A superlative spell of bowling from Croston captain Lee Childs turned the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division title race on its head at the weekend.
The opening bowler took 8-25 off just 12.2 overs as his men caused a huge upset by thumping league leaders Vernon Carus at Factory Lane by 68 runs.
Chasing 128 for victory, Vernons had no answer to Childs as they were skittled for a paltry 59 inside 24 overs.
Jonathan Driver chipped in with two wickets as Vernons’ highest scorer was skipper Christian Ash with just 16. Earlier, a well crafted half-century from Stephen Langton enabled the visitors to post 127-7. Ben Llewellin took 3-31.
Fulwood and Broughton and Garstang took advantage of Croston’s surprise win to move within a handful of points of the leaders.
F&B enjoyed a hard-fought two-wicket win over Whittingham and Goosnargh at Highfield.
The visitors were looking set for a below par score with only Harun Patel mastering the conditions with 47. However, a quick-fire half-century from skipper Sheeraz Polli – batting at No.10 – helped push the score to 168 all out.
In reply, F&B’s successful run chase owed much to a fine unbeaten 71 from Richard Turner.
Garstang maintained their title interest thanks in the main to an excellent bowling display against Torrisholme at Boundary Meadow.
After winning the toss and electing bat first, Garstang struggled to contain Jeff Stobbart (4-40) and Graham David Lee (4-29) with the ball. Mark Walling’s 32 helped the visitors push the score to 112 all out.
Torrisholme found the batting conditions equally as difficult and were dismissed for 83. Ryan Wells and Ian Walling both took three wickets apiece.
Longridge enjoyed an empahtic win over Penwortham at Middleforth Green. Alex Mason took 5-34 as the home side were bowled out for 100.
In reply, the visitors raced to victory inside 25 over overs for the loss of one wicket. James Whitehead (34) and Daniel Wilkinson Junior (47 not out) were the main run scorers.
Elsewhere, a century from Mohamed Nadeem helped reigning champions Great Eccleston crush Thornton Cleveleys by 90 runs, while 4-22 from Danny Gilbert helped Freckleton dismiss Fylde for 71 as they chased 104 for victory.
Meanwhile, Garstang will face Vernons in the final of the Meyler Cup. Mark Walling’s men got the better of Division One outfit Eccleston, while Vernon Carus edged Thornton Cleveleys in a high-scoring contest.