Blackpool and St Annes could have been forgiven for cursing Saturday’s showers as Fleetwood moved into the Northern Premier League’s top five.
After weeks of uninterrupted play, it was perhaps typical that – when the rain did arrive – it thwarted two teams who looked in strong positions to take victory.
With leaders Netherfield needing next to no time in seeing off bottom side Preston, the pressure was on Blackpool to remain on their tails.
They travelled to the Riverside to meet last year’s Palace Shield champions, Garstang, and dismissed the home side for 140.
Having chosen to field first, Blackpool had an early success with Matt Grindley (2-33) bowling Michael Walling (3).
His new ball partner Jovaun van Wyndgaart (2-30) then picked up a couple of wickets as he accounted for Michael Wellings (10) and Fayaz Ughradar (20) to leave Garstang 42-3.
Blackpool were then held up by a 46-run stand for the fourth wicket between Garstang skipper Mark Walling and Coen Oosthuysen.
That ended when both fell with the score on 88 as Mark walling (13) fell to Andy Furniss (3-10) with Matthew Siddall (3-25) then dismissing Oosthuysen for an innings-high 32.
That was the start of a collapse which saw five wickets fall for 12 runs as Furniss sent back Matthew Crowther (2) and Ian Walling (6), while Siddall got the better of Mark Winstanley (1) with Garstang now 100-8.
Siddall trapped Naqib Rahman (8) 10 runs later but Blackpool were held up by a 30-run stand for the final wicket, ended when Grindley dismissed Danny Gilbert (21).
Blackpool’s reply, however, only lasted four overs with opening pair Matthew Houston and Syed Kazmi hitting a brace of boundaries each in taking their side to 18-0.
That was when the rain came, leaving both sides with five points each.
That was also the case at Vernon Road where St Annes were unable to start their innings after skittling Leyland for 113.
It was especially harsh on St Annes bowler Tom Higson, who had taken 7-43 in giving his side a great chance of victory.
Having asked their visitors to bat first, St Annes had an early success when Higson sent Henry Thompson (3) on his way.
Leyland then recovered to 42-1 but then proceeded to lose their last nine wickets for 71 runs.
Umar Waheed (22) was Higson’s second victim before Amar Ullah accounted for Ross Bretherton (0).
Higson picked up the wickets of Tom Reece (22) and Kurtis Watson (9), while Ullah sent back Andrew Makinson (13) to leave Leyland 70-6.
James Rounding (6) became Higson’s fifth wicket, followed by Ian Farrington (5) and Jake Peake (11) before Ullah dismissed Alex Williams (14) to end the innings and claim figures of 3-45 – only for the weather to intervene.
Rain also played its part at Windsor Park where Fleetwood were able to chase down an amended score in beating Chorley by three wickets.
Deciding to field first, Fleetwood had an early success when Damien Hutchinson (2-77) accounted for Wian van Zyl (5).
From there, however, Chorley rallied with Alex Howarth hitting two sixes and a four in his 27, which only ended when he was run out.
The bulk of Chorley’s 225 came from numbers three and four with Gayan Maneeshan and Edwin Moulton leading their recovery.
Both made half-centuries with Maneeshan hitting two fours and two sixes in a 68-ball knock of 51, ended when he was dismissed by Neels Bergh (2-57).
Alex Ryder (2-40) eventually got the better of Edwin Moulton, who top-scored with a knock of 73 which contained six fours and two sixes.
Will Moulton (2), Harry Barclay (0) and Gaurav Dhar (6) were out cheaply but Stuart Naden (23) and Andrew Holdsworth (30) rallied to take Chorley past 200 before Joe Barker (0) was the third batsman run out to end the innings.
In reply, Fleetwood found themselves chasing a revised target of 203.
Jeremy Davies (14) and Hutchinson (19) gave them a solid start before both were dismissed by Edwin Moulton (2-54).
Declan Clerkin (37) and Neels Bergh (39) scored at a decent rate but they fell victim to Gaurav Dhar, who also sent back Liam Castellas (2) and James Gregson (7) as he claimed 4-60.
Ryder (4) was also dismissed but the Fleetwood run chase was given healthy impetus by Adam Sharrocks and Joe Bell.
Sharrocks hit three fours and two sixes in hitting an undefeated 54 from only 43 deliveries.
Bell struck three fours and a six as he was 26 not out from only 15 balls faced as Fleetwood reached their target, posting 205-7 in only 38 overs to claim 15 points.
Blackpool lost their Benchmarx Kitchens and Joinery trophy tie against Netherfield on a bowlout.
Sunday’s heavy rain meant no play was possible and it was Netherfield who won the sudden death head to head 5-2 to book a quarter-final place.
Lytham were left frustrated by the Highfield batsmen as they hoped to bounce back from defeat against Rainhill the week before in the Liverpool Competition.
The division’s bottom side asked Lytham to bat first and saw them declare on 237-8 from 54 overs.
Opener Taylor Cornall top-scored for Lytham with 78 as they slumped from 105-2 to 127-7 before Matthew Taaffe (51) and Matthew Cartmell (47) provided late impetus.
In reply, Highfield reached 220-7 with Owais Shah the main obstacle, making 108 with Sohaib Shah hitting 46 to earn a draw which keeps Lytham seventh in the table.
South Shore and Thornton Cleveleys had rain-affected defeats in the Palace Shield.
South Shore had reduced New Longton to 65-4, only for Munaf Bavla (120 not out) and Sajid Nalbandh (95) to add 181 for the fifth wicket in taking their side to 276-5.
Chasing an amended target of 194 in 31 overs, South Shore’s reply ended with them on 189-7 after half-centuries from Nathan Bolus (64) and Luke Jardine (56).
Dan Howard’s 72 had taken Thornton Cleveleys to 182-7 against Great Eccleston, who were set a rain-reduced target of 126 from 26 overs.
They only needed 21 overs in making 128-3, Matthew Moat top-scoring with 51.
In division 1A, Fylde remained in the top four as they chased down an amended target to see off Hoghton.
Norcross were 100-run winners against Rufford thanks to Rick Blampied (82 not out) and Ian Davies (6-13).
Kirkham and Wesham were hit by the rain after making 226-9 and then seeing BAC\EE Preston on 60-6 chasing a target of 128.