Final pair hang on to deny Lytham

Pictures Martin Bostock.'Lytham CC v Hightown.'Anthony Mulligan batting for Lytham.
Pictures Martin Bostock.'Lytham CC v Hightown.'Anthony Mulligan batting for Lytham.
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THIS season’s familiar sight of the final pair hanging on grimly to deny Lytham victory in the Liverpool competition was witnessed once more at Church Road.

This time it was Hightown’s tenth-wicket players who clung on for an ECB premier league draw which saw the sixth-placed champions fall even further off the pace.

Lytham elected to bat on a pitch offering something for both teams and were soon in trouble at 14-3 as openers Nick Knight and Faz Ughradar were caught for a combined total of ten and a Guy Roberts fell for a duck.

Professional Dom O’Brien also fell cheaply, but salvation arrived in the form of a fifth-wicket stand worth 106 between captain Anthony Mulligan and Joe Davies.

Both passed the half-century mark as Davies top-scored with 79 off 93 balls (14 four and a six) and Mulligan scored 52 off 86 (five fours and a six).

No.10 Sam Holliday was Lytham’s next-best with 16 before being last man out with the total at 214 from 47.3 overs.

The wickets were shared between the suitably deadly Nick Death, whose 6-53 came from 14.3 overs, and Aaron Halsall with 4-61 off 14.

In response, Hightown started well, reaching 74 before losing their second wicket, after which the outstanding Death and Rob Gamble put on 72 for the third.

The momentum swung Lytham’s way when Holloway bowled Death for 56, sparking a middle order collapse which saw 146-2 become 147-5.

Hightown regrouped and captain Iain Sutcliffe looked intent on pressing for victory with 30 off 18 balls.

But when he was the seventh man down, caught by Mulligan off spinner Ben Saunders, Lytham looked the likelier winners.

However, the final pair hung off and Hightown closed at 207-9 off 51 overs. Captain Anthony Mulligan returned figures of 4-37 off 11 overs and O’Brien took four catches behind.

*LYTHAM Seconds’ battle to beat the drop was boosted by a 75-run win at Sefton Park.

Captain Simon Long gave Lytham early momentum by hitting 63 off 43 balls but was to be overshadowed by two team-mates.

The Liverpool side hit back to reduce the visitors to 170-7. That was when 16-year-old George Brookes, batting No.9, took over with a power-packed 72 from 34 balls, which included six fours and four sixes, enabling Lytham to declare at 261-8 (Rob Kelly 4-63).

Lytham then dismissed Sefton Park for 186 in 33.5 overs as Jimmy Wisniewski took 3-6 from 4.5 overs of leg-spin, having also claimed three catches and two stumpings playing wicketkeeper.