Lancaster forced to settle for losing draw

Lancaster's Liam Moffat.
Lancaster's Liam Moffat.

A flurry of top order wickets put pay to Lancaster’s chasing efforts at home to Barrow on Saturday.

With one end open Lancaster took the initiative. Iain Perrieman got a well-deserved first scalp setting up Dutton edging behind with a wide full delivery before castling Michael Wellings after beating the left-hander for pace.

With Barrow 49 for 4, visiting pro Tharanga Paranavitana played a mature innings to steady the innings as Simm introduced himself and Iain Burstow to the attack.

Greg Reynolds survived a simple chance to mid-on off Simm after drinks but Burstow eventually to his wicket as Kieran Moffat took a great one-handed catch above his head – 78-5.

With plenty of overs remaining, Paranavitana’s measured approach paid dividends picking off the occasionally loose delivery for a boundary and making the most of the defensive field.

Chris D’Leny and Josh Tweddle fell to Burstow and Simm respectively but they helped rotate the strike allowing the Sri Lankan pro to bring up a faultless fifty.

On 142-7 with 8 overs left, visiting skipper Daryl Wearing cut loose with scything strokes over the off-side field.

Simm finally removed Paranavitana bowled for 72 with two overs remaining – the left-hander playing his first false stroke of the day before Wearing was well run out by Jamie Heywood in the deep for 31. But by then Barrow had posted a commendable 191 for 9.

Alex Metcalfe and Jamie Heywood gave Lancaster the ideal platform for a charge at the total.

Wearing beat and found the outside edge on a number of occasions but pressure couldn’t be maintained by Paul Riley at the other end.

Heywood played a number of handsome on-drives to take the hosts to 50 for no loss before Metcalfe played a rash stroke to the off-spin of Paranavitana.

Then came the crucial stumble in the Lancaster innings. Pro Rameez Raja opened his account with a well-timed back foot drive but an over later made a fatal error and was trapped plumb in front playing back to Paranavitana.

With one end open, Barrow subjected the hosts to a trial by spin. Dan Chambers became Gary Collins’ first victim caught down the leg-side and when Craig Heywood was beaten in the flight to become the pro’s third, Lancaster were in the mire at 60 for 4.

But Kieran Moffat’s good form with the bat continued at number six as he and Heywood rebuilt to give Lancaster at least a sniff of victory.

Moffat rotated the strike well to the good balls and put his arms through anything full in his 33 while Heywood brought up his first 50 of the year working the ball to leg.

The required run rate by this time had climbed north of 7-an-over and the Lancaster pair looked to up the ante. Wearing’s introduction of Greg Reynolds produced the breakthrough as Heywood chopped on for a well-made 51.

Lancaster’s chances faded further when Paranavitana returned to see the back of Moffat. Lee Sparks and Iain Perrieman continued to go down fighting but their departure signalled the end the chase – as Paranavitana picked up a well-earned five-for.

Ben Simm and Iain Burstow secured a losing draw for the hosts – Lancaster gaining five points for their efforts, finishing 159 for 8.Chasing a target 20 to 30 runs above par, Lancaster went from 50 for no loss to 60 for 4 and never recovered the ground they lost.

Lune Road offered a very dry pitch but experience told that the surface wouldn’t hold much pace at the far end of the square.

Barrow were aggressive from the off after electing to bat first. Dean Williams and Toby Mowat weren’t afraid to go hard taking the visitors to 31-0 with few alarms.

It took a moment of quick thinking from Lee Sparks to get the breakthrough. Mowat absent-mindedly wandered out of his crease after leaving a ball from Liam Moffat handing Sparks the perfect opportunity to roll the ball at the stumps.

Williams continued to play his shots but patience paid for Moffat as a tempting wide delivery was skewed straight to Craig Heywood at cover. 45-2.