Unbeaten Blackpool maintained their fine start to the season with comfortable five-wicket wins over derby rivals Fleetwood and St Annes in the Northern League’s revamped twenty20 competition.
This season’s group matches are being played in Saturday double-headers and Stanley Park staged the first of these in south division one the day after Lancashire’s thrilling one-day victory over Derbyshire at the venue.
Blackpool won two very similar matches with over two overs to spare, Tom Jefferson leading the successful run chases after both opponents had been restricted to 103.
Blackpool and Fleetwood both fielded their professionals, even though they would be ineligible for later stages of the competition, while St Annes arrived without a sub-pro as they continue to await the long-delayed arrival of Indian Saurabh Bandekar.
Fleetwood chose to bat in the noon opener and began brightly as skipper Dean Bell scored 43 from 37 balls. But after passing 50 with nine wickets intact, they could only reach 103-9. Jake Muncaster’s 3-16 from four overs included the wicket of the dangerous pro Neels Bergh for five.
Blackpool lost professional Anurag Verma cheaply, but Jefferson came in at 13-2 and hit five fours and a six in an unbeaten 48 from 43 balls as the hosts reached 104-5 from 17.5 overs.
It took Blackpool three balls fewer to reach the same target in the second game against St Annes and take an early grip on their group.
Blackpool won the toss this time and chose to bowl. Opener Henry Higson did his best to build a platform for St Annes before being third out for 31 from 38 deliveries.
St Annes were handily placed at 88-3 but lost five further wickets in adding only 15. The collapse was largely down to pro Verma, who took 4-10 from four overs.
Jefferson was the top scorer again in Blackpool’s reply with a run-a-ball 35, St Annes skipper Matt Grindley doing most to make a game of it with 3-8 from four overs.
Blackpool won through to the third round of the Royal London Club Championship with yesterday’s 136-run home win over Netherfield.
Josh Boyne made an unbeaten 99 in Blackpool’s 274-7 from 45 overs, Jefferson contributing 42. Boyne then took 3-26 and Jefferson 3-40 as the Cumbrians were dismissed for 134 in 34 overs.
St Annes crashed out by four wickets at Palace Shield club Longridge, who dismissed them for 117 in 38.5 overs. Longridge reached 118-6 with seven overs to spare despite Tom Higson’s 3-15.
A brave run chase by Lytham fell just short at Ormskirk, who won their Liverpool Competition encounter by seven runs. The hosts chose to bat and declared at 222-6 from 51 overs as their top five all made solid contributions, though none went on to a major total.
The best of three 50-plus stands was the second-wicket partnership of 71 between top scorer Joshua Bohannon, who hit a run-a-ball 45, and Michael Jones (42).
Josh Holden removed both openers before captain Daniel Edwards took centre stage for Lytham with 4-44 from nine overs. Lytham’s run chase was boosted by overseas player Michael Guptill-Bunce’s best contribution yet, 62 from 45 balls, including eight fours and three sixes.
The New Zealander shared in a third-wicket stand of 64 with Ben Saunders and Lytham’s hopes were high at 172-5, but these quickly subsided at 187-9.
Needing 36 for victory, Lytham wicketkeeper Matthew Stevenson found a last-wicket ally in no.11 Jack Saunders and the pair managed 28 before Stevenson became Scott Lee’s fourth victim. Lancashire’s Simon Kerrigan took 3-59 from 18 overs.
Lytham progressed in the NatWest Club T30 with a 60-run home win over Prescot and Odyssey. Hessey scored 81 in Lytham’s 177-3 before Taylor Cornall (3-23) helped to restrict Prescot to 117-8.
Moore and Smalley Palace Shield results
Premier Division: Croston (247-4, I Dickinson 109, S Marsh 67) beat Thornton Cleveleys (127, D Howard 35no, S Gathya 4-34, J Driver 4-40) by 120 runs, Freckleton (93, M Jackson 7-19) lost to Torrisholme (151, C Parry 58no, M Rigby 3-23, J Holland 3-35) by 58 runs, Garstang (230-9, M Walling 82, A Cook 46, I Bradley 7-66) beat Eccleston (153, J Maitland 41, D Gilbert 3-34, C Oosthuysen 3-51) by 77 runs, Longridge (195-6) beat Fulwood and Broughton (192-8) by four wickets, Rufford (107) lost to Great Eccleston (109-4) by six wickets, Vernon Carus (194-5) beat Penwortham (166) by 28 runs.
Division One: Fulwood and Broughton 2 (161) lost to Vernon Carus 2 (165-9) by four runs, Fylde (200-8, B Anderson 46, M Cowburn 3-52) beat South Shore (199-6, N Bolus 68, D Tracey 42no) by two wickets, New Longton (167) lost to Longridge 2 (170-6) by four wickets, Norcross (63-3) beat Hoghton (60, I Davies 5-31, D Harris 3-16) by seven wickets, Whittingham & Goosnargh (158) lost to Garstang 2 (161-4) by six wickets, Withnell Fold (121-3) beat White Coppice (120) by seven wickets.
Division Two: Gregson Lane (127, J Hogarth 4-27) lost to Kirkham and Wesham (128-4, M Brooks 62no) by six wickets, Penwortham 2 (173, P Goodwin 70, J Tidmarsh 5-42) lost to Wrea Green (176-2, C Hedges 99no, S Laycock 42no) by eight wickets.