St Annes stayed top of theFurness Building Society Northern Premier Cricket League (incorporating Readers Cricket Balls) Division One table after they emerged victorious by 3 wickets from an enthralling low scoring encounter against third placed Netherfield in round 20 of the 2011 season. Defending champions Leyland were able to reduce St Annes' lead at the top of the table to 10 points after they secured a maximum 15 victory at Lancaster. On a day when rain affected all but one of the Division One fixtures, there were also wins for Carnforth, Darwen and Morecambe. The game between Kendal and Chorley was abandoned with no result, each side taking four points.
At Vernon Road, Netherfield were in early trouble as St Annes opening attack of Ben Dowling and Ben Willis reduced the Cumbrian visitors to 13 for 3 having been asked to bat first. In the absence of regular professional Dinuk Hettiarachchi, St Annes employed New Zealander George Worker as deputy professional. The Kiwi, who has appeared for Scotland this season in the Clydesdale Bank 40 over competition, proved to be a more than able deputy for Hettiarachchi, as he produced a masterful spell of left arm finger spin to reduce Netherfield to 63 for 8.
Some stoic resistance from youngster Ben Barrow who made 25, allowed Netherfield to reach 110 all out in 38.3 overs. Worker finished with 6 for 38 and was aided by some outstanding fielding by the home side, with skipper Andy Kellett leading the way with two superb catches. After the tea interval Netherfield showed tremendous character as they tried to defend their total. Australian professional Ben Laughlin bowled with pace and hostility to take 3 for 44 from 16 overs and was ably backed up by Stuart Nixon who took 2 for 28 including the key wicket of former Pakistan test batsman Atiq Uz-Zaman.
For St Annes youngster Nathan Bolus stood up to all that Netherfield could throw at him with a brave innings of 25 from 72 balls, but his dismissal reduced the home side to 81 for 7. However wicketkeeper Duncan Whalley (20 not out) and captain Andy Kellett (6 not out) shared a match winning partnership of 31 to guide St Annes to a 3 wicket victory.
Defending champions Leyland took 15 points from a 96 run victory over Lancaster at Lune Road. The visitors batted positively to reach 210 for 3 when rain intervened after 38.5 overs, causing Leyland captain David Makinson to declare his sides innings closed. Adam Coates made 74 (67 balls, 8 fours, 1 six) on his return to the side after a month out with a hand injury. Leyland professional Brett Pelser continued his good recent form making 59 not out (9 fours).
The Lancaster reply was upset by an excellent spell of left arm swing bowling from Luis Reece who took 5 for 29 from 13 overs. Reece picked up the keys wickets of Lancaster's captain Michael Stevens, professional Dwyane Hees and veteran David Heywood to reduce the home side to 51 for 6. Youngster Alex Metcalfe and stalwart Ben Simm offered stout resistance for Lancaster until both were undone by leg spinner Tayyab Afsar who justified his recall to the Leyland first team with 4 for 20.
History was made at West Cliff were club captain Lukman Vahaluwala broke the Preston amateur bowling record previously held by Geoff Hill who took 65 wickets in the 1971 season. When Vahaluwala caught and bowled Danny Welbourne for the final wicket in his figures of 4 for 38, he moved to 66 wickets this season. Unfortunately Vahaluwala's efforts could not stop Preston falling to a crushing 118 run defeat at the hands of a Morecambe side that completely dominated the game.
Despite the early loss of captain Mark Woodhead, Morecambe recovered well to post 180-8 with a fine fifty from Josh Dixon and good support from the Cumberland pair of Ikram Ullah and Chris Williams. In reply Preston had no answer to the pace bowling of Morecambe professional Anwar Ali who bowled with pace and movement to take 5 for 39, including four wickets clean bowled. Preston were dismissed for 62 with only Vahaluwala (22) making double figures. The Preston captain also has Doug Green's amateur club record of 754 runs in sight as he moved to 650 runs for the season.
Darwen recorded their second 15 point victory of the season with a fine 55 run win over Blackpool at Birch Hall. The home side made 156 for 8 in a game reduced to 35 overs per side. Mohammad Zaman Khan batted with no little skill to make 47 in difficult conditions and England U17 star Alex Davies made 30. Con De Lange and Steven Mercer each took 3 wickets for the visitors, but they were hampered by an injury to all-rounder Richard Gleeson that forced him to withdraw from Cumberland's Minor Counties match against Hertfordshire starting on Sunday. In reply Blackpool lost both their opening batsman early to Kamran Anwar, but staged a fight back through professional De Lange (48) and Andy Furniss (22). However disciplined seam bowling from Anwar, Niall Burke, Neil Cordingley and Chris Wade helped Darwen dismiss Blackpool for 101 in 30.3 overs.
