Blackpool Cricket Club complete league and cup double
Blackpool Cricket Club have done the league and cup double.
Monday's three-wicket derby victory at St Annes sealed the Northern Premier League title with a game to spare following Blackpool's triumph in the 40-over competition.
It's a record-extending 18th NPCL title for Blackpool, who lost their opening game of the season but have not been beaten in the league since, despite playing most of their matches away from home due to ground improvement work at Stanley Park.
It means St Annes go into their final game on Saturday at Leyland not yet safe from the drop, while Fleetwood will finish in the relegation places after a 69-run defeat at Fulwood and Broughton, the only team to have beaten Blackpool in division one in 2021.
St Annes chose to bat against Blackpool but struggled to build any momentum, number three Nathan Bolus their top scorer with 30 in a modest total of 116 from 44.4 overs.
Blackpool's Cumbria spinner Matt Siddall took a season's best 6-26 and did the damage in the crucial period which saw the hosts slump from 68-3 to 75-7.
But Blackpool found batting anything but simple either as none of their top five reached double figures and victory was looking doubtful at 22-4 and later 62-6.
Wicketkeeper Ben Howarth's unbeaten 37, which included six fours, eased any nerves and propelled his side to victory at 117-7 in 45.5 overs, despite three wickets apiece for Harry Birkman and St Annes captain Tom Higson.
Fleetwood needed a victory at Fulwood and Broughton to take their battle at the bottom down to the final game against fellow relegation scrappers Chorley on Saturday.
Fulwood were put in to bat and set a target of 180-9 as professional Dyllan Matthews did his utmost to give Fleetwood a fighting chance of victory with a return of 6-56, the second time the South African has taken six wicket from the club. The home side's Ben Rosbottom was run out one short of his half-century.
But the chase was never really on for Fleetwood, who struggled to 60-5 and lost Matthews without scoring.
Declan Clerkin fought back with a top score of 23 but Fleetwood were all out for 111 in 39.1 overs, Dominic Wilson taking four wickets from 3.1 overs as Fulwood ensured their survival.
Other results: Chorley 251-7 drew with Leyland 162-8, Garstang 129 beat Lancaster 112 by 17 runs, Longridge 235-6 beat Morecambe 165 by 70 runs, Netherfield 195-8 beat Kendal 131 by 64 runs.
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