St Annes were the only Fylde coast club to avoid defeat in the Northern Premier League and they had to settle for a winning draw despite professional Matthew Breetzke’s dazzling debut at Kendal.
Breetzke had only arrived from South Africa last Tuesday but scored 96 from 102 balls after St Annes had been put in to bat at Shap Road.
The teenager from Eastern Provinces was rushed over as St Annes abandoned their patient wait for the Indian Saurabh Bandekar, and Breetzke breezed in with eight fours and two sixes.
However, none of his new team-mates reached 20 and the visitors were in trouble at 91-6 before Breetzke put on 67 for the seventh wicket with Andy Drake.
St Annes were all out for 169 from 46.4 overs as Jason Davies finished with 3-46 from 13 overs.
The Kendal reply built to a thrilling finish with all results possible, and it ended with the hosts six short of victory with their last pair at the crease and St Annes getting the better of the draw.
Ben Phillips at number three gave them a solid foundation with 48 and at 133-4 they were well on course but then five Kendal wickets went down for 20 to leave the last pair in need of 11 for victory.
Wicketkeeper Shane Hayland did well to see the innings out, although the five who followed him in could only score 13 between them.
St Annes skipper Matt Grindley’s first five-wicket haul of the season saw him concede just 29 from 16 overs.
Another exciting finish saw Blackpool suffer their first defeat of the season in all competitons at Lancaster, going down by three wickets in a match which went down to the penultimate ball.
In a rain-hit match reduced to 40 overs a side, Blackpool chose to bat and reached 135-7.
They were in deep trouble at 23-4 as Kasum Madusanka took three quick wickets on his way to 4-32. Three of Blackpool’s top four were caught behind by Jordan Sparks, including professional Anurag Verma without scoring.
Stephen Twist steadied the ship with 33 and put on 54 for the fifth wicket with Andy Furniss before top-scorer Josh Boyne’s unbeaten run-a-ball 36.
Lancaster then cut it fine before sealing their three-wicket victory, captain Ben Simm leading them home with an unbeaten 31 at number six.
The visitors’ hopes rose as Verma took 3-54 from 14 overs and Lancaster slipped from 81-3 to 88-6, but Simm steered them safely to 136-7 with just Jake Muncaster’s final delivery remaining.
Blackpool slipped to fourth as champions Leyland suffered their first defeat too against Morecambe, leaving Chorley with the only 100 per cent record after four matches.
Fleetwood suffered their third defeat in four games as they suffered at the hands of Barrow’s Aaron Kaverne-Onyon.
In the only NPL match staged on the Fylde coast, the Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire Seconds all-rounder top-scored for the visitors with 57 from 47 balls, then took 7-53 in Barrow’s 15-run win at Broadwater.
The Cumbrians were put into bat and dismissed for 196 in 44.3 overs, Kaverne-Onyon hitting 11 fours and a six, with vital contributions from wicketkeeper Jamie Pinford and Daryl Wearing.
All three were dismissed by Fleetwood professional Neels Bergh on his his way to 5-52 from 12.3 overs, the South African’s second five-for of the season.
Fleetwood’s run chase started badly as their top three managed only nine betweenthem but Joe McCluskie gave them hope with a series of sixes among his 75 from 92 balls.
But as his team-mates were kept in check by Kaverne-Onyon, Fleetwood were all out for 181 with seven overs remaining.