Great Ecc’s Shield of dreams

Croston's Keith Marsh faces the bowling of Jon Roebuck
Croston's Keith Marsh faces the bowling of Jon Roebuck
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Great Eccleston are the new champions of the Moore and Smalley Palace Premier Division.

Victory on the final afternoon of the campaign at BAC/EE Preston guided the Hall Lane outfit over the winning line.

It is the third time Great Ecc have won the title, this their first triumph since 2008.

The result at the Riverside had a big effect at the other end of the table too, with BAC/EE relegated.

Croston’s win at Penwortham saw them leapfrog BAC/EE and clinch survival.

Great Ecc had gone into the weekend needing just three points to get their hands on the Shield.

They elected to bowl first and restricted BAC/EE to 169-6 in 43 overs.

Jonathan Hothersall top-scored for the home side with a knock of 64, Hussain Yusuf adding 25.

Mohamed Nadeem took 3-42 and Jim Procter 2-48 for the visitors.

In reply, Great Eccleston chased down their target by the 41st over, posting 173-5.

Opener Adam Green struck 57, with Ashfaque Patel scoring 23 and Will Thistlethwaite 27 further down the order.

It was Thistlethwaite who scored the winning runs to spark the celebrations.

Croston took advantage of the defeat for BAE/CC by booking themselves a second season in the top flight.

They beat Penwortham by 49 runs at Middleforth Green.

Asked to bat first, Croston put a commanding 203-9 on the board thanks to some strong scoring in the upper order.

Sam Marsh clubbed three sixes and six fours on his way to a knock of 58, with Lee Childs hitting 32.

Adam Sexton scored 30 and Simon Marsh 25.

Penwortham were 154-9 in reply, Phil Chapple finishing unbeaten on 60.

The runners-up slot went to Garstang despite their 60-run defeat at Vernon Carus.

Vernons batted first and were 222-6, Wes Royle among the runs at the top of the order with 64.

Skipper Christian Ash weighed in with a rapid-fire 73 off 50 balls, his knock including three sixes and eight fours.

Garstang were dismissed for 162 in reply, Iam Walling their top scorer with 52.

Finishing third were Freckleton, who had been in the title race right up to the wire.

Their season finished on a losing note though, beaten by 57 runs by Thornton Cleveleys at Illawalla. Thornton were 178 all out after being put in, Freck dismissed for 121 in reply.

There was defeat too for fourth-placed Longridge at Fulwood and Broughton.

Batting first, Longridge were 132 all out, James Whitehead top scoring with 60.

There were five wickets for F&B’s Arbab Munir, with Olly Jackson taking 2-4.

F&B chased down their target in 33 overs, putting 133-5 on the board, Charlie Rossiter scoring an unbeaten 40.

Hoghton’s stay in the top flight ended on a winning note, as they beat Fylde by 29 runs at Smithy Brow.