Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier League
The Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division title race is hotting up with nine games of the season to go.
Just 10 points separate leaders and reigning champions Vernon Carus from fourth-placed Garstang.
Sandwiched in between those two are Longridge and Great Eccleston, in second and third respectively.
Garstang were the biggest winners of the day as they hammered bottom side Withnell Fold by 122 runs at Higher Wheelton. Michael Walling was the star performer as he hit a brilliant century for the visitors as they declared on 254-5 after 40 overs. Mark Winstanley hit 35 and Ian Walling struck an unbeaten half-century.
Will Proctor then took centre stage with the ball as he took 5-38 as Withnell were bowled out for 132. Josh Cunliffe top scored with 28.
The big shock of the weekend was Great Eccleston’s dramatic loss to mid-tableThornton Cleveleys at Illawalla.
After deciding to bowl first, Thornton had the visitors in early trouble as they were reduced to 37-3. Will Thistlethwaite and Oliver Parkinson both hit 35 as Great Ecc recovered to 168 all out.
In reply, the home side looked on course for a comfortable victory as Richard Jenkinson (41) and Daniel Howard (55) led them to within sight of victory.
However, with just 12 runs needed for the win, Thornton lost four wickets for just one run. It was left to the last-wicket pairing – Jake Apperley and Joshua Vincent – to inch their team to a surprise triumph.
Longridge were comprehensive six-wicket victors over Whittingham and Goosnargh at the Newsham Memorial Ground.
Home skipper Ian Simpson won the toss and inserted W&G, who were quickly in trouble as Dan Wilkinson (5-35) and Ian Simpson (3-11) ran through the card.
The visitors were eventually dismissed for 68 in the 28th over, and Longridge knocked off the runs with more than 25 overs to spare.
Withnell Fold 132
Garstang travelled to basement side Withnell Fold who were in good spirit considering their league position and with rain threatening later, they asked Garstang to bat first.
Garstang raced to 28-0 from 6 overs before Allan Cook, (11) was sharply caught and bowled by Josh Cunliffe, (1-52). Michael Walling together with Mark Winstanley added 103 in the next 20 overs before Winstanley drilled one straight to mid-off having made 35.
Walling though was in determined mood and continued to score quickly and reach an admirable century from just 85 balls with consecutive sixes of Michael Atkinson Jnr, (0-36). He then hit four successive fours off Sabbir Patel, (0-17) finishing with 120 from 92 balls including 13 fours and 2 sixes.
Andrew Fletcher, (12) and Alex Rawlinson, (3) followed in the quest for quick runs but at 210-4 from 37 overs,
Ian Walling provided another entertaining innings of 50 not out from just 21 balls featuring 4 fours and 4 sixes. Garstang declared on 254-5. Adbulaziz Patel, (2-18) was the main wicket taker with a wicket each for Graham Thompson, (1-54) and Nick Fowler, (1-39).
Having 50 overs to chase 255, the home side started in aggressive manner with Cunliffe and Patel flaying plenty of boundaries. Ian Walling, (2-39) though, removed Patel, (15) and then Cunliffe, (28) but the score was 62-2 from 13.
Will Procter was introduced into the attack and bowled a quick and effective spell. He removed middle order trio Atkinson Jnr, (15), Alan Grogan, (15) and Fowler, (7) to reduce the hosts to 93-5.
When Tyler Ibbotson, (1-9) then trapped Michael Atkinson Snr, (4) lbw, the end was nigh at 109-6.
After a rain break Garstang chased the final few wickets to take the full 12 point win
Man of the Match: Michael Walling
Garstang: Michael Walling (captain), Allan Cook, Mark Winstanley, Andrew Fletcher, Ian Walling, Alex Rawlinson, Tyler Ibbotson, Alex Kershaw, Jonathon Thompson, (w/k), Gareth Jennings, Will Procter.