Meyler Cup final glory for Vernons

Vernon Carus' Tony Knight in the Meyler Cup final against Thornton Cleveleys
Vernon Carus' Tony Knight in the Meyler Cup final against Thornton Cleveleys
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Vernon Carus are the Meyler Cup winners after a battling 18-run victory over Thornton Cleveleys in the final at BAC/EE Preston.

The reigning Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division champions may be well off the pace in terms of defending the league title, but they ensured more silverware for the club on Sunday.

After winning the toss, Thornton elected to put their opponents in to bat and they soon found success with Taylor Cornall (4-29) and Daniel Howard (3-17) impressing with the ball.

Ian Dunn was the standout performer with the bat for Vernons – his watchful half-century helping his team to 135 all out in the final over.

In reply, Thornton’s batsmen were handcuffed by some disciplined bowling by their opponents.

Only Rob Dingle (38) found success with the bat as Thornton struggled to keep up with the run rate and they eventually closed on 117-7.

Meanwhile, Freckleton are the new leaders of the Premier Division after they enjoyed a comprehensive victory over previous leaders Garstang.

Ian Walling’s men dropped to fourth in the table as Longridge and Great Eccleston moved above them into second and third respectively.

However, there is still all to play for as only nine points separate the top four with four games of the season left to play.

Garstang’s batting display proved to be their downfall as they were routed for 118 inside 38 overs, with their middle order contributing just seven runs between them.

Opener Michael Walling scored more than half of his side’s runs, hitting eight boundaries in a knock of 60. Danny Gilbert took 4-32 and Joshua Holden 4-12. In reply, Freckleton cruised home for the loss of one wicket inside 33 overs. Holden struck a brilliant 73, which included 11 boundaries and one six.

Great Eccleston had to bat well to get the better of Fulwood and Broughton after Matthew Smith’s unbeaten century helped F&B close on 189-9.

Mustaq Mohammed’s men then lost three early wickets in reply, but Will Thistlethwaite (60 not out) and Ashfaque Patel (49) guided Great Ecc to victory for the loss of five wickets.

Longridge maintained their title interest with a comprehensive win over Vernons at Chipping Road.

After winning the toss and electing to field first, the home side soon had the reigning champions in trouble with Tom Howarth (3-8) impressing with the ball.

Chasing a lowly 104 for victory, Longridge had no problems as they reached their target with nine wickets in hand. Joshua Holden (39) and Howarth (38) enjoyed an unbroken stand for the second wicket.

At the other end of the table, BAC/EE Preston won the relegation battle with Hoghton at the Riverside.

BAC/EE amassed 220-6 with Jonathan Hothersall hitting a brilliant unbeaten 126. In reply, Hoghton were all out for 160 with Hothersall taking four wickets.

Bottom side Croston kept their survival hopes alive with victory over fourth-bottom Fylde.

In the final match, Thornton Cleveleys got the better of Penwortham at Illawala.

There will be no silverware in Leyland’s trophy cabinet at the end of this season after they were beaten in the final of the Readers Cup by Darwen on Sunday.

David Makinson’s men – who are well out of the Northern League First Division title race – looked like they were on course for victory at Fox Lane.

Openers Luis Reece (60) and Chris Parkinson (50) enjoyed a century stand for the opening wicket as Leyland chased Darwen’s first innings total of 197-4.

However, once Parkinson and Lancashire star Reece were sent back to the pavilion, Leyland collapsed to 190 all out – Andrew Makinson (23) was the only other batsman to reach double figures.

Earlier, Darwen’s total owed much to a fine 80 from South Africa star Daryn Smit, while Christopher Clarke chipped in with 46.

Meanwhile, the destiny of the league title is firmly in Morecambe’s hands as they defeated Fleetwood.

Josh Dixon’s men have now moved clear at the top of the table – 14 points ahead of Darwen with a game in hand while third-placed Blackpool are four points further back.

The defending champions could only manage a losing draw against Leyland and were leapfrogged by Darwen, who were five-wicket victors over rock-bottom Preston.

Morecambe were made to work by Fleetwood, who compiled a reasonable total of 189-5 thanks to Tom Wilson’s excellent 79.

In reply, Morecambe reached their victory target comfortably with seven wickets to spare as Gareth Pedder hit a brilliant unbeaten century and Suraj Randiv cracked 52 off just 59 balls. Preston’s season continues to go from bad to worse as they were routed for a paltry 49 at West Cliff.

Darwen’s Daniel Salpietro was the star of the show as he took 5-17.

In reply, the home side threatened a big shock as Darwen’s top five were all dismissed without reaching double figures.

Afzal Kapadia took three wickets and it was left to David Bowden (16 not out) to steady the ship for the visitors.

Elsewhere, Rameez Raja struck a superlative 109, including three sixes and 10 fours, as Lancaster posted 232 all out against Netherfield. However, Raja’s efforts were to be in vain as knocks of 79 from Marc Brown and John Huck helped Netherfield to victory by five wickets.

Barrow enjoyed a comprehensive win over lowly St Annes after totalling 210 all out in their innings. Sam Dutton top scored with 72 and Matthew Taafe returned figures of 4-50.

In reply, Gary Collins took 8-45 as St Annes were dismissed for 124.

In the final game, Penrith cruised to a seven-wicket victory over Kendal at Tynefield Park.