Longridge title hunt hots up

Rory McDowell of Longridge Cricket Club who took five wickets
Rory McDowell of Longridge Cricket Club who took five wickets

Longridge first XI thrashed a recently rejuvenated Fylde side by 109 runs to ensure they are still in the chasing pack for the Palace Shield Premier Division clash title last weekend.

James Fairclough’s 77 runs fired Longridge to a total of 188 for five on the Fylde coast and bowler Rory McDowell bagged five wickets as the visitors bowled out Fylde for 79 runs.

The result leaves Longridge just six points behind league leaders Vernon Carus and three behind second place Great Eccleston.

Captain Ian Simpson lost the toss and Longridge were invited to bat on a bowler friendly pitch and in bowler friendly conditions.

The decision to bowl first by Fylde captain Crawforth looked a good one as danger man Dan Wilkinson Jnr was caught in gully in the first over for just four runs.

At four for one this brought Fairclough to the crease to join Josh McDowell.

And it didn’t take Fairclough long to get into his stride and rediscover his form from two weeks previous at BAC Preston where he struck a fine 50.

With some aggressive stroke play and powerful hitting he complemented McDowell perfectly, who played his normal game at the other end and anchored the innings tremendously.

Fairclough was the man to take the game to the opposition – taking the Fylde bowling attack to the cleaners and hitting the ball to all parts of the ground.

With the score on 135 and after what looked like it would be a match winning partnership of 132 with McDowell, Fairclough perished for a very impressive 77.

Longridge then stuttered a little, losing three quick wickets with the new batsmen trying to get going quickly on a difficult pitch to do so.

After a short rain delay and losing three overs of their innings Longridge finally finished on 188 for five from 42 overs with McDowell unbeaten with a fine 69.

Longridge came out to bowl fancying their chances on a pitch with plenty of moisture still left in it for the bowlers.

The Fylde top order came out all guns blazing and in particular Stephen Wright but Longridge knew that their chance would come sooner rather than later.

At 29 for nought off just five overs Matt Greenall clean bowled Wright with a yorker and set Longridge on their way.

Captain Simpson took himself out of the attack after just two overs – introducing the ever impressive McDowell who scuttled the opposition on a pitch that was right up his street.

McDowell was the man to get Wright’s opening partner McMillan plumb in front of all three stumps. This signalled the start of a huge collapse from the Fylde batting line up.

From 50 for two they found themselves on 61 runs for seven wickets. They finished on 79 all out with Longridge using only 23 of their 42 overs to bowl the opposition out.

McDowell once again finished with great bowling figures of five wickets for 27 runs from 10 overs.

And he was backed up well by captain Simpson who finished with three wickets for 27 from nine overs.

Vernon Carus host Great Eccleston this weekend whilst Longridge host local rivals and fourth place Garstang down at the Newsham Memorial Ground.

A spokesman for the club said: “It is a 1pm start and all support is welcome to back the boys in their title hunt.”