Lancaster end season with back-to-back defeats

Lancaster professional Michael Barry.
Lancaster professional Michael Barry.

This was a fixture that epitomised a below-par season for Lancaster as all three departments flattered to deceive in a two-wicket loss to league newcomers Penrith.

With the dry, crumbly Lune Road surface likely to deteriorate, Ben Simm opted to let Penrith bat last.

With little on the line in the fixture, openers Danny Welbourne and Michael Barry took the attack to the visitors with the score racing to 41-0 in the seventh over.

Penrith pro Paul Hindmarch, although expensive, pulled off a stunning one handed caught and bowled – a mirror image of his now famous dismissal to Andrew Flintoff at St Annes, to see the back of Welbourne.

Sam Moorby took up the attack at three lacing three fours through mid-on before his luck ran out on the fourth attempt and he found the man.

Jamie Heywood then received an unplayable delivery popping from a length to hand Hindmarch his third.

Charlie Swarbrick joined in the end of season strokemaking, getting off the mark by flicking Hindmarch into the pavilion for six.

Barry brought up yet another 50 to draw him closer to the club’s all time run scoring record but wickets continued to fall apace.

Swarbrick and Barry fell in quick succession, the former stumped and the latter falling to a leading edge 18 short of the record.

Alex Metcalfe didn’t learn from Barry‘s dismissal and departed three balls later as his leading edge found mid off to lead Lancaster into disarray at 90-5.

Dylan Conroy offered resistance to the slide with some sweetly timed cover drives, but he couldn’t stop the rot as his castling triggered another collapse.

Simm came and went caught and bowled first ball to Alex Atkinson before Matthew Liver was adjudged leg before to give Atkinson his third.

Entertaining lower order strikes from Iain Burstow and Liam Moffat pushed Lancaster towards a batting point at 160 but that was as far as Lancaster got as they were dismissed in just the 38th over.

Penrith were handed a head start in reply as former Barrow man Nicky Burns tucked into some loose opening overs to race the visitors to 40 without loss.

From this point on it was an uphill battle for the hosts.

Barry restored some control in tandem with Simm, with Liver taking two impressive catches off both bowlers, but runs kept flowing.

Barry remained potent in his spell, castling Greg Hall and claiming the prize wicket of Hindmarch with a well disguised slower ball.

Atkinson showed glimpses of his class using his feet to effortless effect in a cameo knock. Simm had the last laugh however, as Atkinson chipped to Conroy at long-on to leave Lancaster sniffing a chance with 50 still required and five wickets down.

The 2014 season has been a story of missed opportunities for Lancaster with this game being no exception.

Penrith’s top run scorer, Ryan Carruthers, took the game away from the hosts planting Lancaster’s spinners into the short boundary to leave the total within grasp.

Metcalfe picked up two consolatory wickets but by then the game was sealed, as Penrith sneaked home by two wickets at just 4.45pm.

*Sunday saw Lancashire Colts visit Lune Road in a rearranged final fixture of the season.

A depleted Lancaster side fell to 43 all out, with Michael Barry falling just shy of the club record. The Colts knocked off the modest total for the loss of one wicket.