Fylde coast cricket review: St Annes are NPL runners-up and Garstang look sure to lift Palace Shield

Matt Grindley
Matt Grindley

St Annes are runners-up in the Northern Premier League despite losing their final match by six wickets at Lancaster.

All the other final-day matches involving the top seven were rained off, including Blackpool’s encounter with champions Netherfield and Chorley’s visit to Fleetwood.

The only first division matches played involved the relegation-threatened bottom three, all of whom won.

Victories for Barrow and Kendal mean Lancaster remain bottom and could lose their place to the Palace Shield champions.

Lancaster put St Annes in at Lue Road and dismissed them for 71 in 21.1 overs as Ben Simm and Charlies Swarbrick bowled unchanged and took five wickets each. St Annes’ top three reached the teens but the other eight men in managed 16 between them.

Rain reduced the hosts’ target to 64 from 28 overs. They reached it with 15 balls remaining at 66-6 despite Matt Grindley’s 3-16 from 13 overs. St Annes’ former captain is the league’s top wicket-taker with 72, 14 clear of Fleetwood professional Neels Bergh.

Garstang look certain to be crowned Palace Shield champions after the penultimate weekend of matches was wiped out by rain.

Their home clash with Great Eccleston was the only premier division match to start on Saturday, when the three bonus points Garstang earned left them with an unassailable 12-point lead at the top.

Even if they lose their final match at Croston and their only title rivals Fulwood and Broughton earn the maximum 12 points at Torrisholme, Garstang would still be champions courtesy of having lost one fewer game.

The only way Garstang could conceivably be caught is if they are docked penalty points, for example for a slow over rate, for the first time all season,

Great Eccleston’s J Proctor took 5-51 to restrict Garstang to 101-8 but the visitors faced only 10 balls before being forced off at 8-2.

In the only game completed in the top three divisions, South Shore lost by 51 runs at home to New Longton.

It means second-placed Shore’s promotion to the premier division is not yet assured after they could only reach 73 in reply to 124.

Lytham lost their final home game by six wickets to Bootle in the Liverpool Competition.

The hosts were put in and number three Ryan Maddock (48) was the mainstay of their149-9 from 49.2 overs, William Purser taking 4-56 from 15.2.

A fourth-wicket stand of 74 between Lancashire’s (on loan atNorthants) Luke Procter, unbeaten on 41, and Neil Williams (40) steered Bootle to victory at150-4 in 27.5 overs.

Three wickets for Ryan Maddock had earlier given hope to Lytham, whose disappointing season ends at Wallasey on Saturday.