Cricket review: Northern League, Readers Cup, Lytham, Palace Shield

Lytham celebrate a New Brighton wicket

Lytham celebrate a New Brighton wicket

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Blackpool stayed top of the Northern Premier League with a six-wicket win at Morecambe but Fleetwood’s title hopes were hit by a stunning defeat at Darwen.

Fleetwood were dismissed for just 52 at Birch Hall and became the first team all season to lose a division one game to the bottom club.

The visitors chose to bat and capitulated in just 22.2 overs as only opener Adam Parker (25) and captain Mat Clark reached double figures.

Their nine team-mates accumulated only 13 between them, none scoring more than four.

Srikant Wagh dismissed both openers on his way to 5-22 from 11.2 overs, bowling unchanged with David Bowden, who earned five maidens in 11 overs (3-26).

Parker was one Fleetwood player who could hold his head up, catching Ammer Mirza and bowling Bowden as both Darwen openers fell cheaply.

But the inevitable was hardly delayed as the hosts breezed to 53-3 and a seven-wicket win in just 10 overs.

At Morecambe, Josh Boyne’s 3-44 and Chris Baines’ miserly spell of six overs for seven runs helped Blackpool to restrict their hosts to 156-6.

The home side chose to bat at Woodhill Lane, where number three Ryan Pearson top-scored with 41 and the men in either side of him, captain Josh Dixon and Lewis Edge, both had useful knocks in the 30s but Blackpool kept the scoring in check.

It enabled Ciaran Johnson to guide them to a comfortable victory by carrying his bat for 59, scoring six fours and six.

The opener enjoyed solid support from professional Daryl Mitchell (37) and unbeaten number six Boyne (42) as Johnson’s fifth half-century of the season saw Blackpool home at 160-4 in 43.2 overs.

Blackpool are seven points clear of second-placed Leyland, who beat Netherfield by 55 runs, but Fleetwood are now 22 points off the pace in third.

St Annes replaced Lancaster in eighth place after beating them by two wickets at Lune Road.

The hosts were all out for 131 in 48 overs, Mitchell Bolus and captain Matt Grindley leading the attack with three wickets apiece.

St Annes then reached their target of 132-8 with four overs to spare, professional Shadley van Schalkwyk leading the way with his fourth half-century for the club,

Lytham followed their victory over Liverpool Competition leaders Leigh with a seven-wicket home win over New Brighton, leapfrogging them for fifth place in the ECB Premier League.

The Wirral visitors were asked to bat at Church Road and managed only 137 from 46.4 overs as Lancashire’s Toby Lester claimed 4-25 from 10.4 overs and three of his team-mates took two wickets apiece.

Number four Andrew Clark led the resistance with 55 from 114 balls (seven fours) but only one other New Brighton batsman managed more than 10, some late hitting by number nine Cyrano Drepaul sparing them an even more modest total.

Lytham then completed the job in 40.5 overs with few dramas, Matthew Taaffe sharing in an opening stand of 43 and then putting on 55 with captain Dom O’Brien.

Both men were out for 40, Taaffe hitting five fours and the skipper six, before Luke Williams fired Lytham to a winning 140-3 with three fours and two sixes in his unbeaten 26.

Having humbled Fleetwood the previous day, Darwen were on the receiving end of a humiliating defeat themselves by Blackpool in yesterday’s quarter-finals of the Readers Cup.

The hosts were put in at Birch Hall and slumped to 18-7 before number nine Chris Wade saved a few blushes with his 28.

Even so, only one of his team-mates reached double figures and five fell without scoring as Darwen were sent packing for 56 in 20.2 overs and Chris Baines took a season’s best 6-17 from his seven overs.

Blackpool then took just 11.1 overs to seal a nine-wicket win book their place in the last four.

A weekend to forget for Fleetwood continued yesterday when they missed out on a place in the Readers Cup semis with a 58-run home defeat to Morecambe.

Star of the show was visiting wicketkeeper Lewis Edge, who batted number three and scored 102, including 11 fours and five sixes.

Having chosen to bat, an Edge-inspired Morecambe made 190-7 in their 40 overs and then dismissed Fleetwood for 132 in reply.

Patrick Ashton made an unbeaten 39 for the home side but there was carnage among his partners as the last five men in managed just a single between them.

The Fylde coast derby between Thornton Cleveleys and Great Eccleston in the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield had to be abandoned after home batsman Joe Bell suffered a serious knee injury.

The opener had made 33 as his side chased Ecc’s daunting 204-6 at Illawalla.

After the wait for an ambulance, it was decided the premier division clash would not finish before the 8pm cut-off point and so it was abandoned.

A thrilling finish had looked possible, with Thornton 116-2 and needing 91 to win from 14.3 overs.

No-one was more disappointed than Great Eccleston’s Mohamed Nadeem, whose unbeaten 103 counted for little.

For the hosts, Daniel Howard took 3-60 and Richardson Jenkinson hit 53.

Garstang took advantage of what was only Vernon Carus’ second defeat of the season to move within six points of them at the top.

Third-placed Garstang, the only one of the Fylde coast’s five premier division clubs to complete a match on Saturday, won a low-scoring contest at struggling Torrisholme.

To complete a good day for the Garstang club, their Seconds top division one after a five-wicket win over Norcross. They have a two-point buffer over Eccleston, who made light work of beating Kirkham and Wesham.

Division two leaders South Shore’s closest challengers are now Wrea Green, who won at New Longton by a massive 166-run margin to replace them in second spot.

Moore and Smalley SE+ Palace Shield

Premier division: Fulwood & Broughton (169-8) beat Whittingham & Goosnargh (168) by two wickets, Penwortham (100) lost to Longridge (102-1) by nine wickets, Torrisholme (83, R Wells 3-17, I Walling 3-22) lost to Garstang (112, Mark Walling 32, GD Lee 4-29, J Stobbart 4-40) by 29 runs, Vernon Carus (59) lost to Croston (127-7) by 68 runs;

Division One: Garstang 2 (146-5, J Thompson 48no, I Davies 3-28) beat Norcross (145, J Davies 41, T Winstanley 4-43, A Khan 3-32) by five wickets, Kirkham & Wesham (138-9, M Brooks 41, S White 6-17) lost to Eccleston (190-7, T Potter 48, D Reddy 5-50) by 52 runs, Longridge 2 (140-4) beat Fulwood and Broughton 2 (139-8) by six wickets, Rufford (257-6) beat Hoghton (86) by 171 runs, White Coppice (227-6) beat Vernon Carus 2 (151-9) by 76 runs.

Division Two: Great Eccleston 2 (170-7) lost to Tarleton (173-3) by seven wickets, Mawdesley (97-5, D Whiteley 42) beat Thornton Cleveleys 2 (96, M Watkinson 4-4) by five wickets, New Longton (75) lost to Wrea Green (241-3) by 166 runs, Walton-le-Dale (87-3), beat Blackpool 3 (85) by seven wickets; Gregson Lane v South Shore abandoned.