Champs charge on in demolition derby

Fleetwood captain Matt Clark makes a brilliant running catch to dismiss Kushan Mirando
Fleetwood captain Matt Clark makes a brilliant running catch to dismiss Kushan Mirando
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Fleetwood CC may have lost their Northern Premier League twenty20 crown last weekend, but they showed they have no intention of loosening their grip on the league title with a crushing 10-wicket derby win over St Annes.

The visitors harboured title hopes themselves but soon regretted electing to bat at Broadwater, where they were skittled out for just 106 in 28.2 overs.

Ian Holland and Sam Bell bowled unchanged, the Australian professional taking 4-58 from 14.2 overs. Bell, meanwhile, had season’s best figures of 6-34 from 14.

St Annes couldn’t build any partnerships of note, the best accounting for just 23 between top scorer Alex Naylor (27) and stand-in skipper Neil Bradley for the seventh wicket.

Fleetwood’s openers then required just 17.5 overs to secure victory as Adam Parker blasted his way to 70 from just 44 balls, his fifth half-century of the season which included 13 four sand two sixes. Mike Clinning offered reliable support with 29.

To complete a satisfying day for the third-placed champions, leaders Barrow’s defeat by Morecambe (who dismissed them for 91) leaves Mat Clark’s Fleetwood side just 13 points off the pace.

Blackpool had the better of the draw with Darwen at Stanley Park, though both sides were looking for victory to boost a disappointing campaign.

The hosts were put in and had skipper Paul Danson to thank for their 175-6.

The captain’s unbeaten 82 was his best of the season and was scored off 99 balls, with 10 fours.

Darwen, who had defeated Fleetwood to reach the TWP Wealth t20 final the previous Sunday, looked well set for victory at 104-2 only to slump to 136-8 before holding out for the draw at 147 without further loss.

The visitors recovered from the loss of professional Alan Kruger for a duck as fellow opener Ammer Mirz made 48 and no.4 John Cordingley 42, but Blackpool’s six bowlers were all tidy, Ash Moreau taking 3-52 from 17 overs.

Alexander Davies was back to his belligerent best but his Lytham team couldn’t quite push on for a much-needed win against Ormskirk.

Desperate to arrest a run of poor results and close the gap on Liverpool Competition leaders Northern, champions Lytham set the visitors a daunting target of 264-4 only to see them hold on for a draw with their last pair at the crease.

The majority of Lytham’s runs came from the powerful bat of Davies, whose fourth century of the season was his biggest yet for the club.

The Lancashire Seconds batsman fired 25 fours and a six in his 169, scored off 179 balls.

It took the 18-year-old beyond 1,000 runs in all cricket this season for Lytham, with an average of over 81.

He put on 94 for the opening wicket with Will Hale (34) as Guy Roberts’ side went on to declare after 53 overs.

Ormskirk, who had defeated Lytham on the opening day, signalled their intent with a stand of 129 for their second wicket between top scorer Mathew Morgan (79) and opener Andrew Baybutt (68).

However, the balance tipped back Lytham’s way as Ormskirk stuttered from 140-1 to 159-5.

No.6 Jonathan Glayzer then held innings together with an unbeaten 40 as Ormskirk closed on 248-9 from 55 overs.

Richard Openshaw had season’s best figures of 4-55 off 11 overs, while spinner Ben Saunders bowled a 22-over stint for 3-103.

With no points for a draw in the ECB Premier League, the result does neither side any favours.

Lytham remain sixth but are now 87 points behind Northern, who crushed Southport and Birkdale