Batting blitz helps Lancaster sink Preston

Charlie Swarbrick. Picture: Tony North
Charlie Swarbrick. Picture: Tony North

A dominant first innings display set up Lancaster’s fourth victory from five at the weekend.

Sub pro Usman Tariq’s 80 and Charlie Swarbrick’s 86 from just 56 balls blew away Preston before Liam Moffat and Ben Simm did the damage with the ball.

West Cliff has been a happy hunting ground of late for Lancaster so it was a surprise to some when Preston skipper Yasin Patel opted to bowl first.

With Preston’s attack lacking in firepower, Jamie Heywood and Tariq made the most of the circumstances with both scoring freely against the new ball. Both moved the score past 50 with few alarms to set the platform for a large total.

Preston had few answers as three figures came up for no loss before a Yasin Patel googly saw the back of Heywood just shy of the half century mark.

Kieran Moffat came and went for a cameo 19 - caught at mid-off attempting a trademark lofted drive off Rashid Amin. But the score relentlessly motored on as Tariq eased past 50.

Swarbrick entered at four and was in no mood to hang around. The explosive right-hander dished out some harsh treatment as Patel tried seven bowlers in all to stem the tide of runs.

Tariq departed for 80 trying one big shot too many but he had done more than enough to meet his brief for the day. Swarbrick thundered on – his 50 coming up in 36 balls to take the Lune Road men beyond 200 for the first time this year.

Dan Chambers and Iain Perrieman rotated the strike from the other end – Chambers giving Patel his second wicket caught and bowled before Perrieman sacrificed his wicket in trying to get Swarbrick back on strike.

The total swelled beyond 250 before Swarbrick finally fell for a superb 86 in his bid for a maiden first division century. Ben Simm called his men in with just 45 overs completed and Lancaster setting a mammoth 262 for an unlikely Preston victory.

With a wealth of runs on the board Simm could afford to set attacking fields from the off but early breakthrough proved elusive.

But the 13th over was to be unlucky for the hosts as Liam Moffat brought about the end of Mohmedrafik Patel caught in the trap set by Simm at short cover.

With one end open Simm introduced himself into the attack and began to make steady inroads into the Preston line-up.

Simm clinched his opposite number bowled through the gate for five before Sajid Patel and Rashid Amin looked to rebuild.

It took another piece of brilliance in the field from Chambers for Lancaster to pick up their third.

Patel turned Iain Burstow aerially into the leg side only for Chambers to take a one-handed effort diving forward at square-leg – millimetres from the turf, 66 for 3.

Amin was proving a thorn in the Lancaster side before cramp got the better of him and he had to retire hurt.

Former Lancaster man Rehman Shah dug in but regular wickets began to fall. Mohammed Bhola played back to a good length delivery before Ralph Cairns completely misjudged a straight ball to hand Simm two quick scalps.

At 87-5 Andrew Starkie and Shah sought to frustrate the visitors but it was Moffat who made a successful return, bowling Starkie with a terrific delivery pitching on leg and hitting the top of off.

And when Perrieman returned from a wicketless opening spell to castle Shah, there was only one result on the cards.

Amin returned from his bouts of cramp to offer at least a glimmer of hope for the hosts, passing 50 swinging from the hip.

Amin’s luck finally ran out as he top-edged another big shot leaving Lee Sparks to pouch the high ball.

Moffat and Simm mopped up the remains of the Preston innings. Shabnan Ali was trapped in front to give the left-armer his fourth before Simm returned his fourth of the match bowling number 11 Usman Alam through the gate to wrap up Lancaster’s third 15 point win of the season.