Tight at the top in Shield glory battle

Alex Mason was the pick of Longridge's bowlers in defeat to Garstang
Alex Mason was the pick of Longridge's bowlers in defeat to Garstang
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The Moore and Smalley Palace Shield title race is set for a nail-biting finale.

Wins for Great Eccleston, Freckleton and Garstang kept them firmly on the front foot with just two matches left.

Longridge suffered a setback with defeat at Garstang but are still in the hunt.

Great Ecc stayed top of the pile thanks to a four-wicket win over Vernon Carus.

Put in to bat, Vernons were 177-9 with opener Ian Dunn top-scoring with 56.

Richard White performed well with the ball for the visitors, taking 5-37, Jon Jefferies posting 3-43.

In reply, Great Ecc chased down their target in the 42nd over, scoring 180-6.

James Thistlethwaite scored 47, Mohammed Nadeem 26 and Oliver Parkinson 24.

Freckleton closed to within a point of Great Ecc thanks to a seven-wicket victory over Penwortham – a result which delivered maximum bonus points.

Penwortham elected to bat first on their Middleforth track after winning the toss but went on to struggle.

They were dismissed for just 71, Andrew Sidgreaves the one batsman to make it into double figures with a knock of 15.

The wickets were shared out between five Freck bowlers, Jonathan Millward and Michael Rigby taking three apiece.

Freck reached their target inside 19 overs, an unbeaten 33 from Ashley Moreau helping them to 74-3.

It was a close-run affair at the Newsham Memorial Ground, Garstang beating Longridge by nine runs.

Asked to bat first, Garstang put a challenging 210-8 on the board.

Opening pair Michael Walling and Tom Wells were in good form, building the foundations for victory with knocks of 67 and 45 respectively.

Consistent scoring down the order kept the scoreboard ticking along.

Alex Mason was the pick of the Longridge bowling attack, returning 6-70.

The hosts fell just short in their chase despite a fine century from Luke Platt.

He finished unbeaten on 100 as Longridge closed on 201-9 to fall just short.

Fulwood and Broughton won by 91 runs at BAC/EE Preston.

Solid upper-order batting helped F&B put 175-9 on the board, Charlie Rossiter scoring 48 Matthew Rosbottom 34 and Matthew Smith 33.

They then bowled out BAC’EE for 84 in 35 overs.

Arab Munir took 6-26 in a 10-over spell, with Richard Tunrer, Jon Fenton and Usman Sadaqat also among the wickets.

Croston won the battle of the bottom two, beating Hoghton by five wickets.

Hoghton elected to bat first and were 110 all out.

That was despite a solid enough start which saw opener Darren Eccles score 26, while Sam Haydock hit 21

The middle and lower order fell cheaply though as Croston’s attack got on top.

Keith Marsh claimed 4-17, while there were two wickets apiece for Sam Marsh, Simon Marsh and Jonathan Driver.

Croston knocked off the runs inside 34 overs, closing on 111-5 to claim victory.

Sam Marsh scored 43 with Jack Marsh unbeaten on 24.

Fylde were 35-run winners against Thornton Cleveleys at Illawalla, David Crawforth hitting 83.

A Northern League record went tumbling at the weekend as Christi Vijoen hit the highest individual score.

The Blackpool professional struck 227 in Saturday’s clash with Preston at Stanley Park.

Vijoen crashed 11 sixes and 24 fours on his way to the double ton which came off just 156 deliveries.

The league’s scoring record had been held by Atif Ashraf and Nick Kruger.

Ashraf hit an unbeaten 208 playing for Darwen in 2007, while Kruger struck the same three years later when playing at Netherfield.

Vijoen’s display with the bat could not deliver victory for Blackpool though, with Preston holding out for a draw.

Set a target of 349-6 to chase, the visitors stubbornly held out to close on 186-3.

Vijoen, who hails from Namibia, came in at four with Blackpool struggling to find their rhythm.

Over the next 166 minutes, he hit 35 boundaries, his first 100 coming off 98 balls and the second off just 49 deliveries.

Andrew Starkie was to eventually bowl Vijoen, with Blackpool choosing to bat on for their full 50 overs rather than declare.

The expectation was that Preston were facing a heavy defeat, such has been the torrid summer they have endured.

They lost opener Shabnan Ali for a duck with just four on the board.

Fellow opener Sajid Patel stayed around to hit 35, his knock helping push the score along to 63-2.

Gurman Bains and Rehman Shah both got scores in their 60s, Bains hitting 61 and Shah unbeaten on 69.

Shah was joined by Miya Ahmed Lunat, the pair staying at the crease to see out the game and claim only Preston’s second draw of the season.

Saturday’s action saw a 37-run win for Morecambe over Darwen.

Put in to bat, Morecambe were 153-9, Suraj Randiv the top scorer with 31.

Randiv and Edward Read then put in fine performances with the ball to dismiss Darwen for 106 inside 43 overs.

Randiv returned figures of 5-25, with Read claiming 4-55.

Leyland enjoyed their visit to Cumbria, beating Netherfield by 97 runs.

Batting first, David Makinson’s men were 201 all out, overseas player Richardt Frenz hitting two sixes on his way to a knock of 66.

Henry Thompson, batting at five, struck a half-century.

Luis Reece, more often in the headlines for his batting, starred with the ball.

The Lancashire man took 7-42 in 17 overs, ripping through the home side’s top and middle order.

Netherfield were 104 all out, skipper Makinson polishing off the last two wickets.

Chorley’s clash with Kendal at Windsor Park finished in a rare tie. Kendal were 112-9 with Chorley 112 all out in reply.