-taker.
It appeared that Rawtenstall’s target was maybe 20 short given they had been 102-1 after 21 overs. But the bowlers were determined to stay at the summit.
Keith Roscoe led the way as he claimed five wickets and in end end Todmorden closed on 161-9.
Reigning champions Accrington proved too good for Colne at Thorneyholme Road as they claimed a four-wicket win.
Ockert Erasmus made 57 not out for the hosts as they eased past Colne’s 140 all out, Billy Jamil falling just four short of a half-century in that total.
East Lancashire were beaten for the first time this season as Lowerhouse proved they are back in the groove.
Cobus Pienaar made 56 and Joey Hawke a second successive half-century as the House piled up 245-9 despite the best efforts of East Lancashire pro Matthew Kleinveldt, who claimed 6-78.
East Lancashire were never in the hunt and were 110 all out.
League legend Joe Scuderi hit the winning runs as Nelson tasted victory for the first time this season – and what a win it was for the Seedhillites over Church.
Sam Halstead ripped out the top order as Church slipped to 27-3.
He finished with 3-36, while Richard Meade claimed 3-39 and there were two wickets each for Toqir Hussain and Neil Thompson as Church were knocked over for 114 with only Lloyd Aspin’s 64 holding Nelson up. At 11-3 and 47-5 Nelson were wobbling but Thompson (35 not out) and Harrison Phelan (27) took them to the brink.
Then Scuderi saw them over the line.
Enfield beat Haslingden at Bentgate after posting 186-9 – and the hosts were never in the hunt as Adam Bracewell’s men skittled them for 131.
Werner Coetsee top scored with 57 for Enfield while David Bracewell’s late 30 gave them added impetus before Hassan Fazal claimed 5-37 and Coetsee claimed four wickets as Haslingden wasted a good start that saw them 49-0.
Bacup made it two wins as the piled on the pain for Burnley, who have now lost all four.
Steve Brunt’s 35 was the reason Burnley managed to get to three figures with Bacup pro Haseeb Azam claimed seven wickets.
Tim Farragher made 39 as Bacup got over the line despite a mid-inngs wobble.
Ramsbottom made short work of Rishton as they made short work of their hosts in a game that lasted just 53 overs.
Simon Read claimed 4-20 from 17 overs and there were two wickets each for Mike Haslam and Daryn Smit as Rishton slumped to 70 all out, Jon Fielding bringing their innings to an end with his only delivery.
Luke McVarish was the only man in double figures with 10. Dale Gabriel went for a duck but Tom Parton and Smit eased Rammy home by nine wickets.