FLEETWOOD CC edged ahead in the Northern Premier League title race with victory at Morecambe yesterday to set up a fascinating final weekend of the season.
Mat Clark’s side took full advantage of their match in hand on previous leaders Barrow to take a three-point lead with one match to play courtesy of a nine-wicket win at Lune Road.
Following professional Shaun Liebisch’s return to his South African homeland, the Nottinghamshire all-rounder Steven Mullaney stepped into the breach as Fleetwood’s guest pro and gave an outstanding display.
The former Lancashire player took 5-41 form his 25 overs to remove the hosts for 121 in 46.2 overs, then came in at no.3 to fire an unbeaten 75 from 70 balls to see Fleetwood home in just 27 overs.
Morecambe soon regretted their decision to bat as Mullaney and Chris Stanhope (3-14 off 5.2), prevented any major partnerships developing, no.7 Gareth Peder top-scoring with 25.
In reply, Fleetwood lost Mike Clinning early but fellow opener Adam Parker, who had played a key role in Mullaney’s recruitment, and the Notts player saw Fleetwood to victory in double-quick time.
Parker made a steady 33 while Mullaney hit out, firing five fours and as many sixes.
It means Fleetwood are in pole position going into Saturday’s final match at ‘home’ to Preston, though the game will be staged at Chorley because of drainage issues at Broadwater.
Morecambe still have a key role to play in the title race as they visit Barrow.