Fleetwood won through to the semi-finals of the Readers T20, pipping Blackpool on net run rate after both clubs won at St Annes on the deciding day of the Fylde coast group.
Fleetwood and Blackpool both won three of their four games in south division one of the Northern League’s T20 competition to finish with six points, though it was Fleetwood who finished top with a run rate of 0.88 compared to Blackpool’s 0.38.
It was Blackpool who had the edge on run rate going into yesterday’s f inal round of group games at St Annes, who still had an outside chance of qualifying themselves by beating both visiting teams.
But Blackpool ended that hope by winning the opening match by three wickets.
After St Annes had chosen to bat at Vernon Road and been dismissed for 96 with seven balls left, Blackpool knew they needed to reach their target quickly to strengthen their grip on top spot.
However, they used all but nine balls to reach 97-7 and left Fleetwood knowing that a brisk scoring rate against a St Annes side with little left to play for could elevate them to the top of the tree.
The visitors won the toss and duly enhanced their run rate by reaching 143-3 as professional Neels Bergh hit an unbeaten 58 and shared in a fourth-wicket stand with Adam Sharrocks (40), which St Annes couldn’t break despite trying seven bowlers.
St Annes were always up against it after losing two of their first three batsmen for ducks, and although Mohamed Nadeem scored 30 the home side lost by 28 runs at 115-7.
It means St Annes exit the tournament without a win, while Fleetwood progress to the semi-finals with Chorley, Fulwood and Broughton and Netherfield.
Blackpool’s rain-hit league match against Morecambe at Stanley Park on Saturday had a thrilling finish as the hosts sealed a three-wicket victory from the final ball.
As the weather affected the Northern Premier League programme for the first time this season, Blackpool maintained their 12-point lead at the top in a nailbiting 27-over contest.
Despite the weather, the only match to be abandoned was Fleetwood’s at home to Barrow, though second-placed St Annes didn’t see a delivery bowled either as bottom club Preston conceded their match at Vernon Road.
The Stanley Park fixture didn’t start until 4.30pm but was worth waiting for as Blackpool pursued Morcambe’s 96-7.
After the hosts had looked sure to win when requiring just three runs from their final two overs, the scores were tied with one ball left.
Professional Jovaun van Wyngaardt and Matt Houston played key roles in the Blackpool win but it was Jake Muncaster who ultimately saw them home with an unbeaten 15.
Having been put in, Morecambe had recovered from 9-2 to post 96-7 but were kept in check by van Wyngaardt, whose 5-50 from 15 overs was his best return yet for the club.
The South African’s third five-for of the campaign included four catches behind by Ben Howarth.
Van Wyngaardt bowled unchanged with Matt Grindley, who claimed the other two wickets.
Blackpool were also in early strife for 8-2 before a third-wicket stand of 49 between van Wyngaardt and top scorer Houston set them on course for victory.
Houston hit five fours in his 37, though when he was sixth out with just 15 needed there was little sense of the last-gasp drama to follow.
Fleetwood hailed a “fantastic” effort to get their match with Barrow on but both sides had to settle for five points.
This saw Fleetwood lose fourth place to Garstang, who beat Penrith by 81 runs, and also lose ground on the top three.
Champions Netherfield remain a point behind St Annes in third after a 26-run win over Leyland.
Steven’s Croft best innings yet for Lytham helped the Church Road club to defeat leaders Northern with surprising ease in the Liverpool Competition.
The Crosby club, who had won seven of their previous games in the ECB premier league, were dismissed for just 97 chasing 175 as Lytham captain Ben Saunders took five wickets for the second Saturday running.
Out of favour with Lancashire, former Red Rose skipper Croft took out his frustrations on Northern, with 79 from 105 balls, including six fours and two sixes.
Coming in at 6-2, Croft shared in stands of 64 with Thomas Hessey for the fourth wicket and 53 for the fifth withhis Lancashire team-mate Toby Lester, who scored 42 from 47 balls and claimed one wicket.
This was Croft’s third successive Saturday game for Lytham and he had not reached 50 in his nine previous knocks for the club, though he was unbeaten on 41 in the victory at New Brighton seven days previously
Tomas Sephton had Croft caught on his way to figures of 4-53 from seven overs, while Justin Snow’s 3-30 from nine also gave Northern hope as Lytham fell from 158-5 to 175 all out after 46 overs.
But after putting on 31 for their first wicket, Northern managed only 66 more before being dismissed in 26.3 overs.
After taking five wickets at bottom club New Brighton, skipper Saunders rerpeated the feat again against the leaders, his 13 overs yielding 5-34.
Saunders did most of the damage in tandem with Josh Holden, whose 4-17 came from 6.3 overs, opener Liam Grey top-scoring for Northern with 22.
Lytham stay seventh after their successive wins and Northern retain top spot, though Formby cut their lead to eight points with a rain-hit draw against Bootle.
South Shore climbed into the top half of the Palace Shield premier division with maximum points at home to former Northern League club Kendal, who were dispatched for 95 and beaten by 31 runs.
Longridge are 15 points clear at the top after winning the clash of the top two at Croston.
Great Eccleston and Thornton Cleveleys still occupy two of the bottom three positions after home defeats. Thornton lost by seven wickets to Vernon Carus atIllawalla despite piling on 203-4.
Freckleton lead the way in division 1A after inflicting another defeat on former leaders Standish.
Jamie Hogarth scored his first century in Kirkham and Wesham’s 52-run win over second-bottom Norcross.
Kirkham remain sixth but are only five points behind Hoghton in second.
Fylde are still a point above Kirkham and now just one behind Mawdesley, having beaten them by three wickets.
Moore and Smalley Palace Shield premier division: Croston 138-8 lost to Longridge 185-5 by 47 runs, Great Eccleston 152 (W Thistlethwaite 40, S White 6-38, MR Atkinson 4-62) lost to Eccleston 164-4 (J Bentham 60no, A Norris 55no) by 12 runs, South Shore 126-8 (L Jardine 48, S Bariwala 5-55) beat Kendal 95 (R Shepherd 60, M Hall 4-44, N Ashford 3-31) by 31 runs, Thornton Cleveleys 203-4 (D Howard 75) lost to Vernon Carus 204-3 (M Hardiker 81, I Dunn 60) by seven wickets, Torrisholme 134-5 lost to Penwortham 135-1 by nine wickets.
Division 1A: BAC/EE Preston 135-5 beat Rufford 89 by 46 runs, Kirkham and Wesham 204-6 (J Hogarth 101, M Brooks 44) beat Norcross 152-4 (D Swindells 52) by 52 runs, Mawdesley 135-4 (C Gibirdi 36, A Ellsion 4-27) lost to Fylde 137-7 (J Davies 32no, N O’Malley 3-26) by three wickets, Standish 117 lost to Freckleton 133-6 by 16 runs, Tarleton 151-5 beat Grimsargh 149-7 by two wickets, Withnell Fold 104-5 lost to Hoghton 97-0 (revised target) by 10 wickets.