After the previous weekend’s near total washout there was a full programme of games in both the North and South Conferences of the Anthony Axford North West Cricket League.

Farnworth’s grip on the South Conference tightened as they defeated third-placed neighbours Farnworth Social Circle, while second-placed Astley Bridge were surprised by Lostock.

Bridge batted first at Sharples Park and looked well set for a big score as Ady Cooper (32) and Jake Bailey (31) added 76 for the first wicket. But the introduction of Jake Raby was to change that as he went on to take 5-38 and, despite Haashim Akthar adding 22, they were restricted to 164 all out. The Lostock reply was a team effort with seven batters in double figures, led by Harry Jackson’s 34 and Lucky Issa (22), but it was a rapid unbeaten 32 from Raby that secured the win.

For once Farnworth failed to pass the 200-run mark when they were bowled out for 186 at Piggott Street as both Lewis Whittle and Christian Walsh grabbed three wickets. Aaqib Javed top scored with 41 as Neil Hyde added 30, Scott Mather 23 and Chris Baxendale 22. Walsh then presented pretty much a lone hand in reply with his undefeated 45 almost half of the Social total of 111, with Sajid Mahmood taking 3-38.

Little Lever staged a remarkable recovery after finding themselves on 15-5 batting first against Eagley, as Michael Craig took 3-31. Adam Clark, with 43, and Jack Barlow, who went on to make 74, added 116 for the sixth wicket before Myles Hayhurst added 26 to help them reach 188. Matt Mills then completely undermined the Eagley innings as he returned 6-26 to help roll them out for just 66 in reply, with Sam Hall’s 30 making almost half of those.

Tonge and Blackrod had a good tussle at Castle Hill before the visitors came away with a 20-run success. They battled hard to make 148, despite the efforts of Rob Tully and Daniel Hunt who each took four wickets. Nikhil Patel led the Blackrod efforts with 50, aided by Will Ashworth, with 31. Holt then added a useful 21 in support of Dane Hargraves, who made 69, but Steve Ashworth, with 5-25, helped bowl them out for 128 in reply.

Atherton enjoyed a comfortable seven-wicket win against Walkden at Higham Park after bowling out their visitors for just 101, despite five batters making double-figure contributions, led by Umer Ishaq’s 21. The two Dans - Hudspith and Hughes - enjoyed themselves with the ball, taking 4-27 and 4-14, respectively. Hughes then hit a lusty 54 to help steer Atherton home with Harry Gaskill adding 20.

With North Conference leaders Barrowford not playing, Salesbury took full advantage to move within a point of the top, with both Cherry Tree and Ribblesdale Wanderers a further 20 points adrift.

Salesbury made the trip to Brinscall and came away with a five-wicket win. Chasing a target of 104, Joe Rawlinson, with 46, and Ben Riley, with 31, set them well on the way, despite Usman Patel taking 3-12. Brinscall’s batters had earlier struggled against a fine spell of 5-25 from Sam Bristol with the only real contributions coming from Andrew Scambler, who made 26, and James McVitie, who hit 22.

Cherry Tree kept up their challenge with a hard-fought four-wicket win at Stacksteads. After bowling the home team out for just 94 any thoughts of a simple chase were dispelled by Attique Khan’s spell of 4-39. But Sebastian Radler got them over the line with 31 not out. Earlier, Brendan Arrowsmith took 5-31 and Joseph Ince 3-42 to restrict Stacksteads to 94, as Ellis Hussey (31) and Ansar Mahmood, with 23, made over half the runs between them.

Ribblesdale Wanderers, in contrast, enjoyed an emphatic win by 141 runs against Read at Church Meadow where they made the day’s highest total of 203-9. The majority of those runs came from the bats of Graeme Kershaw, who made 58, and Stephen Tandy, who added 42, as Jamie Woodall took 4-74. Kershaw then proceeded to destroy the Read reply, taking 5-18 as they collapsed to 62 all out, Mohammed Zakriyah hitting 29 of those.

Barrowford seconds enjoyed a 66-run victory, over Earby at Bull Holme despite being restricted to 148-9 when they batted first. Joshua Bond had starred with the ball, taking 6-25 for Earby, while Jehangir Babar made 29 and Waqas Pervez 27. Earby were well placed on 66-2 in reply before losing their last eight wickets for 16 runs, as Arsalaan Ali took 5-22 and Ulfat Ali 3-11. Joe Swarbrick hit 39 and Luke Chapman 21, but the rest of the batters were swept aside by the two Alis.

Baxenden were emphatic nine-wicket winners against Chatburn at Back Lane after bowling their visitors out for just 64. It could have been even worse for Chatburn who found themselves 21-7 at one point before 22 from Marcus Harrison added a modicum of respectability to the innings, as Matt Crompton took 3-12 and Evan Pinder 3-11 for Bash. Marco Bellanco, with 29no, and Zac Bannon (21no) then raced to their target with few alarms.

After bowling out visitors Settle for just 81, Foulridge found themselves in some trouble at 27-4 in reply before Umar Ayyub clubbed a rapid unbeaten 47 off just 18 balls to clinch the game for his side. Earlier, only John Tarbox had really got going for Settle as he made 32. The rest of the batters struggled to get going as Mohammed Rauf took 5-34 for Foulridge.

Oswaldtwistle Immanuel entertained Padiham at New Lane where the visitors strolled to a nine-wicket success. Just four batters got into double figures with a top score of 17 as Ossy struggled to register a final total of just 99, Harry Starkie taking 4-25 and Joseph Edgar 3-28. Edgar then added an unbeaten 27 as he and Rhys Meehan (38no) coasted to the win.

Feniscowles travelled over to Whalley and ensured the trip was worthwhile as they picked up an 83-run win. Bating first, they made a very useful 160-7 with contributions coming from Hasan Musa (32), Matthew Nattrass (30) and Nasir Hussain, with 20. Whalley then never really got going in reply with only Chris Cameron making much headway as he hit 23, Syed Shah led the way for the visiting bowlers, taking 4-16.