Morecambe battle to take points off Barrow

Congratulations for Tommy Clough on his wicket.
Congratulations for Tommy Clough on his wicket.
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Morecambe battled back to claim a losing draw against Barrow on the opening day of the new Northern Premier League season at Woodhill Lane.

At 60-6 a young and depleted side led by new skipper Ryan Pearson could have folded, but the hosts finished on 160-6 in reply to the Cumbrians’ 227-6.

It all came at the end of a tough week for the 2015 champions, who saw former captain Josh Dixon and wicket-keeper batsman Lewis Edge head north to Netherfield.

Opening bowler Jamie Cassidy is also set to miss the first weeks of the season as he recovers from hernia surgery.

It looked like insult would be added to injury when visiting captain Toby Mowat (5-20) changed the game in a seven-over spell.

Mowat removed Steven Fisher (17), who had worked hard for his runs, stand-in professional Devon Conway (16), Pearson (6) and both Lewis Smith and Eddy Read without troubling the scorers.

Salvation came from Adam Derham (50 not out) and Tommy Clough (32 not out) who mixed sensible batting with the occasional aggressive stroke for the final 27 overs.

The experience of Clough proved vital when on another day Morecambe could have been skittled out for 80.

At the other end Derham scored what the club hope will be the first of many Division One half centuries, the left-hander one of a number of young players set to be given a chance to shine this summer.

Derham had earlier shown he had plenty to offer with the ball too, taking 3-42 with his left-arm orthodox spin, including grabbing the key wicket of professional Aaron Keverne-Onyon caught at long on by Conway for 63.

Earlier in the piece young leg spinner Jake Smith (2-32) took a wicket with his first ball of the season as he removed openers Mowat and Williams.

A total of more like 260 looked likely when Keverne-Onyon struck a series of maximums but Derham intervened as Morecambe fought back with the ball, as they would later do with the bat to prevent Barrow taking all 15 points.

Morecambe next travel to West Cliff to face Preston on Saturday as the seconds host the reverse fixture at Woodhill Lane.

The second team also have a game against Blackpool at Stanley Park on Bank Holiday Monday.