An outstanding bowling display from father and son Keith and Sam Marsh handed Croston the edge in the race for promotion from the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division.
Adam Sexton’s men thrashed Preston by 115 runs at West Cliff on Saturday – dismissing the hapless home side for just 15 as they chased 131 for victory.
The opening bowling pair took five wickets each as Croston moved to second in the table – four points above Morecambe, who slipped up at Great Eccleston.
It was Preston who won the toss and elected to insert the visitors. Sam Marsh top scored with 36 while Ian Dickinson chipped in with 31 as the visitors posted 130-7.
That was cue for the carnage to begin as home side’s card resembled the Olympic flag with no fewer than five ducks.
The highest scorer was Jitendra Kumar, who was unbeaten on four.
Morecambe’s hopes of an immediate return to the Northern League Division One were dealt a blow after their six-wicket loss against GreatEcc.
In a rain-reduced match, the visitors smashed 121-5 off 21 overs . Skipper Ryan Pearson striking a quick-ire 37.
However, they could not stem the flow of runs in the home side’s reply as Will Thistlethwaite’s run-a-ball 58 ensuring Great Ecc cruised to victory.
Lancaster continued their march towards the league title thanks to a comprehensive victory over bottom side Fylde at Lune Road
With just four games of the season left, the leaders are all but assured of promotion, 35 points clear of third place.
Despite Usama Abrar’s 6-41, Lancaster still managed to post 145-9 thanks in the main to Charlie Swarbrick’s 48.
In reply, Fylde were routed for 39 off 18.1 overs. Liam Moffat the destroyer-in-chief, taking 7-9. Vernon Carus leapfrogged above Eccleston into fifth by winning the contest between the two at Factory Lane.
Jack Barker (46) was the shining light for the visitors in their total of 114 all out. Liam Banfield (4-19) was the stand-out perfomer with the ball.
In reply, Vernons cruised to victory for the loss of four wickets. Jamie Rigby was unbeaten on 36.
South Shore are up to fourth in the table after a comfortable win over New Longton, who are still deep in relegation trouble.
Sajid Nalbandh struck 36 at Mad Nook but the visitors could only muster 92 all out thanks to 5-30 from Nathan Bolus, who then struck 42 to guide the hosts home with six wickets in hand.
Penwortham handed their survival hopes a real boost with a comprehensive win away at Standish. Ian Walmsley Junior hit a brilliant century and Maji Rajdeep struck 44 as the visitors posted 239-9.
Skipper Ashley Billington took 6-27 as Standish were bowled out for 116 from 30.1 overs.
Leyland are in pole position to lift the Northern League Division One title for the first time since 2016.
David Makinson’s men extended their lead at the top to 14 points at the weekend with just four games of the season to go.
A winning draw over Netherfield and defeat for nearest challengers Garstang means Leyland have a firm grip on top spot. It was a solid batting display which gave Leyland the platform for success at the weekend.
Knocks of 42 and 47 from Karl Cross and professional Saif Badar respectively enabled them to post 197-7. Isaac Medhurst took 4-55.
In reply, Netherfield dug in but they were 42 runs short of victory after 50 overs despite having five wickets to spare. Josh Dixon hit 47 and Ben Barrow was unbeaten on 50.
Derby rivals Chorley did Leyland a favour by crushing Garstang at Windsor Park.
Pro Punit Bisht struck a half-century but the rest of his team-mates, bar Naqib Rahman (24), floundered as the vistors were all out for 109. Chamikara Edirisinghe took 4-31.
Keiran McCullagh then top scored with 32 as Chorley cruised to victory off 33.2 overs with six wickets to spare.
Longridge had Australian overseas ace Lachlan Bangs and their bowlers to thank for their win at Kendal, who are staring down the barrel of relegation.
Despite being three wickets down with only one run on the board, the visitors recovered to post 94 all out thanks to Bangs’ superb 62 off 66 balls. Toby Tyson took five wickets.
Jonathan Millward (3-26) and Daniel Wilson (3-7) then took centre stage – ably supported by Matt Greenall and Ian Simpson – as Kendal were all out for 53.
Fulwood and Broughton swept aside bottom side Barrow at Highfield.
Despite Dineth Thimodya Hewathanthre’s 7-46, F&B still managed a competitive total of 160 all out thanks largely to Matthew Smith’s 62.
Professional Simon Kerrigan then took 5-27 and Jon Fenton 3-40 as Barrow were dismissed for 109 despite Toby Mowat’s fine half-century and skipper Daryl Wearing’s 32.
Third-placed Fleetwood look out of the title race after they succumbed to neighbours St Annes at Vernon Road.
Despite no batsman moving past 30, the hosts still managed to post a competitive total of 165-9. Neels Bergh took 4-48.
Rana Singh (42) and Keegan Armstrong (53) batted well in reply, but they were not supported as Fleetwood were all out for 133. Amar Ullah took 5-38 and Tom Higson 4-43.
Blackpool were 20 run winners over Penrith at Tynefield Park. Chasing 155 for victory, Ockert Erasmus took 5-43 as the hosts were dismissed for 134.