Captain Simm stars as Lancaster get back to winning ways

Jamie Heywood in action for Lancaster against Preston. Picture: Tony North

Jamie Heywood in action for Lancaster against Preston. Picture: Tony North

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Lancaster captain Ben Simm took six wickets to get his side back to winning ways with a much-needed victory over Preston at Lune Road.

The hosts lost the toss and were put into bat with resident opening pair Jamie Heywood (20) and Alex Metcalfe (15) starting well, scoring early boundaries to ease the tension on the home balcony.

The first wicket fell in the 11th over when Metcalfe, on the back of a sumptuous straight drive, was deceived by Andrew Starkie and had to make his way back to the pavilion.

Heywood soon followed, edging behind Sajid Patel for 20 and suddenly Lancaster were 30-2.

With professional Abhimanyu Khod (23) and Charlie Swarbrick (14) at the crease the hosts looked to rebuild, and the pair began the task in typical fashion, crashing a few much-needed boundaries to the rope.

When both Khod and Swarbrick fell within a few overs of each other, Lancaster were once again teetering at four wickets down, albeit on a track that seemed tough to bat on.

Kieran Moffat (23) and Rajat Agarwal (8) steadied the ship as Lancaster creeped towards 100 but Moffat fell caught behind and his replacement in the middle Samuel Moorby (7) departed the same way just four overs later.

Combined with the run out of Agarwal and a first ball duck for veteran Danny Welbourne (0), the hosts could’ve crumbled, but resistance from the bat of Lee Marshall (17) took Lancaster to 129 from 43 overs before he was caught and bowled to wrap up the innings.

Professional Khod joined youngster Callum East in sharing the new ball for the hosts, and there was quick reward when East found the leading edge of Sajid Patel, only to watch captain Simm put the ball down at mid-off.

Keen to make up for his error the skipper replaced Khod at the River End as East continued to bowl tight lines from the other end.

East and his team were finally rewarded when opener Saeed Bariwala found the hands of a gleeful Metcalfe at square leg.

Further wickets fell, as East had Durrani leg before wicket for 3 and Simm picked up Lukman Vahaluwala, Irshad Desai and Miya Ahmed Lunat for low scores as Preston slipped to 40-4.

Simm got his fourth when he trapped Sajid Patel (29) for room and bowled him through the gate before the introduction of Swarbrick after a long spell of bowling from East proved decisive as he grabbed the wickets of stalwart Andrew Starkie (0) and Mohmedrafik Patel for 1.

Resistance came in the form of Rizwan Ali (36) but Simm claimed his fifth wicket by trapping Nizmudin Patel for 0, and when he hit the pads of Afzal Kapadia (0) with the visitors on 90-9, he wrapped up the game and an important 15 points for Lancaster.