Lancaster crash out of National Knockout

Jamie Heywood. Picture: Tony North

Jamie Heywood. Picture: Tony North

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A weak middle-order batting display saw Lancaster crash out of the National Knockout at the first hurdle on Sunday.

Ribblesdale League outfit Oswaldtwistle won the toss and batted first in icy conditions but found the going difficult against the returning Liam Moffat.

The left-armer showed no signs of early season rust to leave the hosts 8 for 2, first finding the edge of Anthony Dignan parried to slip by keeper Reuben Orr before trapping Andrew Metcalf first ball for a duck.

Moffat continued to rush the Immanuel top order and picked up his third by pinning Neil Weaver on the crease at 33 for 3.

Opener Matthew Roberts kept Lancaster’s bowlers at bay as Ben Simm rotated his bowlers. Faizan Khan bowled a tidy spell of leg-spin and Laurie Atkinson’s medium dobbers kept the run rate below five-an-over.

Atkinson’s rare outing with ball in hand brought a rare scalp as Phil Howard played over the top of a yorker on 21.

But that was as good as it got for Lancaster as Roberts and Immanuel skipper Danny Metcalf batted the remaining overs with few alarms. The young left-handed opener finished with an unbeaten 107 but with a 40-yard boundary the total of 204-4 looked 30 runs shy.

The hosts’ bowling attack lacked venom early on and Lancaster openers Jamie Heywood and Alex Metcalfe cashed in on some loose deliveries. The pair went past 50 in the ninth over and suffered few alarms until Weaver entered the attack.

Weaver offered control where others couldn’t and was eventually rewarded with Heywood’s wicket for 37. Swarbrick and Metcalfe continued to push on past 100 striking the loose ball but Weaver struck again to castle Swarbrick for 29 with a ball that pitched on leg and hit off stump at 113 for 2.

Metcalfe lost momentum and became Weaver’s third victim adjudged lbw for 42 putting two new batsman at the crease. Lancaster’s middle order wilted in the face of medium pace as Lee Sparks, Danny Welbourne, Laurie Atkinson and Elliot Mason mustered three runs between them with Weaver the chief destroyer.

Faizan Khan stood strong and found support in the shape of a now injured Ben Simm. The pair took the visitors from the depths of 124 for 7 to beyond 160 before Simm’s rearguard was ended by an Andrew Metcalf leg-cutter. Reuben Orr supported Khan with 11 and helped tick the score to within 10 before the 14-year-old became the fourth lbw of the innings playing across a straight one.

Liam Moffat survived a big shout with five required for victory but skipper Metcalf beat the tailender’s defences to leave Lancaster agonisingly four runs short.

Khan was left high and dry on 37 as the visitors, bowled out for 200, were left to rue poor decisions with the bat.