Parker keeps wind in the Fleet’s sails

Pictures Martin Bostock'St Annes v Darwen cricket.'St Annes' Matthew Grindly makes it safely to the crease.
Pictures Martin Bostock'St Annes v Darwen cricket.'St Annes' Matthew Grindly makes it safely to the crease.

ALL-ROUNDER Adam Parker was in outstanding form as Fleetwood recorded their tenth win of the season to remain top of cricket’s Northern Premier League, but their lead has been cut to a single point.

Mat Clark’s side made light of what looked a tricky test at Kendal, defeating their in-form hosts by seven wickets at Shap Road.

The visitors got off to the perfect start, dismissing both openerss for ducks, before removing Kendal for 117 with 5.1 overs remaining.

An unbeaten 30 by no.9 Nick Lewthwaite helped boost the Kendal total but the bowlers dominated, particularly Parker with 5-29 from 13.5 overs and Sam Bell (3-43 off 11).

Opener Parker then ensured that Fleetwood needed little over half their allotted overs to reach their target, firing 74 off 77 balls in a winning total of 120-3.

Lewthwaite had no answer to Parker, who hit seven fours and three sixes, but claimed a couple of victims to be the home side’s outstanding player.

Barrow managed to cut Fleetwood’s lead, however, bouncing back from a defeat at Blackpool with a 77-run win over Chorley.

Blackpool couldn’t follow up with another victory but they did cling on for a draw at Leyland.

Both sides are aiming for a top-four finish but Leyland looked the more likely to achieve it as Luis Reece put his old side to the sword.

The opener carried his bat for 112 from 145 balls in Leyland’s 197-6, scoring 12 fours and a six. Andy Furniss was again Blackpool’s top bowler, with 3-54 from 16 overs, though they failed to build on a fine spell which saw the hosts stutter from 57 without loss to 70-4.

Professional Dale Deeb then held the Blackpool reply together with a patient 44 from 114 balls.

But partners joined and left the South African in rapid succession as his fellow members of the Blackpool top six managed just five between them, four falling for ducks. They faced the steepest of uphill struggles at 41-6 and when pro Deeb was seventh out at 74 the caused looked lost.

However, an unbroken ninth wicket stand worth 50 between Steven Mercer and Benjamin Heath, both scoring 16, saw the visitors survive at 127-8. Among the economical bowling figures, Reece took 2-16 from 13 overs.

However, Blackpool dropped two places to eighth in their quest for a Lancashire Cup place. They face Northern at Stanley Park in the quarter-finals of this year’s competition on July 29.

The season probably can’t end quickly enough for St Annes, whose title defence has brought only two wins and now six defeats.

Being the only one of the Fylde coast’s senior sides at home on Saturday did them no favours as they went down by three wickets to Darwen.

Andy Kellett’s side were all out with 2.3 overs to spare but reached 181, thanks primarily to opener Atiq Uz-Zaman who scored his second century of the season before becoming one of six victims for Shaun de Kock.

Atiq’s 102 off 111 balls featured 13 fours and a six, while South African De Kock finished with 6-67 from 17.3 overs

Darwen then batted solidly throughout, the outstanding De Kock top scoring with 35, though all the top order made runs.

Even so, a close finish was on the cards until no.7 Neil Cordingley’s 25 from 14 deliveries saw the visitors to a winning 182-7 with four deliveries remaining.

St Annes pro Dinuka Hettiarachchi bowled unchanged as usual, taking 4-80 off 25 overs.

*BLACKPOOL bowed out of the Readers Cup yesterday, when Morecambe were six-wicket winners at Stanley Park.

Despite Steven Twist’s 60 from 61 balls, the home side were restricted to 153 all out from 39.3 overs (Umar Amin 3-19). Morecambe reached their target in 35.2 (Lewis Edge 42, Richard Gleeson 3-32).

*Twenty20 finals day at Fleetwood CC has been rearranged for Sunday week after an early decision was taken to postpone yesterday’s four-team showpiece.