Fylde coast cricket round-up: Derby victory moves Blackpool closer to title, St Annes skipper hits 200 in T20, two more wins for Lytham in tremendous turnaround
Blackpool’s relentless pursuit of the Northern Premier League title continued with an emphatic nine-wicket derby win over Fleetwood.
The only consolation for the visitors in this top v bottom contest is that the other clubs in the relegation battle struggled too, including St Annes, who had to settle for one point from a losing draw at Garstang.
Fleetwood chose to bat in the first Fylde coast derby since Stanley Park reopened and did well to reach 129 from 47.3 overs, having been 22-3.
Those first three wickets, including that of professional Dyllan Matthews for three, all fell to Jamie Thomson, who finished with 3-17 from his eight overs.
There were also three victims for Matt Siddall, again in minor counties action for Cumbria this week, and for pro Shivam Chauhan to prevent Fleetwood posting anything like a competitive total, despite a fourth-wicket stand worth 40 between Charlie Clark (30) and Tom Wilson (29). Matt Grindley’s 10 overs were wicketless but went for just nine runs.
Blackpool reached their target within half their allotted overs and this 10th victory in 12 completed matches this season was never in doubt after an opening partnership of 110 between Sam Dutton (61 not out from 92 balls, 10 fours) and Tomas King (49, six fours).
Second-placed Longridge defeated Fulwood and Broughton to keep Blackpool’s lead at 35 points but Paul Danson’s side need two more wins at most from their final four games.
A reduction to 45 overs could not prevent Garstang piling on 255-5 at home to St Annes after winning the toss.
Indian pro Puneet Bisht led the assault with 63 and there were significant contributions from captain Mark Walling (40) and openers Michael Walling (40) and Michael Wellings 34.
The St Annes target was revised upward to 273, but it was always about survival for the visitors and Nathan Armstrong showed them the way with 60 after the top three had scored five between them.
Number six Alex Bradley then ensured the visitors clung on at 120-7 with an unbeaten 38 despite Danny Gilbert’s 4-16 off nine overs.
Other results: Lancaster 170-1 beat Kendal 169 by nine wickets, Longridge 132-4 beat Fulwood and Broughton 128 by six wickets, Netherfield 233-7 beat Chorley 57 by 176 runs, Leyland v Morecambe abandoned.
St Annes saved their only win in this season’s Readers T20 until last and it was well worth the wait. Captain Tom Higson hit a fantastic 202 not out from 80 balls in their 99-run win at Chorley yesterday.
The skipper slammed 18 sixes and 17 fours in an unbroken opening stand of 242 with Ashton Charles (29). Chorley were then dismissed for 143 in 18.1 overs despite Siddesh Lad’s 52.
Blackpool’s treble hopes were dashed as a favour from Fleetwood on the final day of T20 group action was not forthcoming.
Their hopes of qualifying for finals days hinged on a Fleetwood victory at Longridge but the home side won by seven wickets to go through as runners-up to Morecambe.
Captain Adam Sharrocks chose to bat and was Fleetwood’s top scorer with 26 in their 119-6, which Longridge passed in 17.3 overs at 120-3. Opener Daniel Wilkinson made 43 and wicketkeeper Thomas Turner 34 not out.
Longridge will face Netherfield on finals day, while Morecambe play Lancaster in the other semi.
Lytham’s remarkable resurgence inspired by Afghan professional Zia Ur Rehman Akbar continued with two more victories over the weekend in the Liverpool Competition first division.
Saturday's two-wicket success against Birkenhead Park was followed by a 45-run victory at St Helens Town yesterday in what was a catch-up game after the club was closed due to Covid.
Formerly in the relegation zone, Lytham have climbed to fourth after five straight victories and suddenly their chances of bouncing back into the top flight at the first attempt are looking more realistic. They now trail second-placed Ainsdale by 17 points with five games remaining.
To explain this turnaround look no further than spin sensation Akbar, whose 6-30 at Church Road on Saturday was followed by 5-61 the following day.
