Top of the shocks

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FLEETWOOD pulled off the shock of the day as the 60th season of Northern League cricket got under way.

They dismissed champions Leyland for just 85 en route to a one-wicket win at Broadwater, while Blackpool were beaten at Lancaster and St Annes held at home by Chorley.

Fleetwood’s new pro Ryan Smith, the Australian all-rounder who played for the club as an amateur last season, made the early inroads by claiming the wickets of Chris Parkinson and Nathan McDonnell. Mike Clinning then claimed the vital wicket of pro Brett Pelser, who captained the visitors in the absence of the injured David Makinson.

Only three Leyland players reached double figures and the top scorer was no.10 Peter Cummings with 24. Opener Henry Thompson battled through 90 balls for 15.

Smith took 3-25, off-spinner Clinning 4-10 from ten overs and Adam Parker 2-26 on his return to Broadwater after two seasons at Preston.

Leyland showed their champion spirit by making the home side fight hard, Cummings taking 4-51, Pelser 3-23 and leg-spinner Tayyab Afsar 2-9.

Opener James Ellis, back after missing the 2010 season through work commitments, made 33 off 63 balls as Fleetwood scrambled home with their last pair of Sam Bell and Kieran McGann at the crease.

Blackpool and St Annes were both without their first-choice pro.

Blackpool employed Pakistani all-rounder Rehan Rafiq in the avsnece of South African spinner Con de Lange, who has had a back operation, while vistors Lancaster also fielded a sub-pro in Lancashire Secondsbatsman Luke Perry.

Lancaster were bowled out for 87 as Cumberland county bowler Richard Gleeson took 3-23 and Steven Mercer 5-18.

But the home side fought back brilliantly in the field as off-spinner Ben Simm bowling unchanged to take 5-29 from 25.1 overs as Blackpool were dismissed for 80 despite a fighting 30 from Andy Furniss.

Simm had Rafiq, caught by Craig Atkinson for 14. .

Run-scoring wasn’t quite such a problem at St Annes but the home side would have hoped for more than 205 all out.

Pakistan fast bowler Fahad Masood deputised for pro Dinuka Hettiarachchi, who has been delayed in his delayed in his native Sri Lanka, and made 38, just one fewer than top scorer Nathan Armstrong.

Duncan Whalley captained St Annes because of injury to Andy Kellett and saw Gaurav Dhar take 5-98 on his debut at Chorley pro, with fellow spinner Iain Critchley claiming 3-58.

Openers Andy Holdsworth and Jack Catterall gave Chorley a fine start with a stand of 92, both making 41, but the visitors slumped to 137-7 as Masood took 4-63 and Atiq Uz-Zaman 3- 27.

However, Stu Naden returned to make 24 after retiring from a blow to the helmet and an unbeaten 42 off 49 balls by Ian Oakes helped Chorley salvage a draw at 190-9.

n LIVERPOOL Competition champions Lytham’s season got of to a losing start in the first of thee group games in the Ray Digman Knockout Trophy.

They went down by three wickets at Maghull, after being dismissed for 113 in 29.5 overs.

Guy Roberts made 41 and Simon Long 26 for the visitors, who struggled to handle Snowdon (6-14).

Ring led the way with an unbeaten 26 as Maghull sealed victory at 114-7 from 37.5 overs.