Battle developing at Palace summit

Vernon Carus opener Wes Royle in action against Garstang
Vernon Carus opener Wes Royle in action against Garstang
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It is tight at the top of the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division with just eight points separating the top four.

The leadership has changed hands again, with Great Eccleston now top of the pile after a seven-wicket win over Withnell Fold.

Longridge’s victory over Fylde moved them up to second spot, with defending champions Vernon Carus on the same number of points in third place.

At Factory Lane, Vernons beat Garstang, who had gone into the weekend as leaders.

It was Garstang who won the toss and asked their hosts to bat first.

Opener Wes Royle hit a steady 24 for Vernons, with Paul Chapman the top scorer with 37 – his knock featured two sixes and three fours.

Christian Ash contributed 35 as Vernons closed on 188-7 in their 45 overs.

Ian Walling took 3-46 for the visitors with Michael Walling posting 2-48.

In reply, four of Garstang’s upper order were removed by Ben Llewellin who finished with figures of 5-58.

Gary Fawcett, batting at six, steadied the ship with an unbeaten half-century, with Mark Winstanley hitting 33.

But they fell short of their target, finishing on 152-8 to give Vernons a 36-run win.

Peter Whittle and Mohamed Nadeem were the stars of Great Eccleston’s away-day win over Withnell Fold.

Whittle took 8-23 to help dismiss the home side for 88.

Great Ecc chased down their target for the loss of three wickets, Nadeem striking an unbeaten 51.

Longridge were in fine form with the bat and ball as they beat Fylde by 70 runs at the Newsham Memorial Ground.

They put a formidable 223-6 on the board and then bowled out the visitors for 153.

Longridge’s decision to bat first proved sensible, with Luke Platt hitting a fine 82 after coming in at number four.

Opener Joshua McDowell had struck 60, with Tom Howarth adding 32.

Fylde were 153 all out in reply, with Ian Simpson and Howarth claiming four wickets apiece.

Paul Hogarth and Daniel Smith both hit 31 for Fylde, with David Crawforth adding 24 but Longridge’s total proved far out of reach.

BAC/EE Preston clinched a one-wicket win over Fulwood and Broughton.

F&B were put in to bat and were 127-8, Charlie Rossiter top-scoring with 55 and Richard Turner adding 23.

There were three wickets for John McKeever (3-38), with Danny Wilcock posting 2-40.

In reply, BAC/EE chased down their target in 43.5 overs, last pair McKeever and Thomas Wilson guiding them over the line.

Jonathan Hothersall had scored 28, Thomas Wilcock 27 and Jamie Skeoch 22.

Freckleton won by eight wickets against Whittingham and Goosnargh at Bush Lane.

Jamie Hogarth took 5-40 and Joshua Holden 4-26 as the hosts bowled out W&G for 75, Rizwan Riaz scoring 18.

An unbeaten 33 from James Whitehead helped Freck make a successful chase, with Holden 13 not out.

Thornton Cleveleys were two-wicket winners against Penwortham at Illawalla.

Batting first, Thornton put 161-6 on the board.

They then restricted their visitors to 159-9 to clinch the points.