THE nip and tuck battle for the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield title continued, with Great Eccleston and Penwortham both winning comfortably batting second.
Skipper Mohamed Nadeem was again inspirational for Ecc in their eight-wicket win at Norcross.
Nadeem’s 5-34 from nine overs went a long way to seeing off the hosts for 127 in 42 overs (Chris Lester 32) before a captain’s knock of of 56 not out from 58 balls (six fours, one six) saw his side home in just 22 overs (Oliver Parkinson 41).
Penwortham are just two points behind in the premier division title race after their seven-wicket home success over Longridge.
Garstang are up to fifth after a 19-run win at Vernon Carnus. It was the Walling show once more for the victors, as Mark top-scored with 70 in their 245-9, then Ian took 4-64 and Michael 4-80.
Fylde put more distance between themselves and the bottom three with a 116-run home drubbing of basement club New Longton.
Opener David Crawforth starred with exactly 100 in Fylde’s 242 (Aidan Walsh 4-38) before Daniel Smith took over, taking 5-34 from 14 overs in Longton’s dismissal for 126 in 39.2 overs.
Thornton Cleveleys went down by 34 runs at Fulwood and Broughton, chasing a target of 195-8 (Mark Smith 63, Chris Gunn 38).
Greg Tirrell took 5-77 from 23 overs, his third five-for of the season, but TC couldn’t capitalise, closing on 161-9.
Rob Dingle led the reply with 43 as Richard Turner took 4-40 off 12 overs (Gunn 3-48 off 15).
Great Eccleston Seconds still lead division one by four points after their 25-run home win over Fulwood and Broughton Seconds (Jeremy Whittle 5-63), while longtime leaders Freckleton remain a further two points back in third after winning by 15 runs at Longridge Seconds, where Joshua Holden made 64 in Freck’s 158 and Rory McDowell claimed 7-42 for the hosts. Mark Rigby was the pick of the Freck bowling with 3-28 off 13.
Division two leaders South Shore have started to look vulnerable of late and saw their advantage cut to four points with a five-wicket defeat at third-placed Kirkham & Wesham.
Kirkham, whose eight-match winning run was ended by Eccleston the previous weekend, restricted Shore to 228-7 despite an excellent opening partnership between David Newton (73) and Matt Cowburn (60).
Both fell victim to Fareez Moosa on his way to 5-56 from 18 overs. K&W opener Salim Bux then hit a splended unbeaten 107 as the hosts reached their target in 39.2 overs.
The Wrea Green revival continued with a 13-run win at Mawdesley. David Uphill’s 5-51 from 13 overs was critical as Wrea removed their hosts for 153, having been dismissed themselves for 166 with nine balls left (Andy Carten 44, Alexander Carten 4-40).