BROOKSBOTTOM secured what they believe could be a hugely significant win in their GMCL Division One A campaign on Saturday, beating bottom side Unsworth by nine wickets chasing 183.

Oliver Hawley’s side secured their fourth win from 11 matches – the halfway point in the season – with 11.1 overs remaining to move to seventh in the table, just five points behind Flowery Field.

Chasing a top-six place to secure Championship cricket in the GMCL’s restructure from 2020 onwards, Hawley is targeting more of the consistency which has seen them win their last two games.

"Championship cricket would be ideal,” said Hawley. “I’m hopeful.

“Saturday was a big game because had we lost, the good work of the last month would have been put to bed.

"But winning means we can look up rather than down.

“That’s the attitude we’ve got to take and see how we far can take it.

“I’ve told the lads all season, ‘I think we’re a good side’.

"We’ll give anyone a game on our day. It’s just about that consistency.

“We had a few out on Saturday, including probably our main man Moshin Iqbal. He’s an unbelievable player, a very under-rated all-rounder.

"But he rolled his ankle last weekend and will probably be out for a couple of weeks.

“It would have been easy to hide behind his absence, but others stepped up.”

A polished bowling display restricted winless Unsworth to 182-9, with Ollie Laker claiming 3-34 from 11 overs, added to two wickets for pro Ash Gowers and David Brown.

The tone had been set with the new ball by Australian overseas player Sam Emberton (0-37 from 15): “Sam was probably the best bowler on the pitch,” said Hawley.”

In reply, opener Muhammad Rao’s unbeaten 88 anchored the innings, sharing 40 for the first wicket with Laker and an unbeaten 145 for the second with ex-Lancashire second team player Gowers – 63 not out.

“With Unsworth being winless, I thought if we got off to a good start their heads would drop and we’d be on the front foot. That’s ultimately what happened,” continued Hawley, whose side are much improved following last season’s second-bottom finish.

“Nothing sort of went our way last year, injuries and such, and we just derailed.

"But when the league did their restructuring, we weren’t relegated because there were a couple of clubs who requested to drop down a few levels.

“We said as a club, ‘We don’t want to be in that position again’.”

Gowers, aged 24, was a wicketkeeper during his days as second-team player with Lancashire, ending in 2015, but is now playing as an all-rounder who bowls off-spin.

Instead, his brother Dominic is keeping wicket.

Hawley added: “Ash is probably the best wicketkeeper I’ve ever played with, and a lot of people around the local game will say he’s the best amateur keeper they’ve seen.

“But, in the winter, there was an opportunity to bring his brother Dom in from Woodbank, where he wasn’t really getting a chance. He’s a good keeper, and Ash can bowl.

“We were a spin bowler light, and Ash has taken over the mantle. Dom’s been fantastic.”