It’s ever so tight at the top of cricket’s Northern Premier League after Blackpool won away to high-flying Fulwood and Broughton, while Fleetwood suffered a shock defeat to Chorley on a day the six away teams all won.
READ MORE: Pathway to the top at Fleetwood Cricket Club
It means last week’s top two, Fleetwood and Fulwood, both slide four places, though only nine points separate the six teams in the top half.
Guest professional Ockert Erasmus made a massive impact for Blackpool in his first NPL match since 2017, the South African unbeaten on 66 as the visitors overhauled Fulwood’s 163-6 for a three-wicket win at Highfield which lifts Paul Danson’s side two places to third.
The hosts chose to bat and were going well at 76-1, though this became 82-4 when captain Mark Smith was out for 48, the opener falling to Matt Siddall who took 4-38 from his 17 overs.
This brought Charlie Rossiter to the fore as he propelled the hosts to a challenging total, scoring 57 from 62 balls with three fours and as many sixes, and leading an unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 44.
But his batting feats were then overshadowed by Erasmus, whose unbeten 66 from 114 balls included seven fours.
He had entered the fray with Blackpool rocking at 7-2, both wickets taken by Jon Fenton on his way to 4-31 from nine overs.
Fulwood were the favourites as the reply stumbled to 90-6 but Erasmus’ stand of 43 with wicketkeeper Ben Howarth then turned the tables before the professional saw Blackpool home in tandem with Matt Grindley (23no) at 164-7 with four overs remaining.
Chorley had won only one game before stunning Fleetwood with a five-wicket success at Broadwater.
The hosts chose to bat but no major innings or partnerships ensued as they were dismissed for 116 in 45.1 overs, Chamikra Edirisinghe claiming 4-33 from 16.1 overs and Adam McCullagh 3-25 off six.
Five Fleetwood players reached 15 but none could go on to 20 as opener Rana Singh and Adam Sharrocks both fell for 19.
Chorley then wrapped up victory at 120-5 with 4.5 overs unused.
Home professional George Linde removed three of the the top four cheaply enough on his way to an excellent 3-22 from 17 overs, but wicketkeeper Harry Barclay came in at number five with an unbeaten 46 and completed the victory in tandem with Edwin Moulton (22 not out).
Fleetwood fall to fifth but are only seven points behind new leaders Leyland after a weekend which saw the top four all pass the 100-point mark.
St Annes are way back on 36, and climbing off the bottom with two bonus points was little consolation to the NPL’s only winless side after 10 rounds.
They lost by four wickets to Garstang at Vernon Road on Saturday, their total of 152 insufficient.
Richard Staines’ side could not get the better of the Garstang bowling, despite Mohamed Nadeem’s battling 42, as Ian Walling, Travis Pieters and Punit Bisht all claimed three wickets.
Garstang then reached their target comfortably enough, totalling 153-6 in 38.2 overs as Bisht completed his fine day with 55.
Other results: Barrow 121 lost to Penrith 122-3 by seven wickets, Kendal 102 lost to Netherfield 103-4 by six wickets, Longridge 86 lost to
Blackpool and St Annes are through to the quarter-finals of the Lancashire Cricket Federation Knockout.
Blackpool were emphatic nine-wicket winners at Leyland, where the hosts chose to bat and were dismissed for 115 with four balls of their 45 overs remaining, Tomas King taking 4-15 from 8.2 overs.
The visitors lost just one wicket in reaching 116 in 34.5 overs a the Stanning Memorial Ground as Matt Houston carried his bat for 43 and Ciaran Johnson added 47, both hitting seven fours.
St Annes still can’t buy a league win but they continue to impress in this competition with an 85-run home win over fellow Northern Premier League strugglers Barrow.
Tom Higson captained St Annes and gave them a solid start with 55 from 43 balls, hitting nine fours.
Ben Reader topped that with 57 from 34 balls (four fours and three sixes) and there were solid contributions by Amar Ullah (46 from 44) and Mohamed Nadeem (42).
The Cumbrians were then dismissed for 167 in 41.4 overs despite a captain’s knock of 47 by Glen Kermode. Lucas Miller saw off the tail for figures of 4-32 after Nadeem took 3-23.