Lytham's professional has taken five wickets or more in seven of his 10 games for the club, claiming 49 victims in all.
Birkenhead Park totalled just 69 in 31.5 overs, with only one of their bottom six troubling the scorer. Tom Hessey supported Akbar well, conceding just 12 runs from his eight overs.
Lytham made heavy weather of a meagre run chase, though, and nerves were fraying as 57-4 became 60-8.
But they added the final 10 for victory without further loss after 20 overs, Tom Jefferson leading the way with 22. Indian pro Satyajeet Bachhav almost matched Akbar with 5-17 from his 10 overs.
Lytham were put in by St Helens the following day and set a target of 191-7 from 37.5 overs, spearheaded by Jefferson's 59 from 64 balls, with five fours and as many sixes.
Akbar made his biggest batting contributions yet with 40 and shared in a fourth-wicket stand of 63 with Jefferson.
A comfortable Lytham victory then looked likely as Town were reduced to 78-7 only for an eighth-wicket stand of 59 between Liam Gaskell (36 off 28) and William Griffiths (24) to give the bottom club a glimmer of hope.
But after Akbar had dismissed both, St Helens fell short at 146 from 40.5 overs as Hessey again impressed with 4-35 from his 10.5 overs.
Kirkham and Wesham are tied for second place in the Palace Shield, 10 points behind leaders Penrith, thanks to their 31-run win at Thornton Cleveleys on a rain-hit premier division weekend.
Blackpool Seconds missed out on silverware in the Palace Shield's Loxham Cup, losing a nailbiting final by one wicket to Longridge 2 at Stanley Park on Sunday.
Asked to bat first, Blackpool set a target of 183-7 from their 40 overs, Dylan Henshall leading the way with 47 from 46 balls (six boundaries). Henshall put on 73 for Blackpool's third wicket with Arran Lewin (29).
Longridge opener Matt Joyce then set about the run chase with gusto, scoring 83 from 59 balls with 12 fours and three sixes, and putting on 85 for the third wicket with captain Tom Wood (23).
The tide seemed to be turning Blackpool's way as 111-2 became 129-7, Ali Munir and Lewin both taking three wickets.
But when the final pair came together with 20 still needed for victory, wicketkeeper Archie Smith and last man Henry Proctor held their nerve to claim the trophy for Longridge at 185-9 with 2.4 overs remaining.
Moore and Smalley Palace Shield
PREMIER DIVISION: Great Eccleston 183 (M Mohammed 38, G Collins 5-43) lost to Barrow 187-5 (J Singleton 64no) by five wickets, Thornton Cleveleys 166-9 (D Howard 53, R Blampied 37, A Hogarth 4-68) lost to Kirkham and Wesham 204 (J Mansfield 51 no, J Sackfield 46) by 31 runs (revised target), Penrith 210-9 beat Vernon Carus 144 by 66 runs; other games cancelled.
DIVISION 1B: Fleetwood 2 72 (J Waterhouse 5-40, C Lynch 3-16) lost to Blackpool 2 145-9 (A Lewin 36no) by 73 runs, Kendal 2 118-7 (W Price 37, P Whittle 3-54) lost to Great Eccleston 2 192-5 (W Turnbull 75no) by 36 runs, St Annes 2 149 (Y Passi 40, T Speake 5-54, A Cooke 4-35) lost to Garstang 2 150-2 (M Winstanley 70no, T Wells 43) by eight wickets
DIVISION 2: Norcross 153-6 (M Griffiths 60no) beat Eccleston 2 150 (A Brooks 57, V Kumar 51, M Stewart 4-49, R Thomas 3-31) by four wickets, Torrisholme 2 142 (L Bamber 40, S Laycock 5-23) lost to Wrea Green 145-7 (B Hall 30, J Heap 4-65) by three wickets, Gregson Lane v Thornton Cleveleys 2 cancelled.
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