Blackpool moved to the top of the Northern Premier League for the first time this season with a three-wicket derby win over Fleetwood, while St Annes climbed to second after inflicting Garstang’s first defeat in the competition.
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The four unbeaten early pace-setters in the first division all faced each other and both teams batting second successfully chased down moderate totals.
Fleetwood chose to bat at Stanley Park, where captain Dean Bell set an example at the top of the order with 46.
But although several of his team-mates got in, none could manage a major total and it needed a sixth-wicket partnership between Alex Ryder (32) and Jeremy Davies to lift Fleettwood’s 50-over total to 174-6.
Matthew Houston got the Blackpool reply off a solid start with 44 but lost his first two partners for ducks as Sam Bell gave the visitors hope, removing al the top three on his way to 3-36 from 11 overs.
But coming together at 127-7, Jake Muncaster and Matt Grinldley shared an unbroken stand of 48 in just 18 minutes for the eighth wicket to wrap up the victory at 175-7 after 40 overs.
Muncaster led the way with 63 not out, his best score his 2015.
St Annes are the only other side still unbeaten in the first division after their six-wicket success at Garstang.
The hosts were put in at the Riverside and totalled 186-7. Mainstays of their innings were Michael Walling at the top of the order with 40 and wicketkeeper Matthew Crowther with an unbeaten 39 at number six.
Professional Amar Ullah with 3-41 from 14 overs was the pick of seven St Annes bowlers, five of whom shared the wickets.
St Annes wrapped up victory in 41 overs as a fourth-wicket stand between Ullah (54 not out) and Mohamed Nadeem (52) propelled them to a winning 190-4.
It was a second half-century of the season for both batsmen and left St Annes four points behind Blackpool.
The defeats saw Garstang drop from first to fourth and Fleetwood from third to sixth on the day Fulwood and Broughton, who came up with Garstang from the Palace Shield, recorded their first Northern League win over winless Penrith.
Champions Netherfield climbed ominously to third with an eight-wicket success at Barrow.
Blackpool made light work of polishing off a nine-wicket victory over Norley Hall in the first round of the Lancashire Knockout Cup yesterday.
In the last match at Stanley Park before Friday’s Royal London One-Day Cup clash between Lancashire and Warwickshire, the Wigan club chose to bat and were dismissed for 64 in 20 overs.
Joshua Boyne took 4-13 from his three overs and Jake Muncaster 3-18 from four.
Matthew Houston cruised to 30 not out as Blackpool won in 13.1 overs at 67-1 and will visit the Crosby club Northern in the second round in three weeks.
Fleetwood bowed out, however, losing by six wickets at Northern League rivals Leyland, where more than 400 runs were scored.
Adam Shorrocks fired an unbeaten 81 and opener Jeremy Davies contributed 45 in Fleetwood’s 206-4, but it was nowhere near enough as the hosts won with 11.2 overs to spare.
The second-wicket stand between opener Ian Farrington (88) and Umar Waheed (62 not out) was the key to Leyland’s winning total of 210-4 and they will visit Burnley CC in round two.
Lytham CC’s first away victory of the year in the Liverpool Competition was achieved in convincing style after they skittled out hosts Colwyn Bay for 96.
Both sides had won only one of their opening four in the ECB premier league and the seven-wicket victory lifted Lytham two places to seventh.Lytham captain Ben Saunders’ soon vindicated his decision to insert the hosts in North Wales as he took 5-39 bowling unchanged for 18.4 overs.
George Johansen top-scored for Colwyn Bay with 29 batting at four but only one of his team-mates managed more than 11 and the innings fell away spectacularly from 83-4 to 96 all out 37.4 overs.
Josh Holden bowled especially tightly to take 3-8 from eight overs, while Antony Mulligan’s four catches included all of the top three.
Lytham required just 22.2 overs to seal victory at 98-3 as Taylor Cornall carried his bat for 55 off 66 balls, including six fours and a six.
Lytham exited the Lancashire Knockout Cup at the first hurdle yesterday, defeated by Palace Shield club Eccleston by 12 runs at Church Road.
The Chorley club chose to bat and the tie looked to be going Lytham’s way as the visitors’ innings deteriorated from 48-0 to 56-5, Ben Saunders dismantling the top order on his way to 4-16 from nine overs.
However, a sixth-wicket stand of 62 between wicketkeeper Adam Norris (42) and Jordan Bentham (35) initiated a recovery which took Eccleston to 185-8 from their 45 overs.
Lytham’s clase began in determined fashion as Matthew Taaffe made 54 and shared in an opening 63 with Matthew Cartmell,.
However, after the hosts had reached 103-3 the wickets fell regularly and they were all out for 173 with an over remaining.
Tom Langshaw took 4-32 from his nine overs.
Croston are the new leaders of the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield and replace Longridge, who were the premier division’s last unbeaten side until their defeat at Kendal.
The Fylde coast’s three premier division clubs occupy the places immediately above the bottom two, all having won two out of five, South Shore’s victory over bottom club Torrisholme pulling them level with Great Eccleston.
Standish beat Kirkham and Wesham and boast the last 100 per cent record in division 1A after Fylde had to settle for a tie at Norcross.
Freckleton’s win at Hoghton lifts them to second, six points behind the leaders and two above Fylde, with Kirkham and Wesham a further five points back in fourth.
Moore and Smalley Palace Shield results
Premier Division: Great Eccleston (181-8, S Marsh 3-42) lost to Croston (183-8, J Parsons 64no, J Procter 5-58) by two wickets, Lancaster (122-7) beat Eccleson (121) by three wickets, Longridge (113-8) lost to Kendal (116-4) by six wickets, Penwortham (237-5) beat Vernon Carus (235-4) by five wickets, Thornton Cleveleys (170, D Howard 34, C Hadfield 3-28) lost to New Longton (173-6, L Bolton 63, G Tirrell 3-47) by four wickets, Torrisholme (123, N Bolus 4-19, T Davis 3-26) lost to South Shore (197-6, N Bolus 44, M Cowell-Makin 41, N Jordan 3-49) by 74 runs.
Division 1A: BAC/EE Preston (90) lost to Mawdesley (91-5) by five wickets, Hoghton (160, D Eccles 48, A Hogarth 5-45, E Fiddler 3-54) lost to Freckleton (195-7, J Goodin 45, G Fiddler 42no, M Parkinson 4-42) by 35 runs, Norcross (112-9) tied with Fylde (112, 1 Davies 5-29), Rufford (88-2) beat Grimsargh (87) by eight wickets, Standish (190) beat Kirkham and Wesham (178-8) by 12 runs, Tarleton (167-9) beat Withnell Fold (113) by 54 runs.