Fylde coast cricket review: St Annes defeat Fleetwood in crunch relegation match and champagne on ice for Blackpool

St Annes Cricket Club gave their Northern Premier League survival hopes a massive boost but sent Fleetwood to the brink of relegation with Saturday’s 33-run derby win.

Monday, 30th August 2021, 8:00 am

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The result sends St Annes’ spirits soaring ahead of their second derby of the holiday weekend at Vernon Road today, when visitors Blackpool arrive seeking the victory which will secure the title.

Blackpool’s champagne remains on ice after they had the worse of the draw in the top-two showdown at Longridge.

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St Annes celebrate a Fleetwood wicket on their way to a derby victory

St Annes chose to bat in their massive battle at the bottom and set Fleetwood a target of 167-7.

Nathan Armstrong led the way with 43, including eight fours, as seven St Annes batsmen made 15 but Armstrong alone reached 20.

Fleetwood professional Dyllan Matthews did as much as anyone to keep the hosts in check with 3-44 from 15 overs.

The Fleetwood reply looked promising at 90-2 and 113-3 but they managed to add only 21 more, dismissed for 134 with almost 15 overs remaining.

Matt Grindley bowls for Blackpool at Longridge

St Annes captain Tom Higson, so often his side’s principal run-scorer of late, this time showed the way with the ball, taking 5-31 from his 10 overs. The win lifts St Annes 19 points clear of the bottom two with just 30 to play for.

Bottom club Fleetwood must win their final two games, starting at Fulwood and Broughton today, to have any hope of escape.

St Annes’ immediate goal is to prevent Blackpool being crowned champions on their patch this afternoon.

That task has been made less daunting by the departure of Blackpool’s Indian professional Shivam Chauhan, who has returned to his homeland to prepare for the season.

Blackpool will end the campaign with guest pros and Chauhan’s fellow Indian Paras Dogra, from Colne, filled the breach for Saturday’s thriller at Longridge, where all results were possible entering the closing stages.

Needing victory to keep their own title hopes alive, Longridge batted first and set a target of 187-4, with the major contributions from opener Luke Platt (69) and Zac Christie at number four (62).

Blackpool wicketkeeper Ben Howarth enjoyed most success in resisting a potent home attack, top-scoring with 43 as Jonathan Millward, William Vause and Daniel Wilson all took three wickets.

However, the nailbiting ended with Longridge one wicket short of victory and Blackpool 11 runs short at 177-9.

Longridge take 11 points to Blackpool’s four but still slip to third place behind a Lancaster side who cantered to victory over Chorley.

Blackpool’s lead has been cut by 10 points to 25 but victory at St Annes will be more than enough to seal their 18th title and prevent the race going down to Saturday’s final round of games.

Chauhan leaves Blackpool after scoring 732 runs in all competitions at an average of 45 and taking 36 wickets.

Other results: Chorley 132 lost to Lancaster 135-2 by eight wickets, Fulwood and Broughton 248-9 beat Morecambe 83 by 165 runs, Garstang 141-6 beat Kendal 138 by four wickets, Netherfield 127-1 beat Leyland 124 by nine wickets

Today’s matches (12.30): St Annes v Blackpool, Fulwood and Broughton v Fleetwood, Chorley v Leyland, Garstang v Lancaster, Longridge v Morecambe, Netherfield v Kendal.

Another week, another season’s best for Lytham’s phenomenal professional Zia Ur Rehman Akbar.

The Afgham spinner’s 7-22 skittled out visitors Fleetwood Hesketh for 101 in 43.1 overs, paving the way for a three-wicket home win at Church Road in the Liverpool Competition first division.

Zia’s second successive seven-wicket haul takes his wicket tally to 63 in 12 games, having taken five wickets or more in nine of them.

Saturday’s seven came from 21.1 overs, which included 14 maidens.

The Southport visitors did very well to reach three figures from 26-6 and were indebted to Paul Regan for his 38.

Lytham’s reply got off to a wobbly start at 6-2 but was steadied by an unbeaten 34 from captain Matt Taaffe, who stood firm for victory at 104-7 from 28.2 overs, despite the best efforts of Sabbir Patel (4-24 off 10).

This was Lytham’s sixth straight win in completed games. They remain fifth but are only 14 points behind a Birkenhead Park side who occupy the second promotion place with three games to play.

Penrith are set to return to the Northern League next season but Kirkham and Wesham's hopes of taking the Palace Shield's other promotion place were hit by surprise home defeat by Eccleston.

That left K&W nine points behind second-placed Vernon Carus with two to play.

Moore and Smalley Palace Shield premier division results: Kirkham and Wesham 151 (M Brooks 46, M Atkinson 4-28) lost to Eccleston 152-6 (M Atkinson 49no, A Norris 47, A Wilson 4-44) by four wickets, South Shore 168 (R Adderley 50no, W Smith 5-36) beat Fylde 77 (D Davis 6-38, N Ashford 4-34) by 91 runs, Thornton Cleveleys 219-7 (J Eade 80, J Sackfield 64, S Chadd 4-52) beat Barrow 215 (G Reynolds 70, A Ellison 3-38) by four runs, Vernon Carus 188-2 beat Great Eccleston 186-8 by eight wickets, Penrith 124-4 beat Penwortham 123 by six wickets, Preston 228-8 beat Croston 106 by 122 runs.

Division 1B: St Annes 2 155-6 (A Charles 75, A Lewin 3-38) lost to Blackpool 2 156-6 (A Lewin 70) by four wickets, Fleetwood 2 190-6 (A Singleton 64, S Whittaker 49) lost to Fulwood and Broughton 2 194-5 (A Ahmed 87no, K Patel 53no) by five wickets, Great Eccleston 2 230 (I Dudhara 55, A Cook 3-60, J Woodhaead 3-61, A Ball 3-67) lost to Garstang 2 255 (A Cook 115, M Winstanley 79, S Patel 6-65) by 36 runs.

Division 2: Wrea Green 88 (J Bass 4-21, J Hindley 3-3) lost to Thornton Cleveleys 2 92-7 (D Hetherington 3-7) by three wickets, Norcross 66 (M Law 5-31, P Rochester 3-16) lost to Gregson Lane 195 (A Patel 56, S Cross 53, I Davies 4-23, T Wilson 3-47, J Moss 3-57) by 129 runs.

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