Premiership leaders Blackrod are the only team in either division of the Anthony Axford North West Cricket League to have won each of their first six matches of 2024 after brushing Eagley aside by 127 runs on Saturday.

Sri Lankan professional Navod Paranavithana starred with bat and ball to secure the maximum 12 points - 114 off 121 balls opening the batting in 209-7 and then three wickets to bowl hosts Eagley out for 82 in reply.

Before the NWCL’s sixth round of league fixtures, Blackrod and Salesbury were locked on 58 points, but the latter were beaten at home to Padiham by five wickets.

Padiham’s sub pro Anuk Fernando - in because of Jack Edgar’s shoulder injury - starred with four wickets and 55 opening the bowling and batting.

Padiham (112-5) won for the fourth time having restricted Salesbury to 110-9 in a shortened 29-over game following rain.

Blackrod, Little Lever, Salesbury and Padiham - in that order - make up a top four separated by 18 points. Blackrod have 70 points and are six ahead of champions Little Lever, whose bowlers continue to lead their title defence.

They crushed Tonge by nine wickets, bowling their hosts out for 73 thanks to a brilliant new-ball 5-9 from 11.2 overs of spin from Curtis Anderton. Australian pro Sam Fanning led the chase with an opening 39 unbeaten.

Little Lever, who have won five matches, have bowled sides out for 34, 64, 51, 72, and 73 this term. The 64 was in defeat to Blackrod.

At the opposite end to Blackrod, Ribblesdale Wanderers sit bottom of the Premiership and are the only team in either first-team division to have lost six from six.

They lost at home to Astley Bridge, by 28 runs, the visitors avoiding the unwanted six from six record with their first win.

South African overseas amateur Ulli Bronkhorst made a measured unbeaten 62 in Bridge’s 154-6 before striking once with the ball to limited Wanderers to 126-9. Compatriot and pro Alexander Kok claimed three wickets to ensure his side ended the day second-bottom.

Those two sides are aiming to avoid relegation to the Championship division, which is currently led by Walkden (52 points) by two points with a game in hand on Brinscall.

Walkden won on Saturday at home to Atherton - the only two Bolton sides in that division - and Brinscall lost away at Cherry Tree.

Walkden did not cruise home to their fourth win from five games after bowling Atherton out for 98. Faisal Hussain claimed an excellent 5-15 from 8.4 overs before hitting the winning boundary from number 10 after his side had slipped from 70-2 to 94-7. They won by three wickets.

Brinscall have now won three and lost three, slipping to a 60-run defeat at Cherry Tree (169 all out).

Brinscall were bowled out for 109 in reply to secure the home side’s second win in four. They were set up for victory by a number of valuable contributions; Charlie Elwood with 34 and three wickets each for Andreas Sudnik and Matthew Hodson.

Wrapping up Saturday’s Premiership results, Farnworth won for the second time this season, victorious at Kearsley by 89 runs on the back of a commanding 251-9.

Aussie OA Liam Smith top-scored with a measured 69 from number three before captain Ross Sutton excelled with 5-35 in Kearsley’s 162 all out.

Likewise, Lostock also won for the second time in six. They beat visiting Farnworth Social Circle by 64 runs.

Pakistani pro Mohammad Suleman starred with a busy 94 in 209-7 and then claimed two wickets, a catch and a run-out in Social Circle’s 145 all out.

Back into the Championship, and Read (49 points) are just one point behind second-placed Brinscall with a game in hand.

Their fourth win from five was achieved by four wickets at Whalley, who were bowled out for 113. South African OA Zadian Muller impressed with two wickets and 41 not out for the promotion chasers.

Barnoldswick won by 48 runs at Baxenden in a 33-over game.

Wicketkeeper-batter Majid Inayat top-scored with 57no in Barnoldswick’s 153-9 before Jonathan Beech’s 5-27 from 10 overs was the main contribution in Baxenden’s 105-9.

Finally, Earby won a one-wicket thriller at Oswaldtwistle Immanuel (110-6). Their third win from six came in a 35-over clash which saw them almost fail in a 111-chase.

Joseph Robinson struck three times for Earby, whose third win from six was accompanied by nerves aplenty as they fell to 108-9 with seven balls remaining when Sri Lankan pro Raveen Yasas’s innings-high 70 was ended. But they won with a bye off the last ball.

Meanwhile, there was one fixture on Sunday, in the Championship - between Feniscowles and Cherry Tree, and the former won it at home.

They were victorious for the second time in five rounds having limited Cherry Tree to 122-8 in 31 overs. Mohammed Khan took three wickets.

Imran Mehmood then top-scored with 37 to seal a seven-wicket success.