Champions lose grip on top spot

Jack Aspden hit 103 for Penwortham
Jack Aspden hit 103 for Penwortham
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Great Eccleston soared to the top of cricket’s Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division after a tight victory over defending champions Vernon Carus.

In what was a high-scoring encounter, it was the batsmen who enjoyed the conditions at Hall Lane as both teams posted totals of 200-plus.

However, it was Great Ecc who emerged victorious as Vernons suffered their first defeat of the season – falling seven runs short of the home side’s imposing score of 242-8.

Oliver Parkinson and Mohamed Nadeem were the mainstays of Great Eccleston’s innings, with the former striking 11 boundaries and two sixes before falling just three runs short of a deserved century.

He was ably assisted by Nadeem, who struck 62 from 51 balls.

Vernons made a good fist of their reply as Ian Dunn (37), Christian Ash (48) and Paul Chapman Jr (35) batted well.

But in the face of some good bowling from Jim Proctor (4-62), the visitors closed on 235-9. Garstang moved into second sport – level on points with Vernons – after an excellent win over Longridge at the Riverside.

Andrew Fletcher cracked an unbeaten half-century and Ian Walling (45) added some late order runs as the home side posted 189-7.

In reply, Longridge were routed for 115, with Adam Senn impressing with the ball, taking 4-19.

Freckleton are within strking distance of the leading group after they timed their run chase to perfection to defeat Fylde by five wickets.

David Crawforth hit a brilliant century for Fylde as they were dismissed for 179 – Jamie Hogarth taking 7-77.

James Whitehead (42) and Andrew Hogarth (43) top-scored for Freckleton in reply as they reached their victory target with five balls to spare.

Penwortham enjoyed convincing 98-run win over basement boys Withnell Fold at Middleforth Green. Jack Aspden hit 12 fours and two sixes on his way to a century as the home side posted 212-4. In reply, Withnell were dismissed for 114.

Whittingham and Goosnargh enjoyed an emphatic 95-run win over BAC/EE Preston after Sheeraz Polli and Hussain took four wickets apiece to bowl BAC/EE out for a paltry 107.

Elsewhere, Mark Smith’s knock of 70 was not enough for Fulwood and Broughton as they were beaten by Whittingham and Goosnargh, who had Jordan Relph (68) to thank for helping them overhaul F&B’s total of 193-9.