Palace Shield Premier Division
After skipper Ian Simpson won the toss younger brother John and Josh McDowell opened the batting for Longridge at the Newsham Memorial Ground for their tie with Freckleton.
Simpson was first to go for just 9 when he went aerial trying to up the tempo. Dan Wilkinson Jnr went in to bat and with patience, tremendous stroke play and some big hitting they built a partnership of more than 70 for the second wicket in good time. Wilkinson was run out for a well-played 34, and followed back to the pavilion shortly after by McDowell who departed with 58. Big hitters Vincent Wilkinson and Andy Simpson were left at the crease with five overs to go, catapulting Longridge to 181 for 5 off their 45 overs, in particular Wilkinson who finished with 33 not out.
Longridge went out to field with a spring in their step, but with Freckleton’s strong start this began to fade. However Longridge finally found a breakthrough with skipper Ian Simpson getting the dangerous Josh Holden caught behind by Helm for 43. Rory McDowell was introduced into the attack for Longridge and proved to be the match winner. He had the opposition batsmen in trouble and took the next five wickets removing the majority of the recognized batsmen Freckleton had left. Another two wickets were to follow from the opposite end for Simpson banishing any doubts fans may have had of Longridge not getting over the line. Match Winner Rory McDowell ended up with superlative figures of, 15 overs three maidens, six wickets for just 40 runs.
Palace Shield Division One
Longridge travelled to top of the League Vernons knowing nothing but a win could keep their title hopes alive. They won the toss and opened with Oliver Pye and Robbie Lambert and they made steady progress until Lambert fell for 11. It was Tom Wood and the immovable Pye who set about building a match winning total. Both made it to 50 although Wood fell shortly after for 57 but this allowed Joyce to come in and tee off to make a quick 17. Just when it looked like Pye might make his first second team century he was bowled for 90 as Longridge scrambled late in the innings to a competitive total of 211. Longridge knew they had a tough task ahead to ensure victory but their chances were boosted with both Jamie Coulston and Dan Wilkinson to open the bowling, the latter having taken five wickets for the first team just two weeks ago.
The pair got stuck into the upper order sharing the first four wickets as Longridge took full command of the game removing the skipper and talisman Tate cheaply in the process. Wilkinson was in no mood to relax taking the next four wickets to finish up with a well deserved six wickets and left Vernons no real chance of knocking off the total. Oliver Lewis mopped up the last two wickets leaving his side in the hunt for third place.
Palace Shield Division Two
The thirds faced a tough assignment as they travelled to Garstang 2nds looking to get back to winning ways after defeat against Wrea Green. After winning the toss and deciding to bat first Richmond would have been hoping for a good score on a decent pitch and quick outfield. From the beginning wickets fell at regular intervals with only Andrew Simpson (40) and Douglas (25) offering resistance of any note as Longridge slumped to 123 all out.
The Garstang bowlers will have been very happy with their afternoons work in sweltering conditions. There was early hope for Longridge when Garstang replied as Kaye bowled Winstanley for 8. There were then two partnerships that took the game beyond Longridge with opener Horn top scoring with 57. A couple of late wickets made the score more respectable but in the end the six wicket defeat was a comprehensive one.