HAROLD Ryden Trophy record breaker Mark Ashworth defied horrendous conditions to keep his dreams of getting his hands on the most prestigious prize in East Lancashire amateur golf as he won through to the knockout stages on Saturday.

As the rain and wind whipped across Pleasington, Ashworth — who became the first man in more than three decades to defend the title back in 2012 before making it a titanic treble a year later — made light of the weather to finish top of the gross pile thanks to impressive rounds of a par 72 and a three-under 69.

Playing alongside great rival, Clitheroe club-mate and friend Tony Flanagan, plus two man Ashworth's total of 141 saw him book a spot in tonight's quarter-finals where he will tee off against Accrington's scratch man Ian Hardman, who won through on Saturday thanks to two steady rounds of 74.

With champion Jonathan Hurst not defending his title and Nelson's rising star Curtis Clarkin who was runner-up last year out of the event his club-mate and former winner and runner-up Nick Uttley hoped to return to the big time but rounds of 75 and 79 put paid to his hopes.

But there was better news for Wilpshire's Joey Lamb, who overcame a shaky round of 76 with an even par 72 in the afternoon to win through to the knockout stages and he will play Accrington's Jason Ashworth, who was hugely impressive as he qualified second, just one shot adrift of his namesake thanks to a quite stunning morning round of 68 and an afternoon 74.

Michael Hunt carried the hopes of the host club into the last eight and he was back to his best on Saturday.

Teeing off first at 8.16am, 2001 winner Hunt broke par to shoot a 70 in the morning and then was a cool head in the afternoon with a 73 to qualify well and is sure to be well supported this evening when he plays Lewis Boyle from Shaw Hill.

Boyle did well to fight back after a horror morning show saw him shoot 77 before he blasted back in the afternoon to go one under and make the last eight.

Blackburn's Anthony Harwood's impressive morning round of 68 was followed up by a 75 in the afternoon but that was enough to see him though and he faces Nelson's Sean Field in the last of tonight's quarter-finals.

Among those to miss out were 2012 runner-up Chris Nuttall and former winner Craig Fort, while rising star Owen Leigh who is catching the eye in Elga's Junior Tour was down the leaderboard.

Quarter-final draw at Pleasington GC tonight.

Mark Ashworth v Ian Hardman (5pm tee off), Jason Ashworth v Joey Lamb (5.5pm tee off), Michael Hunt v Lewis Boyle (5.30pm tee off), Anthony Harwood v Sean Field (5.45pm tee off).

The semi-finals are tomorrow from 5.30pm with the final at Pleasington on Wednesday at 5.30pm