Both Fylde coast clubs are away in the quarter-finals on July 14, when Blackpool visit Darwen and St Annes head to Netherfield.
Lytham struggled to put up any resistance at New Brighton, who won their top v bottom clash in the Liverpool Competition by a comfortable eight-wicket margin.
Lytham chose to bat at Rake Lane but could only muster 114 from 43.4 overs.
Opener Edwin Fiddler took the fight to Lytham’s high-flying hosts with 37 from 28 balls (seven fours) but after he was third out with the total on 48 the wickets fell regularly.
Matt Taaffe came in at 72-5 and made a patient 28 not out but nobody could stick with him as the tail was polished off by the outstanding David While (5-33 off 17.4) and Ashraf Nawab (3-33 off 17).
New Brighton sealed the victory which left them second in the ECB premier league in 21.4 overs.
Skipper Andrew Clarke wasted no time in wrapping up the win at 118-2 as he fired 53 off 44 balls (seven fours and three sixes) in an unbroken third-wicket stand of 86 with While (31 not out).
Lytham remain at the foot of the table, two points behind Colwyn Bay, while New Brighton trail leaders Bootle by 25.
An all-Fylde final in the Palace Shield’s Meyler Cup remains a possibility after South Shore and Thornton Cleveleys won through to the final four.
Shore defeated Shield leaders Lancaster by 62 runs at Mad Nook, dismissing the visitors for 98.
The hosts had set a target of 160-6 as Luke Jardine hit seven fours and a six in his 64.
Mitch Bolus removed all of the Lancaster top four on his way to 4-28, while Amjad Mehmood claimed 4-19 off 6.4 overs.
Thornton Cleveleys got the better of Torrisholme by 16 runs in a high-scoring Illawalla clash. The hosts reached 230-7 after being put in as Joshua Sackfield led the way with 41, all scored in fours bar one single. The Torrisholme reply fell short at 214-8.
The Fylde was denied a third club in the semis as Great Eccleston lost by five wickets at Mawdesley.
Ecc chose to bat and were all out for 152 in 39.1 overs at Rectory Field, where the hosts polished off the runs in 32 overs.
Mawdesley will visit Thornton Cleveleys in the semi-finals on July 14, while South Shore head to Croston, who defeated Pemberton by 106 runs.
South Shore won Saturday's Palace Shield derby at home to Fylde by seven wickets and climbed into the top half of the premier division.
Shore are now just one point behind an Eccleston side beaten by 18 runs at Great Eccleston, for whom Joe Davies scored a half-century.
Jon Eade piled up a superb 128 for Thornton Cleveleys as the division 1A leaders hammered Withnell Fold.
TC are six points clear at the top, with a game in hand on second-placed Kirkham and Wesham, for whom Stephen Wright’s 11 fours and four sixes in an unbeaten 81 helped put hosts Grimsargh to the sword. Anthony Harrison took 5-17 from nine overs.
Ian Davies took seven wickets for winless bottom club Norcross in defeat to Tarleton.
MOORE AND SMALLEY PALACE SHIELD PREMIER DIVISION: Great Eccleston 181 (J Davies 56, T Wilkinson 5-42 )beat Eccleston 163 (A Norris 40, J Procter 4-36, P Booth 3-35) by 18 runs, South Shore 116-3 (L Jardine 37) beat Fylde 115 (M Bolus 3-19) by seven wickets, Croston 167-4 beat Standish 165-7 by six wickets, Morecambe 294-3 beat Vernon Carus 141 by 153 runs, Preston 221-9 beat Penwortham 174 by 47 runs.
DIVISION 1A: Grimsargh 104 (M Blackburn 44, A Harrison 6-17) lost to Kirkham and Wesham 211 (S Wright 81no, D Gerencser 4-34) by 107 runs, Norcross 112-8 (R Thomas 34, M Parkinson 3-28 ) lost to Tarleton 152-8 (J Eldridge 57no, I Davies 7-53 ) by 40 runs, Thornton Cleveleys 292-5 ( J Eade 128, D Howard 57 no) beat Withnell Fold 105 (J Newman 5-15 ) by 187 runs, Hoghton 73 lost to Torrisholme 74-2 by eight wickets, Mawdesley 99 lost to Whittle and Clayton-le-Woods 219-7 by 120 runs.