Fleetwood may have scored only 96 in yesterday’s Fylde coast derby at Blackpool but it was enough for a nine-run win which lifted them to second in the Northern Premier League table.
However, runners-up spot is as good as it’s likely to get for Fleetwood as Morecambe top the Northern League table by 19 points with two to play following yesterday’s nine-wicket win at Lancaster.
Morecambe will be crowned champions for the first time since 2006 with victory away to winless bottom club Preston on Saturday.
Blackpool’s hopes of retaining their first division crown are officially over following a fifth game without a win, though they will have fancied their chances of ending that sequence after dismissing Fleetwood for 96 in 44.4 overs at Stanley Park.
The visitors chose to bat but were soon in trouble at 18 for three and proceeded to lose a further three wickets with their total on 50 as only three Fleetwood players reached double figures, number eight Wayne Clarke the top scorer with 32.
Blackpool’s much-feared strike bowlers Richard Gleeson and Christi Viljoen were overshadowed by Josh Boyne (3-21 off 13 overs) and Andy Furniss (3-19 off 7.4).
But the Blackpool batsman found runs even harder to come by, managing only 87 in 46.5 overs after Fleetwood professional Dave King removed their top order for figures of 4-30 from a 20-over stint.
That included the wicket of Viljoen, whose total of 12 was 215 fewer than his league record innings against Preston 48 hours earlier.
Kieran McGann claimed a remarkable 3-6 from eight overs, while Adam Parker took 3-34 from 16.5 as Gleeson top-scored for Blackpool with 24.
The win moved Fleetwood above Darwen, who were without a game yesterday, while Blackpool’s fading form leaves their top-four spot under threat from Penrith, winners of yesterday’s Cumbrian derby at Barrow.
St Annes were the top scorers among the Fylde’s three NPL clubs, though their 104 wasn’t encough to prevent a seven-wicket defeat in a rain-affected match at Chorley.
The visitors chose to bat and scraped past the 100 mark before being dismissed in 35.1 overs, James Lee taking 5-20 from 10.1 overs.
Top scorer Nathan Armstrong (25) was one of only three St Annes players to reach double figures batting at number six, after the top five had made 23 between them.
After a rain delay of 105 minutes, Chorley were set a revised target of 61 from 34 overs, though they needed only 14.2.
Daniel Sartori’s unbeaten 25 led them to a winning total of 62-3, Mitchell Bolus taking all three wickets for 19 in four overs.
Second-bottom St Annes visit Fleetwood in their penultimate game on Saturday.