The latest round of the Anthony Axford North West Cricket League Conference Premiership saw Farnworth Social Circle and Little Lever continue their strong starts to the season as Read slipped to fifth place following back-to-back losses.

Last Saturday’s highest score came at Bridgeman Park where Farnworth hosted Cherry Tree. The hosts won the toss and elected to bat which saw them being dismissed for a respectable 228 as Aaqib Javed top-scored with 61, despite Daniel Lord’s 4-53. In reply, Cherry Tree were bowled out for 150, with Sebastian Radler top-scoring with 41 as wicketkeeper Scott Mather took five victims.

After starting the season with three losses, Astley Bridge have now won two in a row after a strong victory at home against Ribblesdale Wanderers. Batting first, Bridge finished their 45 overs with 158-8, captain Ady Cooper top-scoring with 57. In reply, Ribblesdale slumped from 42-4 to be dismissed for a dismal 44 as Ramesh Patel shined with the ball, taking 5-2.

Farnworth Social Circle remain top of the league after a comprehensive victory at Piggott Park as Barrowford firsts visited them. Batting first, Barrowford were bowled out for a respectable 188, with Ansar Mahmood top-scoring with 51 as Andrew Wareing took 4-33. In reply, Farnworth SC comfortably gained victory after an amazing 142-run partnership between Steven French (74 not out) and Liam Ashworth (62no) which saw the hosts score 189 for the loss of just one wicket.

Farnworth SC’s challengers, Little Lever, also continued their great start to the season after a close game at Victory Road where they were visited by Burnley Belvedere seconds. Batting first, Burnley scored 173-9 off their 45 overs with Ali Zar (48) top-scoring as Callum Hill shined with the ball, taking 5-57. In reply, Little Lever recovered from 42-5 to 174-9, which was largely thanks to a brilliant knock from captain, Louis Partington, scoring an unbeaten 87.

Another poor batting performance from Read saw a nine-wicket victory for Salesbury at the Nori Arena. Salesbury dismissed Read for 69, despite Michael Whalley top-scoring with 39 as Jack Stones and Ashley Marsh both took four wickets with wicketkeeper, Thomas Wilson, taking an impressive six victims. In reply, Salesbury scored 73-1 with Wilson top-scoring with 25no.

Walkden are clear leaders in the Conference with 72 points from six matches. Last Saturday they amassed 294, Salman Younis leading the way with a century. Umar Khan then took 4-21 as Atherton were dismissed for 95.

Oswaldtwistle Immanuel are in joint second with 60 points. Batting first they reached 141 after being 122-3, Tom Chapman taking 4-35 and Jason Lockley 3-23. Lockley then steered Earby to a one-wicket win off the last ball of the match with an unbeaten 63.

Also on 60 are Barnoldswick, with Chris Lemon top scoring with 39 in their 185-7. Zac Bannon made 73, including a half-century ninth-wicket partnership with Henry Hall, but Baxenden fell 22 runs short.

Cliff Collings (4-41) and Rob Tully (3-22) helped dismiss Barrowford seconds for 117, but after Abdulrehman Began was dismissed for 50 Tonge slumped from 90-2 to 99-9 before the last pair held out to win by one wicket, Waqas Pervez taking 4-14 and Ulfat Ali 3-23.

Jacob Ashworth struck 56 in Blackrod’s 196-6, then Tony Tipping took 4-21 and Lucas Ashworth 3-26 as Eagley totalled 127.

Saeed Patel recorded a half-century for Brinscall, Junaid Doctor taking 5-36 for Lostock who were then bowled out for 109 (Usman Patel 3-20).

Muhammad Yahah’s 7-10 were the best bowling figures of the day as Chatburn were dismissed for 36, Burnley Beldevere going on to win by eight wickets.

Ayyan Mehmood provided 58 of Kearsley’s 169 runs, Mozzam Ali with 3-30. Mehmood had the best all-round performance of the day, taking 5-48 as Feniscowles were bowled out for 122, Obaid Khan chipping in with 5-48.

Whalley’s 154 included 38 from Hussain Shabbir, Jibin Poulose with 4-21 for Foulridge, who went on to reach 119 with Edward Burrow taking 5-47.