WALSHAW cricket chairman Mike Mills wants his side to bow out of the Premier Division on a high after their relegation was confirmed with defeat at home to Woodbank on Saturday.

Two former players – Nick Murphy and Steve Dearden – came back to haunt them with key performances as Woodbank kept their title hopes alive with a 39-run victory.

Murphy finished on 54 not out after putting on an unbeaten stand of 55 with Nick Kennedy (20no) for the ninth wicket after the visitors fought back from 136-8 to finish on 191-8.

Dearden (3-19), Murphy

(3-27) and Kennedy (3-46) then led the attack for Woodbank, helping to bowl out Walshaw for 152.

Elsewhere, Bury also bowed out of the Greater Manchester League top tier following a four-wicket defeat at home to bottom club Glossop, although results elsewhere meant even a bonus-point win would not have saved Karl Belston’s men.

There is still plenty to play for, however, going into the last round of matches.

At the top, Woodbank are four points behind leaders Flixton after the top dogs missed the chance to seal the title on Saturday following their defeat against relegation threatened Egerton.

Anthony Harris’ men need to win their match at home to third-placed Denton St Lawrence and hope Flixton lose at Glossop to pip them to the title.

Bury and Walshaw, meanwhile, will have a major say in which club finishes in the final relegation place and goes down with them.

Walshaw travel to reigning champions Egerton, who are currently fourth bottom, two points behind last season’s runners-up Prestwich, who are at home to Bury.

“We want to go out on a high and win our last match,” said Mills. “If Egerton go down that is not our problem, we are just going to go out there and try to win a game of cricket.”

MARK Stewart was applauded off the field by his Greenmount team-mates after taking five wickets in his last ever match at Brandlesholme Road.

There was a celebratory atmosphere around the ground anyway after it had been confirmed in midweek that Phil Heaton’s men had secured promotion back up to the Greater Manchester League Premier Division at the first attempt.

The league recalculated the bonus points awarded in previous matches and an extra point added to the club’s tally made them home and dry.

They marked the occasion with a comprehensive eight-wicket victory over local rivals Unsworth.

Stewart led the charge with the ball, taking 5-38 as he dovetailed nicely with pro Kaustub Pawar (2-41) and young seamer Cameron Smith (3-12) to help bowl out the visitors for just 93 runs.

Smith removed dangerous opener Leighton Friend for a second-ball duck and Unsworth never really recovered.

Stand-in professional Harvey Hossien top scored for Unsworth with 27, while four other batsmen made it into double figures but were unable to see off Greenmount’s lead bowlers.

And so it was left to Stewart to add a welcome finale, tempting 11th man Mason Garnett to hit out and present an easy catch for Saad Khan to round off the innings and hand the 50-year-old his fifth wicket.

Pawar again top scored for the Division One leaders, finishing on 39 not out as they breezed past their total in under 20 overs and set up a title showdown at second-placed Heywood on Saturday – the final day of the season.

Teams in Division Two will have to wait a little while longer for their climax, with three games remaining in the campaign.

Both Brooksbottom and Elton, who are fifth and sixth respectively, are fighting hard to make it into the top four.

Brooksbottom are just one point behind fourth-placed Whalley Range, with Elton a point further back. They both won at the weekend, Brooksbottom enjoying a nine-wicket victory at Droylsden and Elton seeing off second-placed Thornham at home by 31 runs.

Zohair Qureshi and Moshin Iqbal shared eight wickets as Droylsden were bowled out for 73 on their home pitch, before Iqbal smashed an unbeaten 50 off 23 balls to seal the win.

Elton were made to fight much harder for their win. Tom Booth top scored with 35 as they put on 152, then Anwar Ul-Haq (3-28), Steve Filkins (3-29) and Gareth Edwards (3-31) shared the wickets as Thornham closed on 121-9.

In Division Three, Elton Vale claimed the title with a 69-run win at home to Edgworth seconds.

Mohammed Ashraf led the way with the bat, hitting 78 in 71 balls, while Mohammed Aslam added 37 to Vale's total of 212.

It looked as if the visitors would be blown away in double-quick time as the home attack, which has been a real strong-point of the side over the course of the campaign, reduced them to 70-7.

Edgworth rallied, with Alex Hughes making a half century and James Lea weighing in with a run-a-ball 34 after coming in at number nine, but they were eventually dismissed for 143.

Ali Shah was the leading wicket-taker, finishing with figures of 3-52 from 14 overs.