Blackpool overtook Netherfield at the top of the Northern Premier League ahead of Monday’s crunch clash between the clubs in Cumbria.
While Blackpool eased to their expected home win over bottom club Preston, Netherfield were left clinging on for a draw at Chorley.
St Annes strenthened theirgrip on third spot with victory over Morecambe but the Fylde coast’s most exciting match was at Fleetwood, where Penrith sealed a very nervous one-wicket win despite dismissing their hosts for 88.
No such drama at Stanley Park, where a winless Preston side with only four points to their name all season couldn’t trouble Blackpool and were sent packing for 94 in 32.3 overs after being put in.
A third-wicket stand of 41 between Raghuram Surapeneni (28) and Mohammed Harish (21) threatened a more competitive total but their nine team-mates contributed only 29 between them and from 83-4 Preston could manage only 11 more.
Professional Jovaun van Wyngaardt claimed a second successive four-wicket haul (for 17 off 9.3 overs) on his penultimate Blackpool appearance, while Andy Furniss took 3-12 from five.
Blackpool used up only two wickets and 20.2 overs in cruising to victory 97-2, Matt Houston carrying his bat to lead them home in tandem with Ciaran Johnson.
Blackpool had started the day nine points behind Netherfield but are now two points ahead after the Cumbrians were left clinging on at 126-9 chasing 164 at Chorley.
Chasing a modest total proved far from straightforward at Broadwater and at Vernon Road, where St Annes eventuallybeat Morecambe by four wickets.
St Annes pro Amar Ullah moved to 67 wickets for the season with his outstanding 4-14 from 13 overs, while Matt Yeadon claimed 4-15 from 8.1 as the visitors were dismissed for 103 in 39.1 overs after being put in.
It needed a last-wicket stand of 31 to take them past 100 after Morecambe were reeling at 13-3 and 49-6, with top scorer Luke Jongwe (26) one of only two batsmen to score more than 10.
The St Annes reply was soon in a mess too at 51-5 but they lost only one further wicket in reaching 105-6 in 29.1 overs, Mohamed Nadeem the ship-steadying influence with his unbeaten 34 from 49 balls.
Fleetwood’s 88 from 38 overs against Penrith could have been more embarrassing had not Liam Castellas’ unbeaten 35 improved their situation from 41-7.
Jonathan Osborne removed most of the player/coach’s partners on his way to 4-10 from seven overs, Asher Hart taking 4-24 from 15.
Yet Fleetwood looked favourites for the unlikeliest of victories as they reduced the visitors from 61-4 to 70-9.
However, the final pair stood firm to score the 19 required for victory after 38 overs.
Nicky Burns top-scored with 26 but it was Sam Hall’s unbeaten 17 which proved decisive despite Jeremy Davies’ 3-12 from seven overs for Fleetwood and pro Neels Bergh’s 3-19 off nine.
Monday's matches: Barrow v Leyland, Fulwood and Broughton v St Annes, Morecambe v Fleetwood, Netherfield v Blackpool, Penrith v Chorley, Preston v Garstang.
Thornton Cleveleys put up a brave fight to score 227 at home to Palace Shield leaders Longridge but they remain in the premier division relegation zone after a five-wicket defeat.
In the division 1A promotion race, second-placed Fylde won at BAC/EE Preston and are now eight points clear of Freckleton, who lost at Withnell Fold.
Moore and Smalley Palace Shield premier division: Croston 181-7 beat Vernon Carus 128-8 by 53 runs, Great Eccleston 152-4 (M Imran-Sadiq 87no, B Simm 3-61) beat Lancaster 147 (B Simm 43, M Imran-Sadiq 7-42) by six wickets, New Longton 88 lost to Eccleston (89-5) by five wickets, South Shore 180-9 (L Jardine 82,A Sidgreaves 4-53, A Billington 3-36) ) beat Penwortham (A Ryding 65, S Burton 55), 175-7 by five runs , Thornton Cleveleys 227 (J Eade 81, D Howard 71, D Wilson 5-49 ) lost to Longridge 229-5 (N Holden 73, Z Christie 51 ) by five wickets, Torrisholme 130 lost to Kendal 279-8 by 149 runs
Division 1A: .BAC/EE Preston 71 (B Anderson 6-21) lost to Fylde 85-9 (J Thomas 4-30) by 14 runs,Kirkham and Wesham 290-4 (S Wright 115, M Brooks 84, J Wilson 3-79) beat Grimsargh 175 (M Blackburn 55, R Hilton 47, J Hogarth 6-23 ) by 115 runs, Mawdesley 154-7 lost to Rufford 156-3 by seven wickets, Standish 151-5 beat Hoghton 150-9 by five wickets, Tarleton 130 (J Huyton 46, D Harris 5-60) beat Norcross 90 (S Wilkinson 4-26 ) by 40 runs, Withnell Fold 175-8 (N Fowler 37, M Rigby 3-41) beat Freckleton 93 (J Goodin 40no, N Fowler 4-21 ) by 82 runs.
Lytham’s Liverpool Competition fixture at Formby was cancelled, meaning both clubs take five points.
It leaves Lytham seventh in the ECB premier league with three matches remaining.