Palace Shield: Morecambe win the race for promotion

Sam Marsh's wickets proved to be in vain for Croston's promotion bid
Sam Marsh's wickets proved to be in vain for Croston's promotion bid

Morecambe have returned to the Northern League Division One at the first time of asking.

Ryan Pearson’s men won the race to the final promotion spot in the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division – beating Croston to second place by two points.

The villagers certainly gave their illustrious opponents a run for their money and kept their side of the bargain by beating 
Eccleston at home on the final day.

However, Pearson’s men held their nerve – comfortably beating Standish by six wickets at Woodhill Lane.

That result condemned Standish to relegation. They dropped into the second tier with New Longton, with Fylde completing the great escape with a remarkable low-scoring win over Great Eccleston.

Morecambe’s victory was set up by Tommy Clough 
(5-41) and Jamie Cassidy (3-20) as Standish were bowled out for 120. Usman Khushnood scored 53.

In reply, the home side cruised to victory with 18 overs to spare. Lewis Smith struck 38 and Ryan Pearson hit 49.

The father and son opening bowling team of Keith and Sam Marsh were in top form for Croston as they took four wickets apiece to rout Eccleston for 85.

Sam then scored 35 as 
Croston raced to victory for the loss of four wickets off 21.5 overs.

Fylde began the weekend in bottom spot but finished it out of the danger zone after a crazy game at Hall Lane.

The writing appeared to be on the wall for the visitors when they were routed for 76. Jim Procter took 5-31.

However, Usama Abrar 
(5-14) and Anthony Ellison (4-38) produced a brilliant bowling display to dismiss Great Ecc for just 68.

That result saw New Longton finish bottom after thy were well beaten by Vernon Carus at Chapel Lane.

Home captain Ben Simpkins struck 62 to help his men post 151 all out. Ben Thomas took 4-39 and Liam Banfield chipped in with 3-31.

In reply, Vernons cruised to victory for the loss of six wickets with Daniel Cairns (46 not out) and Wes Royle (36) the top scorers.

Champions Lancaster finished the season unbeaten – but only just, after a 
one-wicket win over Preston at West Cliff. Liam Moffat took 7-42 as the hosts were all out for 80.

However, Asif Mahmood (5-25) and Muhammad Nauman (3-28) almost took Preston to a famous victory. The visitors scraping home thanks to Lee Marshall’s unbeaten 31.

In the final match of the weekend, Penwortham were well beaten by South Shore at Mad Nook. The visitors were all out for 112 and the hosts reached their target inside the 39th over.