Lancaster make heavy weather of Darwen win

Ben Simm congratulates Liam Moffat on a wicket against Darwen. Picture: Tony North
Ben Simm congratulates Liam Moffat on a wicket against Darwen. Picture: Tony North
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A fielding display unmatched in recent years saw Lancaster take all the points against struggling Darwen.

Charlie Swarbrick starred with both bat and ball for the second time in as many weeks as the hosts clawed their way over the line last Saturday.

Iain Perrieman made the early breakthrough, finding David Bowden’s edge with just three runs on the board, and Liam Moffat castled John Painter for one.

Ammer Mirza was next to go when a rush of blood saw him edge behind before Mark Friend (11) pushed in front of his body to give Perrieman his second.

Darwen pro Shrikant Wagh supported Cordingley and Ben Simm brought himself into the attack with Swarbrick.

With the pressure mounting, Simm could attack the stumps and finally got his man after drinks when Cordingley couldn’t get his bat down in time and was trapped in front of all three.

Wagh finally cracked, getting half a bat to an airy drive, the ball looked to have beat the infield only for a leaping Liam Moffat to pluck it one handed behind his head at full stretch.

With the pro’s departure the innings was broken.

Swarbrick was rewarded for his persistence trapping Reece Davies (9) moving too far across his stumps and castling Chris Crompton late on.

Simm took the other two wickets to fall, Mark Emery snaffled by Perrieman at slip and Simon Painter expertly fooled and pinned by a slop looping delivery.

Darwen slipping to a paltry 93 all out with Swarbrick claiming miserly figures of 3 for 17 from 13 overs.

Lancaster’s reply got off to shaky start when Alex Metcalfe edged a Wagh away swinger straight to Cordingley at first slip at 5 for 1.

But from that early blip, Jamie Heywood and Swarbrick built a solid platform.

Heywood played anchor and Swarbrick punished anything short or overpitched from Wagh.

Left-arm spinner Bowden bowled lucklessly as Lancaster eased past 50 for 1 but the solid partnership finally ended when Chris Wade castled Swarbrick for 40 before dislodging Heywood with a high class in-swinger. 
With two new batsmen at the crease Darwen smelled a chance.

Pro Abhimanyu Khod gave Cordingley a simple caught and bowled chance and when Rajat Agarwal hit a long-hop straight to deep mid-wicket, Lancaster were five down for 67.

Kieran Moffat steadied proceedings and, despite the loss of Will Fraser-Gray stumped for a duck, Moffat and Simm ticked the total required below 10.

Simm fell late on attempting an ambitious second run and Moffat skewed a full toss straight to cover with one required but the late wickets flattered the visitors.

Lee Sparks finished the game with an edge past the keeper to give Lancaster a slightly less than straightforward two-wicket win.