Palace Shield promotion race going down to the wire

Sam Owen (photo: Tony North)
Sam Owen (photo: Tony North)

The pursuit for the second promotion spot in the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield is going down to the last two matches of the season.

Lancaster already have the title wrapped up and beat second-place Morecambe by six wickets on Saturday.

But Croston failed to take advantage of Morecambe’s slip, with them losing against Vernon Carus.

Just two points separate Morecambe and Croston, with Preston 14 points shy of second spot.

Eccleston, in fifth, are 21 points behind Morecambe and mathematically still in it.

Lancaster made the short trip to Woodhill Road to face Morecambe and put another 12 points on the board.

Electing to bat first, the hosts were 155 all out with most of their runs coming high up the order.

Opener Sam Owen hit 52 and skipper Ryan Pearson, batting at three, scored 54.

Charlie Swarbrick and Nathan Whitehead both took four wickets for Lancaster.

The visitors knocked off the runs in 39 overs, posting 156-4.

Whitehead top-scored with an unbeaten 51, Steven Fisher weighing-in with 48.

Vernon Carus were three-wicket winners at Croston, that a second defeat on the spin for the home side.

Croston had first use of the Westhead Road track and were 153-9 in 37 overs.

Sam Marsh struck 55 off 67 balls, hitting two sixes and five fours. Jack Marsh hit 31.

There were three wickets apiece for Matthew Timms and Joe Allen.

Vernons put 154-7 on the board to claim victory.

Consistent scoring through the order saw them successfully chase.

Ben Duerden scored 36 and Craig Cameron 27.

Preston beat Fylde by 50 runs at West Cliff to stay in the promotion hunt.

Batting first Preston were 131 all out, Suhel Patel hitting 38 and Nawazish Ali 35.

In reply, visitors Fylde were 81 all out.

Ali followed up his knock with the bat by taking 4-15, with skipper Muhammed Nauman claiming 3-24.

Eccleston won their clash with South Shore at Mad Nook by 56 runs.

They were 186 all out after being asked to bat first, Adam Norris hitting 51.

Thomas Wilkinson then took 4-37 to help Eccleston bowl out their hosts for 130. Penwortham beat New Longton by 77 runs, helped by a fine unbeaten knock of 89 from Nipun Madaan.

Batting at six, Madaan hit seven sixes and six fours.

It helped the visitors put 199-6 on the board, with New Longton dismissed for 122 .

Ashley Billington took 5-39 for Penwortham.

Defeat leaves New Longton with work to do to escape the bottom two.

Great Eccleston won their game with Standish by nine wickets. After bowling out the hosts for 83, Great Ecc were 84-1 in reply.