JOHN Stackhouse was a debut-day hero as Bury pulled off a victory against the odds to go five points clear at the top.
The only unbeaten side left in the Association looked like becoming Flixton’s latest victims at 132-7, chasing 205-9.
Then in came Stackhouse, who has just moved to the area from the south, and was plunged into first-team action after a couple of second-team games.
“He was a bit shaky early on, he looked like a walking wicket,” said Bury captain Simon Belston.
“We needed 70 runs with only three wickets in hand.
“But what a partnership between John and my brother Karl, who finished on 18.
“Then we needed 30 runs and 17-year-old Mukhtar Nasir came in. He hit a six and a four, steadied us, and he and John got us over the line.
“We needed someone to put up their hand and win the game for us, and John did that.”
Bury went from 15-1 to 70-1 after 14 overs thanks to solid batting from Matthew Twentyman (36) and opener Mumtaz Mirza (33).
A slump to 132-7 handed the initiative back to the home side before Stackhouse turned the game decisively.
Twentyman was the pick of the Bury bowlers with 3-37, and Nasir bowled seven late overs under pressure and took 2-24 including the prize wicket of opener Luke Perry, who scored a patient 41.
Flixton were 50-0 after just six overs, with opener Alton Beckford scoring 36.
They also slumped in the middle of their innings, to 116-5 before rebuilding, largely thanks to number seven Adrian Holmes who scored 47.
There was another dramatic finish at Worsley where the home team beat Walshaw off the final ball of the game.
Trailing by a single run, the home side’s Tom Othick struck a four to earn a second league win of the season for the Association new boys who climbed to 12th.
Chris Taylor hit a superb 90 to get the Worsley chase well on its way, with opener Danny McKeown and Simon Hall chipping in with a vital 38 and 32, respectively.
Earlier, Nick Murphy top-scored for Walshaw – who dropped to eighth – with 62 and Gavin Nicholl scored a half-century, while Worsley pro Himesh Silva, Michael Gould and Simon Harrison each took two wickets.
Swinton Moorside – who started the day joint top with Bury and Flixton – slipped to fifth when they lost at Elton.
Chris Read was the Bury side’s star, taking 7-56 after hitting a half-century. Danny Fenton added 43 and David Murray 37 before Swinton replied with 171, Chris Norvall top-scoring with 52.