BIRTHDAY celebrations began early for Accrington’s Jacob Clarke in their 54-run win over Todmorden at Centre Vale.

Two days before turning 20 he recorded not only a personal best but the leading amateur bowling figures in the Lancashire League this season and the best of any Accrington amateur since 1927 with his superb 8-35 on Saturday.


Jimmy Hayhurst drew first blood as Todmorden suffered the early loss of Ben Sutcliffe (6), before Clarke started his one-man demolition show in a 10.5-over spell.

The home side would have been optimistic of chasing Accrington’s 187 all out, on a good batting track, but Clarke had other ideas as he stopped Simon Newbitt (44) and blitzed through the order as Tod were removed for 133.

Clarke also chipped in with the bat, adding 13. Professional Ockert Erasmus top-scored with 48 in this mid-table meeting.

Rishton earned a 219-run win at home to Bacup, who ended on 55 all out. But Colne’s fourth win of the season — at home to Church — kept some distance between them and the bottom club as both earned maximum points.

Colne professional Thomas Kaber starred in his team’s 23-run win at The Horsfield, top-scoring with 46. The South African received good support in particular from Joel Duerden (21) and captain Matt Walker (15).

At the top of the table, Ramsbottom closed the gap on a disappointing Burnley to ten points thanks to an emphatic 113-run home win over the leaders.

Professional Daryn Smith marked securing a new deal with the club for next season by top-scoring with 51 in Rammy’s 187-9.

He was joined by Dale Gabriel in an eye-catching stand of 79.

Gabriel made 46 from 48 deliveries before being caught by Michael Brown.

Simon Read was the destroyer-in-chief in the Burnley innings with 6-27 from his 13-over spell as the top side were bowled out for 74.

Enfield (128-4) earned a six-wicket win over Nelson (125).

Enfield pro Graeme van Buuren claimed four wickets before a joint top-score of 36, a total also achieved by captain Adam Bracewell, ensured a stress-free afternoon for the Dill Hall Lane side.

Lowerhouse (221-7) had the edge in a 24-run home win over Haslingden (197-9) to stay level pegging with Enfield.

At Rawtenstall (126-2), East Lancs’ professional Juan-Pierre de Villiers’ unbeaten 70 was not enough to prevent an eight-wicket defeat. East Lancs were bowled out for 122.