Fylde coast cricket round-up: Northern League, Lytham, Palace Shield

Ian Walling bowls for Garstang at Vernon Carus
Ian Walling bowls for Garstang at Vernon Carus

The Northern Premier League title race has tightened up considerably after Blackpool hammered Barrow by 107 runs and Fleetwood had a winning draw away to leaders Leyland on a day the top four teams faced each other.

Blackpool leapfrogged Barrow to go second in the first division after bowling out their hosts for just 61 at Ernest Pass, where Andy Furniss took a season’s best 6-21 from 14 overs.

On a day of low-scoring encounters on damp pitches, Blackpool were put in and dismissed for 168 in exactly 50 overs.

Stephen Twist top-scored with 34 and three of his team-mates were out in their 20s. Twist was caught and bowled by Greg Reynolds, who finished with 5-41 from 12 overs.

Furniss then set about wrecking the home reply, removing six of the top seven, as Barrow managed less than two an over to be dismissed in 32. Professional Daryl Mitchell’s seven overs went for just six runs.

Two of the Cumbrians’ top three scored 11 but nobody managed more and the eight who came in afterwards mustered just 28 between them.

Blackpool were further boosted by the draw at the Stanning Memorial Ground, where Fleetwood chose to bat and totalled 161-7.

Adam Sharrocks led the way at number seven, with an unbeaten 38 from 40 balls.

He was one of three Fleetwood players to top 30, while for Leyland Nathan McDonnell took 3-30 off 10 overs.

The leaders then did well to cling on for the draw after their top three combined to make only five runs. Two of them fell to Fleetwood professional Travis Dean, who finished with 4-35 from 17 overs.

Number four Henry Thompson steadied the Leyland ship with 56 off 128 balls (eight fours) as the hosts clung on at 117-8.

It means Leyland’s advantaged at the top has been cut to three points, with Fleetwood a further three points back after slipping to third.

St Annes were the only one of the Fylde’s NPL teams at home on Saturday but they couldn’t make it count, losing by five wickets to Netherfield.

Put in to bat, St Annes were dismissed for 156 in 46.3 overs.

Nathan Armstrong made a gallant 52 but no partnerships of note developed as six of his team-mates were out for six or under. Tom Bruce polished off the tail on his way to 5-30 from 11.3.overs

Netherfield then kept wickets in the bag but there were a few frayed nerves as they reached their winning total of 158-5 with only three balls to spare.

Their reply had received a solid start from captain Ben Barrow, top scorer with 40, and wicketkeeper John Huck, who carried his bat for 35.

St Annes drop a spot to 10th, while Netherfield have reached 100 points in seventh.