The Westmorland Cricket League Division One could hardly be closer.
Westgates’s 10-wicket demolition of Holme takes them to the top of the table by virtue of games won level on points with Carnforth.
Batting first, Sam Conroy’s 5-10 was mainly responsible for bowling Holme out for 45.
An imperious run a ball 130 not out from Chris Parry enabled Carnforth to declare on 242-4 versus Trimpell.
Brad Hoyle (72) had added 152 with Parry for the first wicket.
Trimpell put in a spirited performance making 159 with James Ferguson making 52 from No.9, but the star of the second half of the game was Archie Rich, who was playing instead of his younger brother. He took a career best 7-48.
Milnthorpe are nestled only one point behind, winning a hard-fought game at Sedgwick that suggests that they have the resilience to stay in the title race.
Sedgwick reached 194 with the big hitting Chris Evans making 45 and Carl Bevan (38). Mike Wills (34) and Chris Baldwin (30) building the platform.
However, with Jason Dalzell (4-57) bowling a marathon 16-over spell, Milnthorpe were in trouble at 134-6, but the experienced Nick Lewthwaite (35 not out) received good support from opening bowlers Darren Wills (15) and James Parkinson (12 not out) to secure a two wicket win with three balls remaining.
Arnside have been a batsman’s paradise this season.
The record for the highest ever run aggregate in a match was broken three weeks ago, and on Saturday the second highest ever was achieved.
This was largely due to a mammoth 161 not out by Adam Richardson, who hit 20 fours and six sixes, receiving good support from Ben Lenton.
Arnside posted 296-3. With his third ton of the season, Richardson passed 500 league runs and is the leading run scorer with 593, just ahead of Chris Parry (576).
Heysham didn’t surrender and Sam Calverley led the counter-attack, scoring his second hundred of the season.
His 129 included 13 fours and eight sixes whilst Adam Cowperthwaite (5-34) and Sam Till (3-46) took wickets at the other end.
His dismissal saw Heysham bowled out for 229.
Shireshead won a thriller at Burneside by eight runs.
Batting first, Simon Gould hit 53 from 45 balls, but with Charlie Hutchinson taking 4-53, Shireshead were in desperate trouble at 137-9.
Phil Oliver (47) and Irfan Qayyum (12 not out) added 63 for the last wicket to take the score to 200.
Rob Davies (40) and Darren Nightingale (74) added 92 for the first wicket, and at 162-3 Burneside were big favourites.
Enter Mike Mead, who in his best spell for Shireshead took 4-21, supported by David Jack (4-63) and was so effective that Burneside’s last five wickets only garnered 11 runs.
It was another thriller at Silverdale as Warton beat the home club by nine runs.
Gareth Finley’s 37-ball 52 was the major contributor as Warton totalled 168, Curtis Graham taking 4-27.
Warton were grateful to see Steve Beck back in their ranks after injury.
The big fast bowler took 4-45 as Silverdale struggled to 101-7. Keith Forster (42) and Phil Mason (23) added 51 to bring victory within reach, but Beck and Jack Bolton dug deep to gain the final three wickets.
Bare are top of Division Two after beating Netherfield 3rds, for whom Tim Reddin (46) and Craig Dixon (66) put the home side in a good position before both fell to Archit Bhardwaj (3-49) as the innings tailed off to 161-9.
Bhardwaj then made 72 not out, receiving good support from Robert White (40) and Mat Cook (28 not out) as Bare won by six wickets.
Shireshead 2nds beat Penrith 2nds twice in one day, first in a T20 play-off when they scored 206 to Penrith’s 178 with Robert Skipworth making 84, then in a league game by four wickets.
Josh Smethurst belied the earlier heavy scoring, taking 4-13 from 11.5 overs as Penrith were dismissed for 143.
Colin Twiname made 52 before young batsmen Jake Gould (43 not out) and Adam Coates (22 not out) secured the victory.
