A brilliant performance from 18-year-old Indian prodigy Sarfaraz Khan helped Preston complete the double over reigning Northern League Division One champions Morecambe.
The youngster scored a brilliant unbeaten 97 – a knock which included 10 fours and a six – to guide Sajid Patel’s men to an excellent seven-wicket win at Woodhill Lane.
Khan, who is an India Under-19s international and has appeared in the IPL, is currently in the UK on a cricketing visa, but has been unable to play for much of the summer due to injury.
Back to full fitness, Khan agreed to turn out for Preston as a sub-professional last weekend after an enquiry from chairman Younis Patel.
It is set to be his only appearance for the club however, as he is due to return home this week.
“We wanted him as our sub-pro for the rest of the season, but he’s going back home so this will be his only game for us,” Patel said.
Preston have been without a recognised professional all season and have been deprived of the services of two overseas amateurs, who have been denied visas to play in the UK.
Despite that, the team is on on course for a mid-table spot after finishing rock bottom last season.
Morecambe are in danger of suffering the ignominy of finishing at the foot of the table just 12 months after they were crowned champions.
After winning the toss, the home side posted a sizeable 184-9 after electing to bat first. Their total owed much to a fine half-century from Ryan Pearson.
After losing both openers for ducks, Preston’s reply gathered momentum as soon Khan arrived at the crease. He was given some excellent support by Mustafa Durrani, who struck an excellent 51, as the visitors coasted home inside the 39th over.
Leyland kept their title hopes alive with a comprehensive victory over Lancaster at Fox Lane.
Will Jacques (4-44) and Ross Bretherton (3-10) were the main wicket takers as Lancaster were dismissed for a lowly 101. In reply, Leyland cruised to victory with Henry Thompson (33 not out) top scoring.
Leyland remain in third spot on the same number of points as Fleetwood, who crushed Chorley at Windsor Park.
Five wickets from Travis Dean and four from Adam Parker saw the home side slump to 62 all out. Fleetwood raced to victory in 19 overs, with Tom Wilson hitting 32 not out.
Leaders Blackpool remain 18 points clear at the top after they secured a winning draw over Kendal at Shap Road.
Daryl Mitchell struck a half-century as the visitors posted 189-7. Four wickets from Chris Baines and three from Daniel Pile limited Kendal to 149-9 in reply.
Barrow are 20 points behind the leaders after they enjoyed a 44-run win over St Annes at the Ernest Pass Memorial Ground. Toby Mowat struck 71 as Barrow posted 151 all out. Daryl Wearing took 5-27 as St Annes were dismissed for 107
Elsewhere in the Northern League, Darwen thrashed Netherfield by 131 runs. Shaun Von Berg struck 89 as Darwen posted 201-7.
He then took four wickets as Netherfield were routed for 70, with David Bowdon (5-16) also impressing with the ball.
Fulwood and Broughton’s win over Thornton Cleveleys kept them top of the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield.
They beat Thornton by six wickets at Highfield, a half-century from Charlie Rossiter proving key.
After winning the toss, F&B asked their visitors to bat first and proceeded to bowl them out for 151.
Jon Fenton and Richard Turner took three wickets each, Turner removing Daniel Howard who was Thornton’s top scorer with 29.
F&B chased down their target in 40.1 overs, Rossiter’s knock of 56 featuring seven fours.
Turner and Sam Berry came together to see their side home, the pair unbeaten of 31 and 25 respectively.
Vernon Carus got back to winning ways with a six-wicket victory over neighbours Penwortham.
Penwortham elected first use of their Middleforth track and put a decent 190-4 on the board, Martin Hewitt and Jack Aspden enjoying significant knocks.
Hewitt was unbeaten on 79, hitting six sixes and six fours, with Aspden scoring 64 at the top of the order.
Wes Royle led the visitors’ victory charge, scoring 84 not out – 10 fours and two sixes coming off his bat.
Royle and Ian Dunn shared a second-wicket stand of 69, with Dunn hitting 46.
Ian Walling’s unbeaten 96 helped Garstang to a thrilling one-wicket victory at Great Eccleston.
Great Ecc were 174 all out after batting first, James Thistlethwaite scoring 72.
Ahead of his fine display with the bat, Walling took 4-49.
In reply, Gartsang lost early wickets cheaply, Mark Winstanley the only batsman in the top-six order to make double figures – 31.
Walling came in at seven and his big hitting carried the visitors to victory.
In the battle of fifth versus fourth, Freckleton got the better of Longridge.
They won by 73 runs in the Bush Lane clash and had a century hero in Joshua Holden.
The Freckleton skipper hit 119 off 141 balls, scoring seven sixes and 11 fours – helping the hosts to 206-7.
Alex Mason eventually removed Holden, one of three wickets for him.
Longridge were 133 all out, Danny Gilbert taking 4-34.
Croston were seven-wicket winners over Whittingham and Goosnargh.
They bowled W&B out for 103 and chased down their target with three wickets down.
Torrisholme beat Fylde by 96 runs, Chris Parry hitting 98 not out and Daniel Woods 86 as they posted 203-2.
Fylde were 107 all out in reply.