Rainhill gave table-toppers Northern one or two anxious moments before going down by only 13 runs in the ECB Liverpool Cricket Competition Premier Division at Moor Park on Saturday.
The high-flying hosts, who batted first, lost half their wickets for 50 but steadied the ship and were able to declare at 170-8 (Askhay Arun Dareker 5-68, Ryan Williams 3-57).
In reply, Rainhill were dismissed for 157 in 46.4 overs with Tyler McGladdery (46) and Matthew Fletcher (32) the prominent run scorers.
Neighbours Rainford went down to a 31 run defeat at home to Wallasey who, batting first, rattled-up a total of 195-7 declared (Daniel Houghton 3-32, Andrew Davies 3-53, John Dotters 1-71).
The hosts looked dead and buried early on in their response, slumping to 72-7, and while rallying they were eventually bowled out for 164 (Dotters 53, Davies 64 n.o.).
Newton-le-Willows had a day they will want to forget as quickly as possible in division one - a nine wicket hammering at Ainsdale.
Batting first, they slumped to 97 all out and it would have been a far worse score without the contributions from opener Liam Jenkins (20) and tail-ender Nathan Hughes (29 n.o.).
Hughes also grabbed the visitors’ only wicket, finishing with 1-22, as the Seasiders cruised to 100-1.
A fine knock of 89 from Daniel Roberts was pivotal to St Helens Town’s crushing victory over Maghull at Ruskin Drive. Roberts was well supported by Liam Gaskell (32) and Ryan Donnelly and James Davies (both 22) as the homesters raced to 203-8 declared.
Maghull never looked likely to reach their target and were dismissed for 131 (Phil Murgatroyd 3-35, Davies 2-53, Ian Jenions 2-8, Liam Gaskell 1-3, Craig Woods 2-2).
Sutton kept on the heels of top three clubs following a comfortable win at Parkfield Liscard. The New Street outfit, batting first, posted a far from difficult target of 146 in which Joseph Noctor blasted a half-century.
The home side, however, were never in the hunt and dismissed for a paltry 68 (Liam Dodd 7-38, Jonathan Green 2-17, James Greener 1-10).
Second team results include: Northop Hall 183-5 declared Rainford 188-3, Rainhill 222-2 declared (James Fowler 113 not out) Spring View 147 all out, Fleetwood Hesketh 247-5 declared St Helens Town 178-9 (draw - Town six points).
ECB Premier Division fixture for Saturday involving local clubs: Rainhill v Rainford. Division one: Newton-le-Willows v Orrell Red Triangle. Division two: Hightown St Mary’s v St Helens Town, Sutton v Southport Trinity.
Second team fixtures: Highfield v Rainhill, Rainford v Maghull, Leigh v Newton-le-Willows, Southport Trinity v Sutton, St Helens Town v Hightown St Mary’s.