Smuts and Edge both claim centuries in Morecambe win over Darwen

Big hit from Kelly Smuts.
Big hit from Kelly Smuts.
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Morecambe had a fantastic all round performance from professional Kelly Smuts to thank for a superb 15 point victory away to high flying Darwen.

The Woodhill Lane outfit were also indebted to Lewis Edge who made his second Northern League century in as many years as they piled on the runs at Birch Hall.

Batting first Morecambe were in a great deal of trouble early as former Cherry Tree professional Kamran Anwar tore through the Morecambe top order removing Josh Dixon, Ikram Ullah and Ryan Pearson with the score at just 10 for the loss of three wickets.

Cue professional Kelly Smuts and wicketkeeper batsman Lewis Edge.

The latter flew out of the blocks, instantly taking Anwar to the sword, striking five boundaries in quick succession instantly taking Morecambe forward at a pulsating rate.

With the run rate soaring Smuts soon got in on the act as he took Darwen professional and his fellow countryman George Linde on striking him for several huge maximums through the leg side.

The pair’s aggressive nature complemented each other in what was beginning to become a fine display of batting.

In no time it seemed the pair had each passed 50 at what could only be described as a canter.

Boundaries continued to flow from the bowling of both Linde (0-59) and Anwar (3-118).

Darwen had no answer to the pair who continued to go through the gears, ultimately ensuring the Birch Hall club lost 10 balls in 46 overs of painful bowling.

The Morecambe pair continued to both reach wonderful centuries, Smut’s first for his new club and his first on English shores.

Adding over 250 for the fourth wicket Edge (122) and Smuts (160) ensured Morecambe reached a massive 304 from just 46.4 overs and both rightly left the field to standing ovations for what was one of the great Morecambe and ultimately Northern League partnerships.

In nothing but the ascendency throughout Morecambe continued to dominate the game with the ball.

Yakub Bhamji (5-36) and Kelly Smuts (4-53) oozed class and used their skills to their full potential to reduce the hapless Darwen to 103-7, as the rain which had been forecast all day began to fall heavily in East Lancashire.

This heavy and persistent rain looked to have put an end to a sensational afternoon for Morecambe, however with just 10 overs remaining the rain stopped and both sides were able to return to the field.

With Morecambe driving hard for three wickets and Darwen battling to survive the 60 balls that remained an exciting finish was in prospect.

When Kelly Smuts clean bowled Reece Davies before having Mark Emery caught behind by the ever present Lewis Edge the stage was set.

Chris Lowe and Chris Wade looked to resolutely repel the pace attack of Bhamji and Smuts.

However, with just 1.5 overs remaining in the day and the rain beginning to fall Smuts trapped Lowe in front of all three to wrap up a superb all round performance ensuring he took four wickets along with his 160 and ultimately 15 points for his side.