Ben Simm-ply too good for Kendal

Lancaster's Ben Simm.
Lancaster's Ben Simm.

Lancaster took all 15 points in a low-scoring Sunday thriller at Lune Road.

Ben Simm handed the captaincy reins to Liam Moffat as Kendal opted to bowl first.

Openers Alex Metcalfe and Jamie Heywood couldn’t replicate the solid start of the previous day as the pace of visiting professional Eldred Hawken induced two drag-ons to leave Lancaster 3 for 2.

Rameez Raja and new signing from Preston Jibran Khan steadied the hosts well. Raja looked to attack Saeed Bariwala from the River End planting no fewer than four maximums onto the far banking. Khan played the anchor role as both rotated the strike well.

At 60 for 2 it looked like Lancaster were poised for a total of 160-plus but Raja lost patience to Bariwala holing out at long-on for an unfulfilled 40.

The hosts’ fragile middle-order was again exposed to the opposition spinners. Tom Whitehouse fell LBW for 1 on his first team return before Dan Chambers edged behind to Shane Hyland to give Bariwala his second.

Lancaster’s plight deepened when Khan became Bariwala’s third guiding to Miller at first slip who took a sharp catch.

And 67 for 6 became 67 for 7 the following ball with Lee Sparks having no answer to Bariwala’s spin.

Ben Simm and Craig Heywood helped spare Lancaster’s batting blushes with some lusty blows before Hawken returned to castle Heywood with a grubber.

Hawken bowled Simm a few overs later for 23 but his innings would prove important at the end of the game.

Liam Moffat suffered a nasty blow on the elbow to Hawken before becoming Bariwala’s fifth holing out at long-on as Lancaster edged past three figures.

Kendal’s batting so far this season has been an Achilles heel but there were no such signs of weakness early on as Darren Braithwaite struck the ball sweetly in the opening exchanges.

The visitors made serene progress to 46 for none and it looked like the game was sealed for Kendal.

Lune Road has seen some spectacular collapses but none on this magnitude in recent years.

It began when Braithwaite lost his patience against Simm. The off-spinner returned over the wicket inducing an error from the left-hander who swiped wildly against the spin only finding Dan Chambers at point.

Darren Nightingale fell the following delivery as Simm trapped his man on the crease LBW for a duck.

With spin looking the way forward, Moffat introduced Tom Whitehouse from the Atherton Road end as Lancaster began to crowd the bat.

Whitehouse bowled a miserly spell and gave Lancaster their third when opposition pro Hawken was well taken by Craig Heywood at short mid-wicket, 48 for 3.

Saeed Bariwala looked to change the pace hitting out against the spinners to take the Cumbrians past 50 but a great catch diving forward by Dan Chambers at mid-wicket saw the back of Kendal’s number 5 for an 8-ball 13.

Shane Hyland and joined Paul Dodds in a stubborn stand but a change of angle from Simm again brought results as Hyland was adjudged LBW for 12 to leave Kendal wobbling on 74 for 5.

Whitehouse removed the barnacle Dodds on the stroke of drinks – sharp take by Sparks putting Lancaster firmly in control.

By this point Kendal had begun to lose the plot. Opposition skipper Chris Miller tried to sweep his way to victory to no avail finding a rolling Liam Moffat at backward square-leg to hand Simm his fifth. 77 for 7.

Young Joseph Dodds was the victim of a mix-up and a great throw from Matthew Liver saw the back of Kendal’s last recognised batsman for just 1.

84 for 8 became 84 for 9 a couple of balls later as Simm picked up Stu Parkin caught at Short-leg by Metcalfe to gather his sixth of the day.

Liam Moffat came back to seal the win for the hosts the following over as Ryan Nightingale nicked behind to bring Kendal’s innings to a sorry end. A spectacular collapse of 10 wickets for 39 runs set in motion by Ben Simm’s 6 for 48 handing Lancaster a welcome victory.