New Zealander Daryl Mitchell was an instant smash-hit as Blackpool made it two wins out of two in the Northern Premier League with a thumping eight-wicket win over Morecambe, while Fleetwood played out the most dramatic of ties with Darwen and St Annes lost their opening match at home to Lancaster.
Blackpool professional Mitchell, who only arrived in the country last week, made the grandest of entrances as he followed his five Morecambe wickets with an unbeaten 98.
The hosts also welcomed strike bowler Richard Gleeson back to Stanley Park a week after dismissing England captain Alastair Cook while playing Northants in the County Championship.
Champions Morecambe were put in to bat and were soon in desperate straits at 1-2, opener Lewis Smith falling first ball to Gleeson.
But that was the stalwart seamer’s only success in 11 overs and the day belonged to Mitchell from then on.
The Kiwi, who turns 25 later this month and ended his season with Northern Districts in his homeland barely a month ago, took 5-41 from 13.4 overs as Morecambe were dismissed for 146 in 46.4.
Half their runs were scored by number three Ali Azmat, whose 73 from 92 balls included five fours and as many sixes.
Azmat was eighth out at 142, leaving number nine Tommy Clough as his side’s next-best scorer with an unbeaten 15.
Mitchell then fired an unbeaten 98 from 81 balls as Blackpool required only 32.4 overs to reach 150-2.
The powerhouse pro struck 66 in boundaries (12 fours, three sixes) in an unbroken stand of 133 with Gleeson (26). They came together with the total on 17 after Blackpool had lost both openers.
Beaten by Blackpool the previous week, Darwen tied at Fleetwood, having put their hosts in and removed them for 137 in 45.1 overs.
Fleetwood couldn’t build on a solid opening stand between Adam Parker (48) and professional Travis Dean (29) as John Cordingley took 5-29 from 15.1 overs and David Bowden 4-38 from 14.
Darwen opener John Painter then carried his bat for 28 but saw team-mates come and go regularly at the opposite end until last man Sam Painter fell lbw to Dean for a duck with just a single needed from victory from more than four overs.
He was the pro’s fourth victim for 26 from 14 economical overs as Darwen were also all out for 137, James Amor bowling tidily too for 3-14 from seven overs.
St Annes belatedly got their league campaign under way against Lancaster but were thumped by 10 wickets at Vernon Road.
Put in to bat, St Annes were dismissed for 136 in 32.5 overs despite the best efforts of number six Thomas Bradley, whose 56 from 65 balls included seven fours.
Number 10 Mitchell Bolus chipped in with a late unbeaten 41 but the damage had been done earlier as St Anne’s top three scored only five runs, with Iain Perrieman taking 5-26 off 10.5 overs and Liam Moffat 4-45 off 12.
Lancaster’s openers then spent 35.2 overs accumulating 138 as Jamie Heywood made 77 off 123 balls and the faster-scoring Alex Metcalfe 81 off 59.
Northern League action continues today, with all three Fylde coast first XIs away: Blackpool at Chorley, Fleetwood at Morecambe and St Annes at Leyland.
Lytham have drawn their opening two matches batting second in the Liverpool Competition ECB Premier League.
A star-studded Formby side were the first visitors to Church Road and they chose to bat, declaring at 247-2 from 44.2 overs after good knocks by all their top four.
Ian Cockbain was first out for 41 after sharing an opening stand of 93 with Ian A Cockbain, who fell next for 66 from 76 balls (10 boundaries).
Tym Crawford with 76 from deliveries 71 (13 boundaires) and Dane Williams with 52 from 57 (nine) then put on an unbroken 115 from third wicket,
Taylor Cornall was again the mainstay of the Lytham reply, which was solid enough in reaching 192-5 from 62 overs but never threatened the Formby total.
Opener Cornall top-scored with 57 from 128 balls (five fours) and put on 76 for the second wicket with captain Dom O’Brien (38) before being dismissed soon afterwards by a Formby attack which included Gary Keedy and Stephen Parry.
MOORE & SMALLEY PALACE SHIELD
Premier division: Croston 124-8 lost to Vernon Carus 184-6 by 62 runs, Freckleton 48-2 beat Fylde 47 by eight wickets, Garstang 202 beat Torrisholme 65 by 137 runs, Great Eccleston 283-9 beat Thornton Cleveleys 195 by 88 runs, Longridge 140 lost to Penwortham 145-3 by seven wickets
Division One: BAC/EE Preston 40 beat Withnell Fold 101 by 39 runs, Eccleston 74-3 beat Kirkham & Wesham 73 by seven wickets, Fulwood & Broughton 2 237-9 beat Longridge 2 114 by 123 runs, Hoghton 50 lost to Rufford 52-3 by seven wickets, Norcross 116 lost to Garstang 2 118-4 by six wickets, Vernon Carus 2 210 beat White Coppice 76 by 134 runs.
Division Two: South Shore 71-3 beat Gregson Lane 69 by seven wickets, Wrea Green 97 lost to New Longton 133-9 by 36 runs.