Longridge’s iron grip on top spot of the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division is slipping.
Nick Wilkinson’s men were well beaten by Vernon Carus on Saturday, which means they are now just eight points clear of second-placed Lancaster and only 20 in front of in-form Kendal.
Vernons themselves still have an outside chance of gate-crashing the promotion party. They are in fifth – 18 points behind Lancaster.
In a rain-affected encounter, Longridge were always going to be up against after Vernons posted a sizeable 256-9 thanks to half-centuries from Christian Ash (55) and Ben Duerden (73). Matt Greenall took 4-70. Chasing a revised target of 211 off 37 overs, the home side were restricted to 148-7. Zac Christie scored 47, while Matthew Timms returned figures of 3-49.
Lancaster always looked destined for victory after removing Penwortham’s top three batsmen for ducks at Lune Road. Visiting skipper Ashley Billington’s 44 provided some respectability, but Pen were eventually dismissed for 85 off 27.4 overs. Ben Simm took 4-17 and Liam Moffat 3-23. Lancaster raced to victory in reply for the loss of three wickets inside 16 overs. Charlie Swarbrick struck an unbeaten 34.
With five games to go, third-placed Kendal will fancy one of those two promotion spots. Chris Miller (6-23) and Saeed Bariwala (3-34) kept Eccleston under a tight rein at Shap Road. Michael Atkinson struck 30, but the visitors were dismissed for 102. The home side eased to victory inside 25 overs, losing just three wickets in the process.
Fourth-placed Croston are still in with a shout of finishing in the top two, although their hopes took a big knock against South Shore at Old Emanuel School. After winning the toss, the visitors racked-up 223-9 with Daniel Jardine (71) starring with the bat. Jonathan Driver and Callum Mcilveen took four wickets apiece. Croston’s reply did not get off to the best of starts as they were reduced to 7-2. Mcilveen (30) and Ian Dickinson (26) provided some form of recovery but they were eventually dismissed for 173. Tyne Davis took 4-50 and Neil Ashford chipped-in with 3-50.
New Longton enjoyed an emphatic victory over Great Eccleston at Hall Lane. The visitors racked-up a huge 262 all out with Aidan Walsh (61) and Mohsin Modhi (63) the main runscorers. Peter Whittle (6-71) impressed with the ball. In reply, Great Ecc closed on 188-8. Stephen Yardley took 3-29.
Basement boys Torrisholme won the battle of the bottom two – getting the better of Thornton Cleveleys by four wickets. Jeff Stobbart took 4-21 to contain Cleveleys to 161 all out.