DEFENDING champions Accrington hit the summit of the Lancashire League on Saturday – and Hyndburn rivals Enfield are hot on their heels after they proved to be too good for former leaders Rawtenstall.
Accrington beat Bacup at Lanehead with Sam Excell (36), Ockert Erasmus (32) and Graeme Sneddon (30) the mainstays of their 189-9.
Skipper Stuart Crabtree also passed 3,000 league runs before Jimmy Hayhurst claimed his 300th wicket as Bacup were bowled out for 130 with Paul Burdekin top scoring with 22.
Enfield skipper Adam Bracewell hit 75 as his men posted 180 all out against Rawtenstall. Kieran Demaine made 27, while openers Liam Bedford (21) and Greg Jones (22) also stood out.
But Bracewell’s 94-ball innings was the crucial one and gave his bowlers the platform and only Nick Payne (30) and Brett Pelser (29) offering much of a threat.
Hassan Fazal claimed four wickets and Werner Coetsee three as Rocky were sent to their first loss of the season.
Church bowler Andrew Bentley had a day to celebrate as he picked up his 500th league wicket in his side’s romp against East Lancashire.
Bentley’s magical victim was the scalp of Matt Kleinveldt on his way to 4-37 as East Lancs slumped to 81 all out with Levi Wolfenden then smashing a rapid 54 as Church coasted to a 10-wicket win.
Lowerhouse are also slipping through the gears and beat Todmorden in a thriller.
Michael Neser and Gideon Foster each claimed four wickets as the House were bowled out for 172 with Chris Bleazard making 46.
At 145-6 Todmorden seemed home and hosed with Neser hitting 74.
But Cobus Pienaar claimed three wickets in an over and they slipped to 153 all out.
Rishton pro Matt Hulett piled on the pain for Burnley as he made a fine 77 not out to leave the title favourites with a fifth defeat in five games, while Jon Fielding was a hero to both sides as Ramsbottom beat Colne.
The veteran spinner hit a Lancashire League-best of 92 to dig Rammy out of a hole as they reached 226-8 - and then donated his £51 collection to Colne’s Save Our Ground appeal.
That was as good as it got for Colne, though. Daryn Smit picked up five wickets as the hosts collapsed to 71 all out.
Nelson veteran Michael Bradley came out of retirement and joined his sons Lewis and Russ in the side for the game at Haslingden.
But Brenton Parchment spoiled the party.
The Jamaican hit 103 and Phill Hayes 60 as Haslingden piled up 251-3.
And then Parchment claimed 7-73 to win the game as Nelson pro Ryan Canning hit 79 to take his men to the brink.