Heysham 2nds made 199-8 with 52 from Kyle Whitelocks. Three wickets apiece from Aaron Cross and Harry Wallbank saw Cartmel all out for 92. Andrew Metcalfe (4-30) and Luke Watson(5-7) saw Coniston collapse to 75 all out as the last five batsmen all made ducks.
Mark Beaumont’s 31 not out saw Kirkby Lonsdale home by six wickets.
In a high scoring match, Galgate made 262-7 declared in 38 overs with 97 from Dave Morgan, 56 from Rob Speak and 54 from Jack Bewsher.
Incredibly, Silverdale 2nd XI chased the target to make the highest ever second innings total in Division Three.
Jonty Moeckell made 92 and Jack Dougan 55, before Jack Belcher (44 not out) guided Silverdale home with five balls to spare.
In a low scoring game, Arnside 2nd XI (82) were beaten by Ingleton by six wickets.
Sam Fletcher took 4-17 and scored 33 as Windermere bowled Sedgwick 2nd XI for 75 and reached their target to win by seven wickets and strengthened their position at the top of the division.
In Division Four, Ambleside (237-9) beat Coniston 2nd XI bowling them out for 127 with 4-13 for Barnaby Wileman.
Bare 2nd XI made 165-8 to beat Kendal 3rd XI by two wickets.
Gavin Kellett took 7-28 as Milnthorpe 2nd XI (183-4) beat Kirkby Lonsdale 2nd XI (114) despite Mark Moorby’s 52.
Earlier, Adam Smith (79) and Andy Thomas (76 not out) had added 130 for the second wicket.
At Shireshead on Sunday, Trimpell 2nd XI posted 218-3 with a career bests from Gareth Johnson (94 not out) and Andrew Muir (50 retired hurt) before they restricted Shireshead 3rd XI to 114-7.
Next Sunday sees Arnside host the T20 Division One Hackney and Leigh Semi-finals.
You have to go back to 1983 to find the last time Arnside won the Division One Cup.
They qualified for the semis with Adam Richardson and James Crawford in good form in the group games.
Captain Richard Hodgson will be relying on them and the bowling of Adam Cowperthwaite in their game against Shireshead.
Shireshead won all four qualifying games but were run close by Heysham and Milnthorpe and captain Dave Jack recognises the contributions played by Phil Oliver, Mike Mead, Joe Cunliffe, Joe Oliver and Irfan Qayyum in those victories.
Dave hopes to be able to select from a full squad andhope Tom Jacques is not needed in his day job at Royal Lytham. Carnforth play Westgate in the second semi-final.
Carnforth won all four group games with 50s for Chris Parry, Ryan Nelson, Adam Hornby and Brad Hoyle.
When they were struggling in their first game against Silverdale, Jack Thompson dug them out of a hole and together with Ryan Kitchenhas been the outstanding bowler in the competition.
Captain Hoyle, who led Carnforth to a treble last season, is hoping that Darren Nelson and Ryan Nelson will have recovered fully for Sunday.
Carnforth are without Kitchen so Archie Rich comes into the side. Hoyle identities Dylan Conroy as Westgate’s main threat with the bat and says that they will need to manage the leg-spin threat of Zak Buchanan.
Westgate go into the semi-final with last week’s league win over Carnforth in their memory banks.
They lost their first game to Burneside, but with captain Andy Hill leading the batting with support from Conroy and Sam Frith, who both scored 50s they won the return match and beat Trimpell twice to qualify on Net Run Rate.
Zak Buchanan, Dylan Conroy and Sam Conroy were the highest wicket takers.
Hill expects full squad availability except for the injured Andy Nisbet.
Hill identified Parry and Ryan and Darren Nelson as the key players for Carnforth, together with their all rounder Tom Parkinson.
The day starts at 11am with Arnside v Shireshead.
Carnforth v Westgate is at 2.30pm and the usual big crowd can expect two high scoring games.
Last year, incredibly, Tom Jacques (Shireshead) and Darren Nightingale (Burneside) scored hundreds in the semi-finals, but both were on the losing side.