Penrith drag Morecambe towards bottom of the table

Ashan Priyanjan. Picture: Tony North
Ashan Priyanjan. Picture: Tony North

It was a tough day at the office for Morecambe on Saturday after another batting collapse from the top order saw them fall to a two-wicket defeat at Woodhill Lane against Penrith.

Ryan Pearson’s side slumped to 127-9 after being put into bat on home soil with the Cumbrians getting home for the loss of eight wickets.

The result leaves Morecambe joint bottom of the table with Penrith on 47 points as their up and down Northern Premier League Division One season continues.

Morecambe were 30-5 in no time after Greg Hall took four quick wickets, including that of professional Ashan Priyanjan for a duck.

Penrith’s paid man Bhanuka Rajapaksa also got in on the act removing Pearson for 13, a dismissal which brought Luke Pearson (31) to the crease.

He played a mature 90-ball innings on a tough wicket as he tried to drag the Morecambe score towards some level of respectability.

First Pearson added 40 with Eddy Read (22) before putting on another decent stand with Tommy Clough (17).

With the lower order continuing to battle hard, an unbeaten 18 from youngster Steven Fisher as least gave Morecambe something to bowl at and gave them a sniff of victory against the league’s basement boys.

Hall finished with 4-31 and Rajapaksa 4-40.

The small chance the hosts had of picking up the 15 points improved when both Read (2-27) and Jamie Cassidy (1-21) took wickets in their first over, meaning Penrith were 10-2 and then 21-3 as their reply got off to a stuttering start.

There was no let-up from the change bowlers as wickets fell at regular intervals with Clough (1-30) and Priyanjan (3-47) getting in on the act, the Woodhill Lane side sensing that the game was there for the taking.

They had just one problem, as wickets tumbled at the other end Rajapaksa stood firm playing almost a lone hand, Morecambe knowing that as long as he remained at the crease victory wasn’t guaranteed.

Owen Jones being run out by Gert Maartens had Penrith perilously placed at 74-8 but the professional then added 55 with Bruce Glendinning to see his side home, the visitors finishing on 129-8 in the 41st over.

Sri Lankan Rajapaksa ended the day unbeaten on 73, his 65-ball innings including three fours and four sixes.

The result was a hammer blow for Morecambe who missed the chance to go 30 points clear of the relegation zone and were dragged towards the bottom of the table.