Shield champions hailed by skipper

Richard McCutcheon took four scalps for Vernon Carus
Richard McCutcheon took four scalps for Vernon Carus
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Vernon Carus are the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division champions once again.

Paul Chapman Jr’s men made it a hat-trick of league titles thanks to a resounding victory over fierce rivals Penwortham at Middleforth Green on the final weekend of the season .

The newly-crowned champions were pushed all the way for the title by Longridge, who were ready to take advantage of any slip-up by Vernons.

In the end, Longridge’s win over Great Eccleston on Saturday proved immaterial as they finished six points off the top in the final standings.

Delighted title-winning captain Chapman said: “It’s fantastic to win the league.

“Beating Penwortham at Middleforth Green – it’s a nice place to go and win the league.We went there and did the job.

“Obviously there was nothing on the game for them but both teams are always up for it when we play each other and Saturday was no different.

“They wanted to stop us from winning the league.”

Chapman admitted his men were pushed all the way this season by Longridge and Great Eccleston.

“We knew it was going to be tougher this year than in previous seasons,” he said.

“But we won the close games that mattered and I think in the last few games, experience came into it, no doubt.

“We have a lot of lads who have been there and done it.”

Chapman sees no reason why his men cannot continue to dominate in the future.

He said: “I am sure other teams will be stronger next season but we have young lads coming through in our second and third teams who are pushing the lads in the first teams. That’s going to make us stronger.”

Vernons were never in trouble against Penwortham after they elected to bat first and posted 186-8.

Ian Dunn top scored with 44, while Andrew Sidgreaves and Neil Patel both took three wickets apiece.

In reply, Penwortham were routed for 113 inside 34 overs, with Richard McCutcheon taking 4-17 and Paul Hayton 3-32

Longridge’s comprehensive 93-run win over Great Ecc was built around two excellent knocks by James Fairclough (70) and Daniel Wilkinson Jr (57).

They helped the men from Chipping Road close on 198-8 and, in reply, Great Ecc were dismissed for a paltry 105.

Skipper Ian Simpson was the executioner-in-chief once again, taking 5-58.

Only Mustaq Mohammed offered any sort of resistance as he scored 31.

Bottom side Withnell Fold were unable to sign off from the top division with a win as they well beaten by Fulwood and Broughton.

The already-relegated team have not won a game all season and there would be no change of fortune at Highfield on Saturday, especially after Mark Smith had plundered an unbeaten 134 in F&B’s mammoth first innings total of 237-2. Mathew Rosebotom also hit a half-century.

In reply, Khalid Valimulla hit a fine 55 for Withnell but his team were dismissed for 165 off 34.4 overs.

In other matches, fourth-placed Garstang finished the season strongly thanks to a three-wicket win over Freckleton.

Thornton Cleveleys were six-wicket victors over Whittingham and Goosnargh, while Fylde thrashed BAC/EE Preston by nine wickets.