A magnificent century by Alex Ross ensured Leyland emerged victorious in their derby encounter at Chorley.
The Australian professional cracked a superlative unbeaten 112 off just 131 deliveries as the visitors edged to victory on the final ball of the match with just three wickets remaining.
While Ross hit the ball to all parts of the Windsor Park ground – finding the boundary rope on 12 occasions and hitting three sixes – his team-mates found it difficult to add runs as they chased Chorley’s decent total of 176-9.
Only 17 runs were scored by Ross’s fellow members of the top six as the home side’s bowlers were able to tie up one end.
They were unable to stop Ross scoring freely and he kept his cool to guide his team home as the match reached a nailbiting climax.
Earlier, Chorley elected to bat first and despite Ian Dickinson’s circumspect 34, they appeared to be heading for a low score as Steven Pellett took 3-22.
However, Keiran McCullagh added some fresh impetus to the run rate lower down the order as he blasted an entertaining 59 from just 52 balls, including five fours and four sixes.
The win keeps Leyland in second spot in the Northern League – just three points behind Darwen.
However, the top two will be anxiously looking over their shoulders at St Annes – especially if former England star Andrew Flintoff continues to play for them this season.
The Preston-born all-rounder, who is planning to feature for Lancashire this season in the T20 Blast, came out of retirement at Vernon Road on Saturday in St Annes’ victory over Penrith.
He took 3-26 from 12 overs – including the dismissal of top scorer Paul Hindmarch (65) – as Penrith were bowled out for 132.
St Annes made heavy weather off their run chase as they lost eight wickets, including Flintoff (below) for just two.
But Lukman Vahaluwala’s fine 76 off just 70 balls guided the home side to victory inside the 29th over.
Preston slumped to second from bottom in the table as they were well beaten by Lancaster at Lune Road.
Saeed Bariwala and Soyeb Kapadia each took three wickets as Lancaster were bowled out for 183. Charlie Swarbrick top scored for the home side with 43.
In reply, the visitors were routed for 106 inside the 44th over. Only Jibran Khan offered any resistance as he carried his bat through the innings to remain unbeaten on 57. Preston’s sorry card contained five ducks, with only two other batsman able to muster double-figure scores.
Elsewhere, leaders Darwen enjoyed a 39-run win over Fleetwood, while Blackpool and Kendal enjoyed victories over Netherfield and Barrow respectively.
Adam Senn was in no mood for wasting energy as he played a pivotal role in Garstang’s away victory over Whittingham and Goosnargh in the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division.
The batsman managed just seven scoring strokes during his 50-ball knock at Guild Park – so it was a good job he managed to clear the boundary rope on six occasions.
Senn did not sprint 22-yards once for any of his 40 runs as his other scoring shot went for four.
The big-hitting batsman certainly steadied the nerves for the visitors after they lost three early wickets chasing the home side’s lowly score of 110 all out.
Senn was given able support from Alex Rawlinson (29) and Ian Walling (24) as Garstang reached their victory target for the loss of five wickets inside the 26th over.
Earlier, Imran Jethva top scored for Whittingham with 26, while Ian and Michael Walling impressed with the ball taking 3-25 and 4-19 respectively. The win ensures Garstang stay in third spot – nine points behind leaders Vernon Carus.
The reigning champions enjoyed a convincing win over Thornton Cleveleys at Factory Lane.
It was the bowlers who did the damage as the visitors were dismissed for just 88 in the 39th over.
Only two batsmen reached double figures – Joe Allen took 4-20, while Ben Llewellin chipped in with 3-35.
Ian Dunn (39 not out) cracked six fours and one six as he guided Vernons home with seven wickets and more than 24 overs remaining.
Longridge maintained their excellent start to the season with an emphatic nine-wicket win over BAC/EE Preston at Chipping Road.
The wickets were shared around as the visitors were routed for just 95.
Only John Mounsey managed to trouble the bowlers with 32.
In reply, Daniel Wilkinson Jr blasted an unbeaten 70 as the home side raced to victory inside 16 overs.
Penwortham enjoyed a terrific home win over Fylde with Sam Rukin the star of the show as he took 7-11 as the visitors were bowled out for just 78.
The home side wobbled during their run chase – losing six wickets – but they eventually passed the finishing line in the 26th over.
In the other two matches to take place at the weekend, James Fiddler hit 67 as Freckleton defeated Withnell Fold by 61 runs in a low-scoring contest.
And Great Eccleston stayed second thanks to a 57-run victory away at Fulwood and Broughton.