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High flyers vying for KO finish
THE battle for a Lancashire Knockout berth is hotting up in the Bolton Association between local rivals Bury and Walshaw.
Sixth-placed Bury put down a marker on Saturday with a 41-run home success against their neighbours from Sycamore Road – two places higher – but followed that up with a tense four-run defeat at Daisy Hill the following day.
On Saturday, Kobus Scholtz hit 48 in Bury’s modest total of 142 to take his season’s tally to 1,056 runs, the third highest in the league.
Gavin Nichol took 4-48 and Brandon Williams 4-66 for Walshaw whose reply was going well at 60-3 until the wickets started to fall.
Bury captain Simon Belston took 5-37 and Alex Breckin 4-30 as Walshaw were all out for 101.
It was different story on Sunday, however, when Bury snatched defeat from the jaws of victory at Daisy Hill, who were 72-6 at one stage batting first.
Steve Kenny (42) and Steve Chilton (22) steered the home side to 165 with Belston impressing with the ball again, taking 6-59.
Scholtz (62) and Dave Morris (46) gave the visitors a good start and were in control at 134-3, before a devastating spell from Stephen Hodgkinson, who took 8-68, proved decisive as Bury fell agonisingly short of victory.
Meanwhile, Walshaw bounced back from their Radcliffe Road defeat by inflicting a shock 83-run defeat at second-placed hosts Flixton. Nick Murphy led the way for the visitors with an unbeaten 62 and Jack McClung scored 53 as they posted 241-6 before Williams took his second four-wicket haul of the weekend with 4-12 off four overs and Danny Hornby took 4-82 off 19 as Flixton were all out for 158. It was an equally mixed weekend for Elton, who on Saturday were beaten by 111 runs at Edgworth.
The home side’s former Lancashire and England star Mike Watkinson finished 108 not out in a partnership of 159 with Denver Thornton (55no) in a total of 250-6. Watkinson followed up his fine batting performance with 4-29 as Elton replied with 140 from 43 overs.
But Elton atoned for that defeat the following day when they inflicted a shock defeat on champions-elect Atherton by 20 runs at Leigh Lane.
The league-leaders could have been forgiven for thinking they had their game won when they got Elton out for 117. But they collapsed to 97 all out with Jamar Griffith (7-69 and 41 runs) their lone star as Mark Goddard emerged as the home side’s stand-out performer with 38 runs and 5-37. Chris Read took 3-30 and teenager Oli Norris stepped up from the second team and impressed with 2-28.
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