`

Longridge closing in on Palace Shield crown

Neil Holden top-scored with 73
Neil Holden top-scored with 73

Longridge took a large step towards the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division title at the weekend.

They beat Thornton Cleveleys in a high-scoring game at Illawalla on a day when their title rivals Lancaster lost against Great Eccleston.

After asking their hosts to bat first, Longridge saw Thorntons compile 227 all out for their 45 overs.

Opener Jon Eade led the way, hitting a dozen fours and two sixes as he top-scored with 81, backed up by skipper Daniel Howard (71) and Joshua Sackfield (34).

Eade and Howard were both dismissed by Daniel Wilson on his way to figures of 5-49.

Although Longridge lost John Simpson (13) relatively cheaply, their other top order batters got on with the job in hand.

Neil Holden top-scored with 73 and Zac Christie added 51 before both fell victim to Sackfield, who followed his efforts with the bat by claiming 2-65. There were also two wickets for Oliver Vincent (2-61) as he got the better of James Fairclough (36) and Tom Howarth (0).

However, James Whitehead’s undefeated 30 saw Longridge to victory as they reached 229-5 with eight balls remaining.

That win, as well as Lancaster’s loss, sees Longridge 18 points clear with three games left, starting with Saturday’s home match against fourth-placed Croston.

That was the day’s only highlight for Longridge as their other four teams were all beaten.

The seconds went down by eight wickets after being skittled for 72, the thirds were 85 all out chasing White Coppice’s 140, the fourths saw Fylde surpass their 135-6 with only one wicket down, while the fifths lost to Blackpool.