Lytham gain, St Annes pain

St Annes CC v Leyland CC.  Pictured is Louis Reece for Leyland.
St Annes CC v Leyland CC. Pictured is Louis Reece for Leyland.

LYTHAM retained top spot in the Liverpool Competition after winning a battle of the good Guys on Merseyside.

Hightown’s Guy Edwards and Lytham’s Guy Roberts were the top scorers for their respective sides, though it was Roberts’ Lytham side who held sway by four wickets after Guy’s best innings of the season.

Edwards had earlier scored 66 in Hightown’s 183 all out from 59.5 overs in this ECB premier league match.

His side had looked good for a big total at 97-2, but after opener Edwards was fifth out with the score on 125 (having hit seven fours and two sixes in his 114-ball innings) the hosts lost momentum.

Richard Openshaw wrapped the innings up with the final three wickets, taken from just 11 deliveries at a cost of six runs.

His late heroics rather overshadowed the contribution of Lancashire’s Oliver Newby, making his second guest appearance for the club, who conceded just 15 from a ten-over spell, including three maidens, but had to settle for one victim.

Roberts then came in with Lytham 32-2 and proceeded to smash 72 in boundaries (15 fours, two sixes) on his way to an unbeaten 90 from exactly 100 balls.

Nick Knight (29) was the other chief contributor as Lytham reached their target in 41.4 overs and was one of three victims for Aaran Halsall (for 31 off 11 overs).

Northern reduced Lytham’s lead from ten points to eight with a 62-run win at Leigh.

Friday’s torrential downpours unsurprisingly took their toll on the Nortern Premier League programme, though despite predictions of a second successive washout three matches did go ahead in the first division. Alas St Annes will wish theirs at home to Leyland had not been one of them.

The champions were dismantled by all-rounder Luis Reece in a humbling 233-run home defeat which dropped them back into the bottom three. Reece, a former Blackpool batsman more recently seen with Lancashire Seconds and Unicorns, smashed 12 sixes around Vernon road on his way to an unbeaten 145 from 148 balls as Leyland piled up 311 for two.

Reece gained equally destructive support from South African Brett Pelser, whose 121 came from 108 balls, with eight fours and seven sixes.

Pelser’s third league century of the season took him past 500 runs and was his biggest yet. He was caught and bowled by St Annes spinner Dinuk Hettiarachch, whose two wickets from 24 overs of toil cost 114 runs.

Reece then provided no let-up for St Annes with the ball, taking 5-39 from his 13 overs, including the wicket of top scorer Nathan Bolus for 19, as St Annes were removed for just 78 in 33 overs.

They have been overtaken by Chorley, winners by four wickets at Preston.