Blackpool CC will be crowned Northern Premier League champions for the first time since 2014 if they win their final fixture against Penrith at Stanley Park on Saturday.
Paul Danson’s side extended their lead at the top to seven points with one game to play as Northamptonshire’s Richard Gleeson inspired a nine-wicket win at Morecambe, while second-placed Netherfield were held to a home draw by Leyland.
Gleeson, making only his third guest appearance of the season for his hometown club, took 7-43 in 14.2 overs as Morecambe were skittled out for 88 at Woodhill Lane.
The second-bottom hosts were soon in a mess at 14-3 after both openers failed to score.
Luke Jongwe scored more than half of Morecambe’s runs with his 47, but once he was was sixth out with the total at 74 any hope of a respectable target disappeared.
Matt Houston was then the only Blackpool player to lose his wicket (14) as fellow opener Syed Kazmi hit eight boundaries in an unbeaten 48 off 57 balls, sharing an unbroken stand of 58 with Josh Boyne (31) as the visitors eased to 89-1.
To complete Blackpool’s fine day, Netherfield had to settle for a winning draw as Leyland held out comfortably at 144-5 in reply to 220-7.
The Cumbrians had put on 152 for their first wicket (Ben Barrow 94, Josh Dixon 70) but head to Garstang for the final game with their title defence out of their hands.
Blackpool’s win ended third-placed St Annes’ slim title hopes, though they could still snatch runners-up spot after a 10-wicket win at bottom club Preston.
The West Cliff club looked doomed to complete the season winless after being dismissed for just 56.
Tom Bradley removed all of their top six on his way to career-best figures of 6-25.
St Annes’ openers Andy Drake (21no) and Henry Higson (29no) then eased to a winning total of 59-0.
They complete their season at home to Barrow, who inflicted a fifth defeat in six games on Fleetwood by 40 runs.
The Cumbrians chose to bat at Ernest Pass and reached 225-7 thanks to Robin Adams (39), Toby Mowat (44) and Greg Reynolds (59).
There were two wickets apiece for Declan Clerkin, Alex Ryder and Neels Bergh.
Fleetwood were then all out for 185 despite Adam Shorrocks’ best attempt to keep them in the hunt with 70.
Bergh added 27 but nobody else topped 15 as Gary Collins claimed 5-48 and Nathan Rimmington 3-48.
Eighth-placed Fleetwood will hope to end the season on a positive note at home to Fulwood and Broughton, who are battling with Morecambe to avoid the second possible relegation spot.
Lytham CC held Liverpool Competition champions-elect Northern to a draw in Crosby, closing five runs short of victory in a Moor Park thriller.
The hosts chose to bat and declared at 236-8 after 54.4 overs, opener Liam Grey making 101 fom 153 balls and sharing in a second-wicket stand of 163 with Chris Laker (72).
Having reached 222-3, Northern lost five wicket in adding just 14 as Josh Holden took 5-42 from 9.4 overs, Lancashire’s Steven Croft chipping in with 3-38.
Lytham then looked destined for heavy defeat after plummeting from 53-2 to 80-7 but then Ben Saunders took centre stage.
The captain hit 86 from 66 balls (13 fours, three sixes) and shared in a stand of 106 with Matthew Taaffe before Tomas Sephton had Saunders caught on his way to 7-110 from 29 overs.
Wicketkeeper Taaffe dug in for 47 before becoming Sephton’s final victim, and although the last pair of Anthony Mulligan (12no) and Jack Saunders (10no) added 23 to secure the draw, they closed just short of victory at 232-9 after 59 overs.
Seventh-placed Lytham play their final home game of the season against relegation-battling Rainford on Saturday.
Moore and Smalley Palace Shield premier division: Eccleston 136-2 (A Norris 39no) beat Great Eccleston 134-9 (I Siddique 37, T Wilkinson 4-40, S White 3-23) by eight wickets; Kendal 70-1 beat South Shore 69 (S Bariwala 4-13, C Miller 4-14 ) by nine wickets; Lancaster 155-5 beat New Longton 154 by five wickets; Longridge 71-1 beat Croston 67 by nine wickets; Penwortham 143 beat Torrisholme 118 by 25 runs; Vernon Carus 124-2 (J Rigby 54, I Dunn 47no) beat Thornton Cleveleys 121 (D Howard 45, H Geirnaert 4-38, M Timms 3-41) by eight wickets.
Division 1A: Freckleton 164 (J Goodin 50, S Khan 4-27, MI Raja 3-32 ) lost to Standish 165-2 (B Gore 62) by eight wickets; Fylde 178 (JSF Warnakulassooriya 38, J Adamson 3-15) beat Mawdesley 52 (C Camm 4-15) by 126 runs; Grimsargh 181 lost to Tarleton 237-9 by 56 runs; Hoghton 154 lost to Withnell Fold 162-8 by eight runs; Norcross 134 (D Swindells 36, A Harrison 4-29) lost to Kirkham and Wesham 135 by one run; Rufford 90-0 beat BAC/EE Preston 89 by 10 wickets.