Fylde coast Sunday cricket

Blackpool's Stephen Twist batting

Blackpool's Stephen Twist batting

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Blackpool and Fleetwood boosted their Northern Premier League title challenge as Sunday victories moved them within seven points of leaders Morecambe.

Champions Blackpool had the better of a draw with the leaders on Saturday, then capitalised on their inactivity the following day with a three-wicket victory at Netherfield, sealed off the final ball.

With Keswick’s Geeth Kumara standing in as professional for the banned Christi Viljoen, Blackpool put their Cumbrian hosts in and saw John Huck score 129 from 100 balls batting at number five.

Kumara bowled well until an expensive final over as Netherfield reached 213-5, wicketkeeping opener Ben Barrow having scored 52. He put on 105 for the fourth wicket with Huck, who then shared an unbroken stand of 70 with Joe Atkinson. Jamie Thomson took 3-51.

Opener Matty Houston then carried his bat for 94 as Blackpool reached a winning 214-7 from their full 45 overs.

Houston’s best knock of the season – the fourth time he has passed 50 – came off 134 balls and featured five fours and two sixes. He shared in a third-wicket stand of 60 with Kumara, the latter falling to Mark Clarkson, who took 4-74 from his 13 overs.

Fleetwood remain level on points with Blackpool after their second comfortable win in successive days, this time by six wickets at home to Barrow.

The Cumbrians were inserted and restricted to 150 in 47.2 overs following Ian Holland’s best bowling return for the Broadwater club – 7-40 off 7.2 overs. It was the fifth time this season the Australian had taken five wickets or more. Close to half Barrow’s runs were made by number five Greg Reynolds (68).

Fleetwood were home and hosed at 151-4 with seven overs to spare as Holland completed a fine day by top-scoring ith 47 from 64 balls, including three fours and two sixes.

Both Blackpool and Fleetwood have overtaken Darwen, who were held to a draw by St Annes at Birch Hall.

St Annes clung on for the second day running, this time reaching 164-9 in reply to their hosts’ 279-3.

Number six Nathan Armstrong’s unbeaten 49 saved the day for second-bottom St Annes, despite Reece Davies taking 3-21 off eight overs.

Adam Holt captained the side in Andy Kellett’s absence and they were up against it after Khaya Zondo (91), John Cordingley (retired not out 71) and Ammer Mirza (49) steered Darwen to a very healthy total.