Carnforth climbed one spot in the table with a 7 wicket victory over Fleetwood at Lodge Quarry. New signing Naved Yousef top scored for the visitors with 48 and Mike Clinning made 37 before Fleetwood's innings was closed after 33 overs at 165 for 5 due to rain. Ryan Nelson and Darren Moore made a positive start to the Carnforth run chase before Moore was caught by Sam Bell off the bowling of Clinning for 40.
Carnforth professional Gareth Pedder also played positively to make 46. Nelson finished unbeaten on 69, his seventh league fifty of the season, to guide his side home. For Fleetwood young off spinner Kieran McGann was the pick of the bowlers with 2 for 30.
St Annes (203 points from 20 games) now lead Leyland (193 points from 19 games) by 10 points. Netherfield have 175 points from 20 games, With Chorley (164 points from 19 games) in fourth and Morecambe (158 points, 19 games) in fifth.
In Division 2 Blackpool's veteran opening batsman Adrian Darlington had cause for celebration as he passed David Bartholomew's second team club batting record of 729 runs in a season. The popular Darlington has now made 746 at an average of 46.6 in Division 2 and may yet have his sights on Gulam Maje's division record of 1005 runs set in 2006. Darlington made a superb 76 in his sides total of 182 for 7 and received fine support from his fellow opener Nicky Wall who made 49 in their match at home to Darwen. Gary Jackson's side had no response to a fiery spell of pace bowling from Harrison Clark who destroyed the visitors for 77 all out on his way to career best figures of 8 for 30.
There was no change at the top of Division 2 as leaders Leyland and second placed Chorley both recorded 12 point victories, but did so in contrasting circumstances. Chorley bowled Kendal out for 55 at Windsor Park with swing bowler Chris Harty taking 7 for 39. Chorley had no problems in chasing the target for the loss of just one wicket. It was different story at Fox Lane where Leyland dismissed Lancaster for 98, Steven Pallett taking 4 for 29. Lancaster made life difficult for their hosts as the fought hard in the field to reduce Leyland to 30 for 5, before the home side snuck home at 99 for 7.
Preston came away from Woodhill Lane with a winning draw in a thrilling game against Morecambe. In a match reduced to 40 per side Preston made 170-9 with Amer Abbas top scoring with 58. Nick Milner took 6 for 45 with his left arm spin for Morecambe. Despite an innings of 64 from Phillip Dennison Morecambe fell agonisingly two runs short of their target to finish on 169-9. Youngster Kit Patel underlined his potential with 5 for 46 for Preston.
Fleetwood moved up to seventh in Division 2 with a six wicket victory over Carnforth, Wayne Clarke's side bettering Carnforth's 146 all out for the loss of 4 wickets.
Results, Round 20, 6 August 2011
Carnforth vs Fleetwood
Carnforth (12 points) defeated Fleetwood (2 points) by 7 wickets
Fleetwood 165-5 (Yousef 48)
Carnforth 167-3 (R. Nelson 69no, Pedder 46, D. Moore 40)
Darwen vs Blackpool
Darwen (15 points) defeated Blackpool (2 points) by 55 runs
Darwen 156-8 (Mohammad Zaman Khan 47)
Blackpool 101 all out (De Lange 48)
Kendal vs Chorley
Match abandoned (4 points each)
Lancaster vs Leyland
Leyland (15 points) defeated Lancaster by 96 runs
Leyland 210-3 declared (Coates 74, Pelser 59no)
Lancaster 114 all out (Reece 5-29, Afsar 4-20)
Preston vs Morecambe
Morecambe (15 points) defeated Preston (2 points) by 118 runs
Morecambe 180-8 (Dixon 56, Ullah 41, Vahaluwala 4-38)
Preston 62 all out (Anwar Ali 5-39)
St Annes vs Netherfield
St Annes (12 points) defeated Netherfield (2 points) by 3 wickets
Netherfield 110 all out (Worker 6-38)
St Annes 112-7
Blackpool vs Darwen
Blackpool (15 points) defeated Darwen (2 points) by 105 runs
Blackpool 182-7 (Darlington 79, Wall 49)
Darwen 77 all out (Clark 8-30)
Chorley vs Kendal
Chorley (12 points) defeated Kendal by 9 wickets
Kendal 55 all out (Harty 7-39)
Fleetwood vs Carnforth
Fleetwood (12 points) defeated Carnforth (1 point) by 6 wickets
Carnforth 146 all out
Leyland vs Lancaster
Leyland (12 points) defeated Lancaster (2 points) by 3 wickets
Lancaster 98 all out (Pallett 4-29)
Leyland 99-7 (K. Moffat 4-26)
Morecambe vs Preston
Preston (9 points) winning draw over Morecambe (6 points)
Preston 170-9 (Amer Abbas 58, Milner 6-45)
Morecambe 169-9 (Dennison 64, Kit Patel 5-46)
Netherfield vs St Annes
Match abandoned (4 points each)