Smuts and Sharma star as Morecambe get better of second Twenty20 derby

Morecambe professional Kelly Smuts.
Morecambe professional Kelly Smuts.

A fine all-round performance saw Morecambe get the better of their Twenty20 derby with Lancaster at Woodhill Lane on Tuesday night.

Professional Kelly Smuts hit an unbeaten 93 in the hosts’ commanding 161-3 before Ayush Sharma took 5-17 as Lancaster were bowled out for 124, 37 runs short of their target.

It is the Lune Road side however that remain in poll position to qualify from the North 2 group having got the better of the first derby and know a win over Preston in their final game on Friday will secure their place at finals day.

Stand-in visiting skipper Jamie Heywood won the toss and put Tommy Clough’s side into bat with Lewis Edge skying a catch to Heywood at midwicket off the impressive Tom Whitehouse (2-15) in the second over.

That brought Morecambe’s South African to the wicket however and he was soon into his stride.

After Jordan Willoughby departed clean bowled by Whitehouse, Smuts in partnership with Ryan Pearson (52) took the game away from Lancaster.

Some tight bowling in the middle overs from Whitehouse and Liam Moffat meant the pair had to be watchful however before putting their foot on the gas.

Smuts hit the first of his three sixes in the 11th over off Iain Burstow before hitting his second off the same bowler two overs later having passed his half century.

Pearson was soon in on the act, scooping Lancaster professional Michael Barry for an eye-catching four before taking Morecambe past three figures in the 15th over with another six off Burstow.

The Morecambe pair complemented each other in fine style, Pearson passing 50 with a fine lofted drive off Iain Perrieman, but the century stand came to an end in the 19th over as Pearson ran himself out going for a second run that was never on.

The South African wasn’t finished however and pulled Barry to the short car park boundary for six off the penultimate ball of the innings before seeing Heywood miss a chance to take a catch in the deep with the ball trickling over the boundary rope for Smuts’ 12th four.

Lancaster’s innings didn’t get off to the ideal start with Heywood (4) frustrated to be adjudged stumped by Edge off the bowling of Yakub Bhamji in the opening over.

The score was then 18-2 when another key man Barry (4) pulled Smuts straight to Sharma at mid-on.

Both Charlie Swarbrick (16) and Iain Perrieman (24) showed promise however as Lancaster kept up with the rate at 40-2.

But the impressive Jamie Cassidy (1-15) accounted for Swarbrick with James Law taking a catch in the deep before Edge got his second stumping as the ball deflected off Perrieman’s pad off the bowling of Clough.

With Lancaster 66-4 at the halfway stage Morecambe were on top and from there the hosts didn’t let their grip on the game slip as Sharma wrapped up the tail.

Kieran Moffat (20) hit two fine sixes for Lancaster, clearing the pavilion off Clough before a fine straight maximum off Smuts, but he was to become the Morecambe left armer’s first victim with Jordan Willoughby taking a high catch.

Smuts then took a fine diving catch in the deep to get rid of Danny Welbourne (17) for Sharma’s second with Adam Derham taking another catch on the boundary to get rid of Burstow.

Alex Metcalfe was then run out without a facing a ball before Sharma clean bowled both Whitehouse and Liam Moffat to finish the game in the final over and complete his five-wicket haul.