Walsden and Todmorden face an exciting yet anxious final day of the Lancashire League season next Sunday.
Walsden’s hopes of sewing up the title this weekend were dashed when they suffered a first league defeat of the year to Darwen on Saturday and second-placed Lowerhouse thrashed Rishton by 160 runs yesterday.
That reduced the gap between the sides to six points. Walsden’s remaining fixture is at lowly Rawtenstall while Lowerhouse travel to sixth-placed Church.
Walsden’s fixture was brought forward a day because Darwen were in the Lancashire Knockout Cup final yesterday and the Blackburn side completed a satisfying weekend by beating Clifton by two wickets at Ormskirk.
Meanwhile, Todmorden had a thumping 210-run win at East Lancs yesterday, helped by a maiden Lancashire League century from Bilal Abbas.
Tod’s innings could have gone either way at 125-5 but Abbas hit 111 off 84 balls and put on 70 with brother Kai (34) and 48 with Noah Priestley (20) as the total climbed to 282.
East Lancs collapsed from 34-1 to 72 all out with Fiaz Rasool (4-10) helping to bring the contest to a hasty conclusion.
Tod remain in 13th place, just below the cut off point ahead of the split into two divisions in 2019, and they will be hoping the weather is fine on the final day.
The teams just above them won apart from Rochdale, who tied with Burnley and now lead them by one point.
Andrew Sutcliffe’s Tod host fifth-from-bottom Bacup in their last match while Rochdale have ground advantage against Nelson, who significantly are also within striking distance of the Centre Vale side.
Points (after 22 games): Walsden 228, Lowerhouse 222, Ramsbottom 216, Darwen 200, Norden 178, Church 172, Clitheroe 162, Accrington 160, Burnley 158, Crompton 150, Nelson 150, Rochdale 143, Todmorden 142, Enfield 126, Haslingden 102, Middleton 93, Littleborough 86, Great Harwood 85, Colne 82, Bacup 79, East Lancashire 73, Rawtenstall 71, Rishton 52, Milnrow 47.
Sunday’s fixtures: Accrington v Ramsbottom, Burnley v East Lancashire, Church v Lowerhouse, Crompton v Norden, Darwen v Rishton, Great Harwood v Colne, Haslingden v Enfield, Littleborough v Clitheroe, Middleton v Milnrow, Rawtenstall v Walsden, Rochdale v Nelson, Todmorden v Bacup.