Champions Blackpool are stuck in a slump after a third successive defeat on a day the Fylde coast’s three Northern Premier League clubs all lost.
Darwen leapfrogged Blackpool into second place in division one with a five-wicket victory at Stanley Park.
Blackpool chose to bat but were restricted to 178-9 from their 50 overs and were thankful to Stephen Twist for holding the innings together.
Number five Twist’s 75 from 90 balls included six fours and a six before he was dismissed by David Bowden, who finished with 4-49.
Blackpool had looked in deep trouble at 27-3 but a stand of 47 between professional Christi Viljoen and Josh Boyne steadied the ship.
A mini-collapse later gave Blackpool hope as the visitors stumbled from 84-1 to 87-5 in reply, Viljoen and Richard Gleeson both claiming two wickets.
But Darwen stood firm from then on as number five Mark Friend hit an unbeaten 59 from 41 balls and the East Lancaashire side reached a winning total of 179-5 with four overs remaining.
Friend hit eight fours and a six to become to second the Darwen player to make his half-century, following Ammer Mirz who scored 55 from 95 balls, having shared in an opening stand of 53 with Scott Jackson (20).
Fleetwood remain fourth but crashed to earth after their victory over leaders Morecambe with a shock seven-wicket defeat at struggling Netherfield. The visitors looked in a strong position after professional David King’s second century for the club guided them to a total of 213-6.
Australian opener King struck 118, his highest score for the club, off 103 balls with 10 fours.
He shared a third-wicket stand of 70 with fellow Aussie Ian Holland (29) and a partnership of of 59 with James Wilson (28).
King was fourth out, caught off Dieter Klein who finished with 4-57 from 15 overs.
The hosts then lost their first wicket without scoring but things quickly went downhill for Fleetwooed as captain Marc Brown topped King’s total with an unbeaten 120 off 140 delieveries, with two fours and three sixes.
The skipper put on 84 with opener Ben Barrow (28), then a further 85 with Klein (35) and an unbroken 52 with John Huck (22) as Netherfield claimed victory at 217-3 with 2.3 overs intact.
Professional Xander Pitchers’ best bowling yet for St Annes couldn’t spare them another defeat at Vernon Road.
St Annes remain second-bottom after losing a down-to-the-wire thriller to Kendal by a single wicket.
The hosts chose to bat and were dismissed for 157 in exactly 50 overs. Opener Adam Holt recorded the top score of the match with 49 scored off 77 balls with nine four
However, Andy Kellett’s side were kept in check by visiting captain Chris Miller, whose 6-72 bowling unchanged for 25 overs was well supported by Saeed Bariwala’s 3-52 from 18.
Namibian Pitchers then kept St Annes in the contest with his 6-62 from 23 overs, but visiting skipper Miller also saw Kendal over the line with an unbeaten 31 batting at 10.
Number seven Oliver Field was their top scorer with 43 from 66 balls.
Morecambe are now 13 points clear at the top of division one after a 67-run home win over Leyland.
Blackpool had at least returned to winning ways on Friday with an eight-wicket win over St Annes in the TWP Twenty20 at Vernon Road.
St Annes chose to bat and were restricted to 102-6, Matthew Taaffe scoring an unbeaten 29 at no.6 from 27 balls.
Professional Viljoen then wasted no time in securing Blackpool’s third straight victory in the competition, reaching his 50 in 33 balls before closing unbeaten on 59 from 40, with five fours and two sixes.
Blackpool sealed victory at 104-2 with 10 balls remaining and are sitting pretty at the top of south division one.
St Annes have suffered three straight defeats and will look to salvage some pride at Fleetwood on Thursday.
A century from Australian Dominic O’Brien couldn’t spare Lytham a five-wicket defeat away to Highfield in the Liverpool Competition.
The wicketkeeper struck 104 off 100 balls, including 14 fours, but this amounted to half Lytham’s total in Wigan, where they were dismissed for 209 in 54.4 overs.
The hard-hitting number three was wanting for support as Guy Roberts’ side lost five wickets before reaching 100, having been put in.
O’Brien was dismissed by Sam Rotherham, who finished with 4-54 off 16 overs.
Chris Liptrot chipped in with 4-73 off 21.4 and Lytham’s total was boosted by a late 29 from former skipper Anthony Mulligan.
However, it wasn’t enough as Highfield reached a winning 213-5 off 47.2 overs.
The key innings was a run-a-ball 80 from number four Michael Gaskell, who finished unbeaten after hitting nine fours and two sixes.
The hosts lost their first wicket without scoring but a third wicket stand of 91 between Gaskell and Jake Borrows (28) put them on track for a victory which was sealed by an unboken partnership of 47 between Gaskell and Habur Oatek (21).
Lytham’s Luke Williams had the consolation of his first five-wicket haul of the season, taking 5-97 from 22 overs.
The Church Road club now stand eighth in the ECB premier league, with two wins from their first seven games. They are now just one point above Highfield.
Lytham turn their attentions to the Nat West Club T20 on Thursday, when they visit Southport and Birkdale.