Three Bury sides will compete for this season’s top honours with both Elton and Walshaw joining Simon Belston’s Cross Cup winners in the top section of the Bolton Association as the league splits into three sections this weekend.

League leaders Flixton, reigning champions Atherton and Daisy Hill are also in the top six and will compete for the title and Lancashire Knockout places.

Elton pipped Blackrod into a six-placed birth thanks to Simon Ward’s knock at bottom side Little Hulton on Saturday.

Ward’s 78 saw the visitors notch up 150-2 in reply to the home side’s 149 all out and team secretary Geoff Hall was delighted with his side’s performance.

“We did what we had to do, which was win,” he said. “It was always our target to get into the top six.”

With the club joining the Central Lancashire League next year, Elton will be unable to qualify for the Lancashire Knockout and Hall believes the title is already too far out of reach. Instead he wants his Elton team to finish their campaign with as many wins as possible.

“We want to finish our final season in the Bolton Association on a high note and now we have five top class games to do that.

“I think the title is out of our reach because Flixton have a well-established lead, but we are very pleased with how our season has gone and if we win the last five then anything can happen,” said Hall.

Six bonus points were enough to secure Walshaw’s place in the top division despite a three-wicket defeat to second-placed Atherton.

Danny Hornby top-scored with 64 as the Bury side batted first to total 199-9 with Jamar Griffiths taking 3-72.

Roshon Primus led the Atherton reply, top-scoring with 58 as the visitors chalked up 200-7 to win with the best bowling coming from Steven Holt 3-58 and Liam Riley 3-52.

It was a case of after the Lord’s Mayor show for Simon Belston’s Bury as last weekend’s Cross Cup victors crashed to a 58-run home defeat against Swinton Moorside.

The visitors’ David Flatley hit 49 in a total of 176-9, with Jordan Belston the pick of the Bury bowlers taking 3-27.

A five-wicket haul from Sriram Krishnamurthy (5-59) and four wickets from Jack Wood (4-30) saw the home side skittled for just 118 runs in reply.