Morecambe are the new Northern Cricket League champions.
Josh Dixon’s men secured the title with one game of the season to spare thanks to an easy victory over rock-bottom Preston on Saturday.
It is the first time they have won the title since 2006 and Morecambe now take an unassailable 26-point lead over second-placed Darwen into the final weekend of the season.
The men from Woodhill Lane were always odds-on to be crowned champions at the weekend as they faced Preston, who have not registered a win all season. Dixon: “It feels fantastic. I honestly couldn’t have dreamt of anything like this in my first year as captain.
“We would have been quite content with top six and pushing for the top four. So to win it and win it with a week to spare is awesome.”
After winning the toss, Morecambe racked-up 220-2 off their allotted 45 overs. Suraj Randiv top scored with 82 and Mark Woodhead also hit a half-century.
In reply, the home side were skittled for 58, with Edward Read taking 4-25 and Randiv returning figures of 3-12.
Leyland have had a strong second half of the season and they leapfrogged Penrith into fifth-place with victory over the Cumbrians at Fox Lane.
After electing to field first, skipper David Makinson’s decision looked to be the wrong one as Nicky Burns (55) and Michael Slack (67) enjoyed an excellent opening partnership.
But Leyland were able to pick up wickets at regular intervals once the top two departed to slow the run rate down.
Paul Hindmarch (46) gave the innings impetus towards the end as Penrith closed on 199-7. Luis Reece took 3-47.
Reece then ensured Leyland always held the upper hand in reply as he carried his bat to finish unbeaten on 106.
Richardt Frenz hit a half-century as the home side reached their victory target for the loss of six wickets.
After their early season good form, Chorley have dropped down the table in recent months and they suffered a narrow loss against Lancaster at Lune Road on Saturday.
After James Lee (4-29) had helped restrict the home side to 146-7 off 50 overs, Chorley were dismissed just four runs short of victory.
At one point they looked like they were heading for a heavy defeat, but an excellent late order partnership of Edwin Moulton (30) and Keiran McCullagh (41) dragged them back into the contest. But a late burst from Iain Burstow (3-28) sealed Lancaster’s win.
Elsewhere, second-placed Darwen kept Morecambe honest at the top of the table by beating Netherfield at Birch Hall.
John Cordingley hit 92 of the visitors’ score of 256-7.
In reply, Richard Potter hit a magnificent 131, but Netherfield were all out for 224. David Bowden took 6-41.
Kendal could only muster 66-9 off 36.3 overs in their game against Barrow at Shap Road. Daryl Wearing took 6-12 and Barrow raced to victory inside 14 overs, with 10 wickets to spare.
In the final match of the weekend, Fleetwood were well beaten by St Annes at Broadwater.
David King’s half-century helped the home side post 164-9, with Matthew Grindley taking 6-64. Fleetwood were unable to take a wicket in St Annes’ reply as Adam Holt smacked a brilliant century.