Dixon’s men hold aces in title battle

Eddy Read in action for Northern League leaders Morecambe against St Annes last week
Eddy Read in action for Northern League leaders Morecambe against St Annes last week
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Morecambe play host to Chorley tomorrow as they look to cement top spot in cricket’s Northern League.

After a spell at the summit earlier in the campaign, Josh Dixon’s side regained the leadership last week with a five-wicket win over St Annes.

Wicketkeeper Lewis Edge struck an unbeaten 92 as Morecambe successfully chased a target of 179-9.

Chorley visit Woodhill Lane licking their wounds after an eight-wicket loss to Blackpool.

Only one of their batsman hit double figures as they were dismissed for just 39.

Darwen – on Morecambe’s coat-tails in second place – host Lancaster.

Leyland, who have hit some decent form of late, go to third-placed Fleetwood.

Preston are back in action against Kendal at West Cliff, having been forced to forfeit last week’s game at Penrith as they could not raise a side.

Meanwhile, Garstang skipper Ian Walling wants his side to enjoy the challenge of attempting to keep a grip on top spot of the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield.

In what is developing into one of the tightest title races for a good while, the Riverside club went to top last week after victory at Croston.

They leapfrogged Great Eccleston who lost to third-placed Freckleton.

Just two points separate the top three and there promises to be more twists and turns over the next nine weekends.

Walling said: “It’s very tight at the top and there is a lot of cricket to be played.

“We need to treat each game as a cup final but I want us to enjoy being at the top. We’ve worked hard and now we’re up there.

“If we keep playing the way we are then there’s no reason why we cannot keep winning and hopefully we will be at the top come the end of the season.”

Garstang’s win over Croston saw a century in both innings.

Stephen Langton struck an unbeaten 107 for Croston, Michael Walling spearheading Garstang’s reply with 109 not out.

That knock earned praised from brother and skipper Ian.

“I thought Michael batted very well,” said Walling.

“A few weeks ago he made a decision to wait for the balls that played to his strength.”

Garstang play host to Fylde tomorrow, with Great Ecc at home to Croston.

Freckleton make the trip to Fulwood and Broughton.

Longridge, in fourth place, are still very much in the title race too.

They are 11 points behind the leaders and welcome Thornton Cleveleys to Chipping Road tomorrow.

After Saturday’s league games, the Palace Shield stages its Twenty20 Finals day on Sunday.

Great Ecc’s Hall Lane is the venue, with the action starting at 11am when Leyland face Fulwood and Broughton in the first semi-final.

The hosts then take on Garstang at 2pm, with the final at 5pm. Coloured kit will be worn by the teams, with a pink-coloured ball in use.

FIXTURES

NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE: Blackpool v Barrow, Darwen v Lancaster, Fleetwood v Leyland, Morecambe v Chorley, Netherfield v St Annes, Preston v Kendal.

PALACE SHIELD PREMIER DIVISION: BAC/EE Preston v Penwortham, Fulwood and Broughton v Freckleton, Garstang v Fylde, Great Eccleston v Croston, Longridge v Thornton Cleveleys, Vernon Carus v Hoghton.