Blackpool dealt what is surely a fatal blow to Fleetwood’s fading homes of defending their Northern Premier League title, dismissing them for 93 to secure a 25-run victory in a Broadwater derby dominated by the bowlers.
Professional Ian Holland looked to have set the hosts on course for victory with his 7-42 from 21 overs as Blackpool chose to bat only to be removed for 118 with 10 deliveries remaining.
Blackpool looked to have laid a foundation at 35-1 but soon tumbed to 49-5, Australian Holland going on to remove six of their top seven for his second seven-wicket haul of the season which took his tally for Fleetwood to 70.
However, a sixth-wicket stand of 54 between Burmandeep Bains and Luke Smith, joint-top scorers with 27, proved a matchwinning one before Holland dismissed both.
Blackpool had ample runs for victory as Fleetwood managed only one stand over 20 and saw all their top six dismissed for 11 or fewer.
Ben Eckton again led the way in a solid bowling attack with 3-29 from 19 overs as Fleetwood were dispatched in just 33 overs, no.7 Mark Wilkinson top-scoring with 16.
To complete a miserable day for Fleetwood, league leaders Barrow stretched their advantage over them to a surely unassailable 48 points with an emphatic nine-wicket win at St Annes.
Barrow’s decision to put the hosts in was quickly justified as Andy Kellett’s side were soon in one almighty mess at 12-5.
That they batted almost 45 overs and reached 138 was down largely to a defiant season’s-best 56 from no.7 Nanthesh Kiruparan and his 74-run stand with wicketkeeper Callum Jones for the eighth wicket.
Jonathan Wells made early inroads with 3-60 from 15 overs, though Patrick Allington was more economical (3-31 off 14.4).
The leaders then required little more than half their overs to complete victory, Dean Williams’ 50 and a quickfire 45 from Ryan Brown (from 27 balls, with three sixes) seeing Barrow home after an opening stand of 78.
Lytham’s hopes of retaining their title in the Liverpool Competition look as forlorn as Fleetwood’s but they returned to winning ways in style and climbed to fifth in the ECB Premier League with an eight-wicket win at Southport and Birkdale.
A second five-wicket haul of the season for both Daniel Edwards and Anthony Mulligan saw the hosts removed for 143 in 55 overs at the County Ground.
Having put on 69 for the first wicket, Mark Fletcher leading the way with 37, S&B then subsided to 82-5 as spinner Edwards claimed his 5-54 off 22 overs and former skipper Mulligan bagged 5-41 from 19.
And although Lytham lost Joe Davies early, fellow opener Will Hale put on 73 for the second wicket with professional Dominic O’Brien, who went on to finish unbeaten on 75 with 13 fours (from 108 balls). The Aussie’s fifth half-century took him beyond 500 runs for the season.
Chris Firth was the only one of six S&B bowlers to have any joy as victory was sealed in 36.2 overs.
n Freckleton are up to third in the Moore & Smalley Palace Shield after their nine-wicket derby win at Fylde.
Jamie Hogarth took 5-22 as the hosts collapsed to 9-4 before being all out for 76 at Moorland Road, where captain James Fiddler led Freck home with an unbeaten 38.
Fiddler’s side overtook Great Eccleston and Garstang, the latter going down by five wickets at Thornton Cleveleys. Jake Apperley took 4-1 as Garstang were removed for just 66 at Illawalla.
Ecc were no match for leaders Vernon Carus, who piled on 206-8 (Wes Royle 58) despite Joe McMillan’s 4-64. The visitors went on to triumph by 79 runs despite late resistance from Jon Jeffries (43, Ben Llelwellin 5-52).
Daniel Jardine’s heroics couldn’t quite bring victory for South Shore over White Coppice in division one, the sides tying on 161 at Mad Nook.
Jardine bowled a season’s best 6-63 and then struck 13 boundaries in his 67 (Wayne Dixon 7-42).
Norcross are second in division two after their three-wicket defeat of Gregson Lane at Norcy Park. Ian Davies, Chris Lester and Stephen Perkins all took three wickets as the visitors were dismissed for 99.
Third-placed Kirkham and Wesham’s 126 wasn’t enough at home to leaders Eccleston, who won by four wickets.
Woodlands duo Mahmed Bial Dhiriwala and Ismail Padia too three-wickets each but Peter Cummings had the best figures of the day (5-34) for the victorious Chorley club.
Timothy Phillips starred with 4-21 and an unbeaten 38 in Wrea Green’s six-wicket home win over Thornton Cleveleys Seconds, chasing down 135.