Professional Michael Barry’s 94 ensured Lancaster took a vital winning draw from fellow strugglers Preston on Saturday.
On winning the toss, captain Ben Simm’s decision to bat brought himself to the crease in his new opening role.
The premeditated plan to attack medium pacer Andrew Starkie paid off as Simm and Barry hit 23 from his three overs.
Simm’s opposite number, Saeed Bariwala, proved somewhat more resilient as his continuous 24-over stint claimed its first victim with Simm trapped in front for 18.
Lancaster’s middle order continued to stay true to its season-long instability as Jamie Heywood became Bariwala’s second wicket before Charlie Swarbrick and Danny Welbourne gave Afzal Kapadia a brace of leg befores.
Sajid Patel’s one over experiment cost him 10 runs but claimed a wicket in the way of Luke Phillips who fell to a sharp caught and bowled.
With the visitors’ innings less than secure, Iain Burstow restored stability as Kiwi opener Barry continued past his 50.
With the total breaching the 150 mark Barry looked set for his maiden century before Bariwala intervened, the Auckland man falling just six runs short in one of his best innings to date.
Wickets then began to fall apace, with veteran Lee Marshall giving Bariwala his fourth of the match.
Burstow took the attack to Yasin Patel as Lancaster surged past 200 but he too went trying one big shot too many for 46 with the innings closing on 214 all out.
Liam Moffat ensured a bright start for the Lune Road men bowling wicket-to-wicket to remove Preston’s opening pair of Saj Patel and Bariwala cheaply.
Lancaster were yet to face their biggest obstacle of the afternoon, the in-form Jibran Khan, who signalled his attentions early by taking the attack to Matthew Liver and Moffat.
Khan and Dukanwala put together a formidable third-wicket partnership but West Cliff was taking spin however, and the vital wicket came when Dukanwala was trapped by a Burstow slider for 45.
Graham Dobson fell in identical fashion to Dukanwala before Simm got in on the act with a sharp caught and bowled to account for Yasin Patel.
Khan was no less resolute and found solace in the shape of Javaid Hussain with both happy to continue playing their shots and gun for all 12 points.
Hussain couldn’t resist a big heave to Simm and was bowled for a valuable 24 before Khan brought up his third century in five weeks.
The hosts were rapidly running out of wickets however, and the crucial blow to their chances came when a fatigued Khan was well caught by Moffat on the boundary for a fine 108.
Now it was Lancaster who sniffed victory as Yasin Boda and Kapadia contrived to hand Burstow and Simm their third and fourth wickets respectively.
Preston’s final pair thought better of attempting the eight runs required from the final over, shutting up shop to give Lancaster 10 points that puts light between them and the foot of the table.