Leyland became the new leaders on bank holiday Monday after they defeated Darwen at Fox Lane.
David Makinson’s men took full advantage of previous leaders Blackpool’s slip-up at Fleetwood to move 11 points clear at the top of the table.
With Paul Danson’s men boasting a game in hand, the title race appears set to be decided on the last weekend of the season when the two rivals meet each other at Stanley Park.
A fantastic bowling performance from Ross Bretherton set Leyland on the way to victory over Darwen.
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The first-change bowler ripped through the visitors’ card – taking superb figures of 6-13 off just seven overs.
Only John Cordingley (23) and skipper Mark Friend (17) reached double figures as Darwen were skittled for just 77 inside 35 overs.
In reply, Leyland cruised to victory for the loss of seven wickets off just 21.5 overs. Henry Thompson finished unbeaten on 27.
Despite having Lancashire’s Steven Croft in their line-up, Blackpool were unable to get the better of derby rivals Fleetwood at Broadwater.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, the visitors were soon in trouble as Adam Parker picked up three early wickets.
Croft held firm with the bat, but his team-mates were unable to cope with some excellent bowling from the home side, particularly from South African sub-professional Daryn Smit.
He finished with 4-23, including trapping Croft in front for 44 as Blackpool were dismissed for 98 inside 38 overs. The visitors handed themselves a lifeline with three quick wickets in Fleetwood’s reply, but Parker (53) stood firm at one end and it was Patrick Ashton (21 not out) who guided the home team to victory.
Preston’s good season continued as they brushed aside Penrith at West Cliff.
Muhammad Mursaleen top scored with 30 as Preston posted 139 all out. Greg Hall took 5-65.
In reply, the visitors were undone by Andrew Starkie (4-32) and Nazar Hussain (5-36) as they were routed for 77. Chorley enjoyed a comprehensive victory over St Annes at Vernon Road.
The home side were all out for 99 with Keiran McCullough taking 5-49. An unbeaten 40 from Nekoli Parris saw Chorley home with just over two overs to spare.
Elsewhere, Morecambe enjoyed a convincing eight-wicket win over Lancaster at Lune Road. The home side were restricted to 153-9, which was comfortably passed by the visitors. Saeed Anwar Junior finished unbeaten on 82.
Netherfield had a 51-run winning draw over Kendal at home after posting 239-6. The vistors closed on 188-7.