Morecambe on brink of title win

Morecambe skipper 'Josh Dixon

Morecambe skipper 'Josh Dixon

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Morecambe Cricket Club can wrap up the Northern Premier League title with victory at bottom side Preston tomorrow.

Josh Dixon’s side are 19 points clear of Fleetwood in second after a bank holiday weekend that saw them pick up stunning wins over Darwen and rivals Lancaster.

With reigning champions Blackpool to come on the final day at Woodhill Lane, Dixon is keen for his side to wrap up a first title since 2006 at the earliest opportunity.

He said: “We need to treat it like any other game.

“Yes Preston are bottom and they are struggling but we’ve got to show them the respect they deserve.

“Looking at it though, we won’t get a better opportunity.

“We just need to be professional and try and get it done on Saturday so it doesn’t go down to the final day.”

Last weekend was one to savour for Morecambe.

Darwen started the weekend as the Woodhill men’s nearest challengers but were beaten by 37 runs.

Then an emphatic nine-wicket win for Morecambe in the bank holiday derby with Lancaster pushed them to within touching distance of the league crown.

Dixon said: “It couldn’t have gone any better. It was the perfect weekend really.

“The win against Darwen was huge and then to go to Lancaster on Monday and win so emphatically was fantastic.

“I couldn’t have asked any more from the players.”

Fleetwood, the nearest challengers to Morecambe, host struggling St Annes.

Darwen, in third place, have a home game against Netherfield.

Lancaster host Chorley at Lune Road, while Leyland welcome Penrith to Fox Lane.

While the destiny of the Northern League title is in little doubt, the race for glory at the top of the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield is going down to the wire.

Great Eccleston go into the penultimate weekend of the campaign with a one-point lead at the summit over Freckleton.

Garstang and Longridge are still in contention in third and fourth place too.

In tomorrow’s fixtures, Great Ecc host Penwortham at Hall Lane.

Freck are at home too, with BAC/EE Preston the visitors to Bush Lane.

If both sides win, the title race will be decided on the final day.

Garstang, 10 points behind the leaders, will look to keep their hopes alive in a home clash with Hoghton.

Their skipper Ian Walling has not given up on the title even if it would take a big swing to see that happen.

Walling said: “There are 10 points between us and the team at the top.

“That is quite difficult with two games to go. It is going to be tough but we will try and win our last two games and see where we end up.”

There is a trip to Fylde for Longridge, who have 11 points to make up on Great Ecc.

Fixtures

NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE: Darwen v Netherfield, Fleetwood v St Annes, Kenald v Barrow, Lancaster v Chorley, Leyland v Penrith, Preston v Morecambe. Blackpool no game.

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