Lancaster defeated by Netherfield on opening day of shortened campaign, but Morecambe off to a flyer

Laurie Atkinson plays the ball into the legsideLaurie Atkinson plays the ball into the legside
Laurie Atkinson plays the ball into the legside
How typical for Lancashire cricket – after three months of mostly dry Saturdays without any play, the opening day of the long-delayed season was disrupted by rain.

Even so, plenty of fixtures did reach a conclusion, with both Lancaster and Morecambe playing to a conclusion in their respective matches.

The Northern Premier League and Moore and Smalley Palace Shield have joined forces for a two-month competition to make the most of what remains of the summer.

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The first stage sees the teams split into localised groups at four different levels to play round-robin competitions over five Saturdays.

The NPL teams are competing at level one alongside the best Palace Shield teams, while there are also representatives from the Liverpool Competition. Lancaster and Morecambe got their cricket seasons underway in Group D.

Morecambe enjoyed a terrific eight-wicket win over Kendal at Shap Road.

Kieran Moffat starred with the ball taking 5-19 as the hosts were bowled out for just 70 in the 29th over. Charlie Swarbrick took 3-9.

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Only James Park (21) reached double figures for the hosts. Swarbrick then hit an unbeaten 24 as the visitors cruised to victory of the 
loss of two wickets with more than six overs to spare.

Unfortunately, Lancaster were unable to follow their neighbours’ lead as they began with a defeat in low-scoring contest at home to Netherfield.

The hosts could only muster a paltry 84-8 off 30 overs after batting first at Lune Road. Lewis McGinley top scored with 18, while Daniel Smedhurst was the pick of the bowlers for the visitors, taking 3-20 off six overs.

Netherfield’s batsmen found the conditions equally as tough, although they seemed to be cruising at first after openers Ben Barrow (14) and TomAnderson (10) shared a 30 run opening stand.

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However, once skipper Ben Simm got rid of them both, the visitors suffered a batting collapse.

Eight wickets fell and only another 43 runs were added as the hosts smelt victory.

However, an unbeaten 13 from Isaac Medhurst saw Netherfield over the line on the final ball of the match. Simm ended with figures of 4-26, while Laurie Atkinson chipped in with 2-19.

On Saturday, Lancaster travel to Netherfield, while Morecambe host Kendal at Woodhill Lane.

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In Level two Group D, Morecambe’ second team were beaten by their Kendal counterparts in a high-scoring contest at Woodhill Lane. Half-centuries from David Batty and Oliver Killiner helped the visitors post a sizeable 182-5 off 40 overs. Tommy Clough took 3-24.

In reply, the hosts reached 165-9 to lose by 17 runs. Their total owed much to opener Andrew Creech’s 78 but it was to be in vain. Matthew Park was the pick of the Kendal bowlers with 3-25.

Other results, Level 1 : Group A: St Annes 172-8 (Curtis Fletcher 4- beat Blackpool 90; Fleetwood 104-7 (James Gregson 33, Alex Ryder 3-28) beat Thornton Cleveleys 97-7 .

Group B: Garstang 115-6 (M Wellings 40) beat Kirkham and Wesham 114-7 (A Hogarth 35, I Walling 3-15) by four wickets, Great Eccleston 119-9 (A Green 30, C Brookes 4-9) lost to Fulwood and Broughton 191-4 (M Smith 65) by 72 runs, Longridge 81-2 beat Preston 79-9 by eight wickets.

Group C: Penwortham 111-4 lost to Chorley 129-1 by 18 runs.