Professional Lahiru Madushanka enjoyed his most influential day yet for Blackpool Cricket Club, inspiring their 72-run win at Chorley.
The Sri Lankan ODI star passed 50 for the fourth time in six Northern Premier League innings, top-scoring with 57 as the visitors were all out for 167 with an over unbowled at Windsor Park.
‘Larry’ shared in the stand of the day with Craig Brown (35) for the fourth wicket, though both fell to Stuart Naden, who polished off the tail for figures of 5-35 from his 12 overs.
All-rounder Madushanka’s best day yet with the ball for Blackpool saw him take 7-36 from his 14 overs as Chorley were dismissed for just 95 in 35 overs, Matt Grindley taking the other three wickets.
The Chorley total would have been more embarrassing but for unbeaten wicketkeeper Harry Barclay, who made 21 batting at number nine and shared the hosts’ most productive stand with last man Joe Barker (18).
Chorley’s top eight had managed a combined total of 46, none scoring more than 10 as Blackpool wicketkeeper Ben Howarth helped himself to four catches and a stumping.
The champions’ second win of the season lifts them three places to fourth, four points behind Fulwood and Broughton and Fleetwood, who met at Highfield.
And it was the hosts who won by 41 runs in Preston, where Fleetwood’s challenge was also led by their overseas professional.
South African Neels Bergh’s first five-for of the season, at a cost of 29 runs from 16 overs, helped restrict F&B to 160 in 47.3 overs after electing to bat.
Bergh dismissed all of the top four, including opener Mark Smith, whose 56 was the game’s best score. James Amor chipped in with 4-39 from 12 overs.
The Fleetwood pro’s runout for 35 was perhaps a turning point as the visitors could only muster 119 from 33.1 overs in reply.
The former Lancashire and England spinner Simon Kerrigan was in outstanding form with 4-18 from 10.1 overs.
Fleetwood’s second defeat enabled Netherfield to open up a 13-point lead at the top by thrashing fellow Cumbrians Penrith.
St Annes held out for a losing home draw with Longridge but remain the only NPL team still waiting for a win.
Longridge smashed 273-4 after opting to bat at Vernon Road, where John Simpson (67) and Daniel Wilkinson (53) laid the firmest of foundations with an opening stand of 120, both hitting nine boundaries.
Further solid contributions followed from Luke Platt, with 42 off 41 balls, and James Whitehead, who was unbeaten on 46 from 40, and the total would be been even greater had not rain curtailed the innings after 45 overs.
Amar Ullah took three of the four wickets at a cost of 79 from 17 overs.
The rain saw St Annes’ target revised to 207, and although they too scored at better than a run a ball, the hosts could only reach 155-7 from 23 overs.
St Annes started solidly enugh but needed a big score from someone and Ullah’s 33 was as good as it got as Daniel Wilson removed all of the top four on his way to 6-72 from 11 overs.
Only two points now separate St Annes from bottom club Barrow, whose Cumbrian derby with Kendal was abandoned.
A dominant performance by Lancashire’s Steven Croft helped Lytham to a highly creditable draw in a thriller at Formby, who went into the weekend as Liverpool Competition leaders.
Lytham had started the day bottom of the ECB premier league but were given a massive confidence boost by Croft’s unbeaten 118 from 145 balls as the visitors chose to bat and declared at 233-6 after 59 overs
After Anthony Mulligan (41) and Ross Zelem had put on an opening 50, Croft took centre stage on his first appearance of the season for the club, firing six fours and seven sixes.
Now in his third season guest starring for Lytham, this was Blackpool-born Croft’s first century for the club and his first in league cricket for six seasons, though his Red Rose team-mate Toby Lester fell without scoring.
Sabbir Patel suffered at the hands of Croft but took 4-119 bowling unchanged.
The hosts then then came within four runs of victory but had to settle for a share of the spoils, closing at 230-7 from 57 overs.
A third wicket stand of 76 between Sam Oldham, with 47 from 46 balls, and opener Ollie Sutton (43) set up a nailbiting run-chase.
David Atkinson came in at 110-4 and hit an unbeaten 65 from 87 balls with nine fours but couldn’t quite get Formby over the line.
His stand of 81 for the seventh wicket with wicketkeeper Elliot Ketteringham (40) took them to within five of victory but Lytham earned their share of the spoils
Croft completed his fine day with a catch and two wickets, though Alex Mason was the pick of the bowlers with 3-73 from 20 overs while Matthew Taaffe took four catches behind the stumps.
The results lifts Lytham above Colwyn Bay and off the bottom. Formby, who had won all three completed games previously, now find themselves two points behind Bootle at the summit.