Fylde coast cricket review: Fleetwood go fourth as Blackpool, St Annes and Lytham all struggle

Blackpool suffered defeat against Longridge on Saturday
Blackpool suffered defeat against Longridge on Saturday

Blackpool Cricket Club were beaten only twice on their way to the Northern Premier League title last season, though the champions have already tasted defeat three times in 2019 after Longridge won a Stanley Park thriller.

It enabled Fleetwood to leapfrog their Fylde coast rivals, climbing into fourth place in a congested title race after a crushing win at Penrith.

League newcomers Longridge triumphed by four runs at Blackpool, whose final wicket went down with two balls remaining after a major collapse.

Longridge chose to bat and reached 186-9, opener John Simpson leading the way with 57 and sharing a third-wicket stand of 60 with James Whitehead (31) as the visitors passed 100 with just two wickets down.

Blackpool continue to operate with a different sub-professional each week, while Lahiru Madushanka remains on Emerging Sri Lanka duty.

This week South African George Linde filled the breach, having turned out for Fleetwood the previous weekend, and played his part with 3-41 from 15 overs.

It looked like plain sailing for Blackpool as their reply reached 115-1 following a stand of 109 between Ciaran Johnson and opener Sam Dutton, who scored his fifth half-century of the season with 60 from 96 balls.

But his departure sparked a major collapse as Johnson stood firm for a season’s-best 88 not out from 143 balls, only to see wickets tumble around him.

Dutton and Johnson both struck 10 fours but nobody else reached double figures, their nine team-mates totalling 26 between them as the innings subsided from 153-3 to 182 all out.

There were four wickets apiece for Daniel Wilson (for 39 runs off 16 overs) and Ian Simpson (for 53 from 12.4) to leave Longridge just three points behind Blackpool, who drop two places to fifth.

Fleetwood welcomed back regular professional Neels Bergh but needed no heroics from him to polish off an eight-wicket win at Penrith.

Alex Ryder was the visitors’ bowling hero with best-ever figures of 6-64 at Tynefield Park, where Penrith chose to bat and were soon in strife at 64-6.

Number three Asher Hart stopped the rot with 45, steering them past 100 for the loss of just one further wicket, then number nine Samuel Hall’s 36 from 45 balls gave respectability to the total of 174-9.

Yet Fleetwood made light work of that target, reaching 175-2 with 9.3 overs remaining after opener Rana Singh’s best knock of the season, 80 from 100 balls. Singh shared a second-wicket partnership of 98 with wicketkeeper Keegan Armstrong, who passed 50 for the fourth time this season and finished 52 not out.

Fleetwood climb just one place to fourth but are only seven points behind leaders Leyland.

Netherfield remain Leyland’s closest challengers after adding to St Annes’ woes in Cumbria.

The hosts’ 234-9 proved beyond St Annes, who fell to defeat by 82 runs.

Netherfield chose to bat and number three Bevan Small led the way with 85 from 89 balls (eight fours and three sixes), sharing a stand of 69 for the fourth wicket with Bradley Earl (49 from 48 balls).

In reply, St Annes were never up with the pace, losing their final wicket with four balls remaining and the total at 152.

Tom Higson top-scored with 48 but Joe Blain ripped through the lower order to end his 17-over stint with 6-59.

St Annes remain the only winless side in the NPL, though Barrow are below them in the table.

Lytham’s wait for their first Liverpool Competition win of the season continues after a 67-run loss against mid-table Rainhill.

The bottom side could have been forgiven for feeling optimistic after dismissing their visitors for 115.

However, their reply ended with them shot out for a meagre 48 in 29 overs.

After choosing to bat first, Rainhill lost openers Sean Vandome (4) and Mike Rotheram (7) in being reduced to 14-2.

Phil Veacock (5) was next to go but, having reached 70-3, Rainhill lost their last seven wickets for 45 runs as Lytham’s bowlers gave them a chance of success.

Ben Saunders claimed 3-21 in accounting for top scorer Anuj Dal (35), Ben Edmundson (14) and Peter Kelly (4).

There were also three wickets for Alex Mason (3-23) as he got the better of James Clarke (1), Reece Davies (12) and Qaiser Ashraf (9).

Josh Holden (2-39), Jack Saunders (1-22) and Anthony Mulligan (1-7) picked up the other wickets to fall.

Nevertheless, Lytham’s reply started poorly and went downhill from there.

Ashraf dismissed Ross Zelem (0) second ball before Dal accounted for Edward Fiddler (2) and Matthew Taaffe (9) was run out as Lytham fell to 18-3.

They had reached 30 without any further loss when Kelly had Tom Jefferson LBW for an innings-high 14.

That set in motion a collapse which saw the last seven wickets fall for 18 runs.

The beneficiary was Ashraf, who took the final six wickets to end with 7-22 in seeing off Scott Howarth (4), Ben Saunders (1), Holden (13), Mason (2), Mulligan (0) and Myles Child (0).

It was a similar story for South Shore in their Moore and Smalley Palace Shield meeting with Penwortham, where they were asked to bat first and were duly all out for 95.

Luke Jardine (16) and Nathan Bolus (21) got starts before falling victim to Jon Roebuck (3-31) and Sam Ryding (2-19) respectively.

Then, having reached 79-6, South Shore’s lower order was blown away with Ashley Billington (4-26) taking the final four wickets.

Penwortham eased to their target in reply, Ian Walmsley Jnr making 37 and Maji Rajdeep 26 not out as they reached 97-3.