Defending a paltry 74 all out, Vernons almost pulled off an unlikely victory as they took eight of the visitors wickets.
However, Preston’s opening batsman Imran Jethva held firm to guide his team to victory thanks to a match-winning knock of 42.
The victory – their first of the season after losing their opening four league games – saw Preston move out of the relegation places to fourth from bottom.
Earlier, in treacherous batting conditions, Vernons had found the going tough as the visitors’ attacks made full use of the bowler friendly conditions.
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Jethva showed his all-round skills by returning figures of 3-23, with Rizwan Patel (3-12) and Imran Patel (2-24) also among the wickets.
Jamie Rigby was the league leaders highest run scorer with 18 as they collapsed to 74 all out inside 20 overs.
If Preston thought they had done all the hard work then they were to be very much mistaken as a calamitous batting display threatened to swing the pendulum back in the home side’s favour.
Four run outs and two wickets apiece for Jacob Holland and Joe Allen took Vernons to the cusp of victory but Jethva stayed calm to seal a superb win for the strugglers.
Penwortham moved back into second spot with a nail-biting one-wicket win over at Great Eccleston at Middleforth Green.
In weather affected match, Matthew Moat hit 46 as the visitors closed 114 all out off 20 overs. Salar Butt hit 20 and Jack Armer returned superb figures of 5-14 off just four overs.
Jim Proctor (3-30) and Alexander Rhodes (4-28) bowled Great Ecc back into contention.
Ian Walmsley Junior hit 32 and Ed Duckworth 27, but the visitors took wickets at regular intervals.
When Armer departed for 12, Pen lost their ninth wicket and still required nine runs for victory.
The tenth-wicket partnership Cameron Fish (2 not out) and Thomas Wilson (3 not out) saw Pen through to victory on the final ball.
Elsewhere, Kirkham and Wesham brushed aside bottom side South Shore by 21 runs at Mad Nook.
The visitors batted first and made 109-9 off 25 overs. Jack Mansfield top scored with 25 and Ashley Perera took 3-17.
In reply, the home side were all out for 88 with Andrew Hogarth taking 3-17. Antony Wilson and Jamie Hogarth chipped in with two wickets apiece.
All the other matches in the Palace Shield all fell foul to the weather.
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