After the disappointment of yet another washed out Saturday Morecambe had their Lancashire Cup hopes dashed at home to Denton West on Sunday.
The Manchester-based Lancashire County League champions side brushed their hosts aside by five wickets in the second round at Woodhill Lane continuing Morecambe’s poor recent run of results.
Home skipper Tommy Clough signalled his intent by batting first on what looked a dry Woodhill Lane surface.
Morecambe gave a first XI debut to former Cumberland and Suffolk minor counties opening batsman Andrew Mawson who alongside regular opener Josh Dixon got on with it from the start before Dixon fell to a smart piece of wicket keeping.
Mawson showed real aggression at the crease which was probably to be his downfall as he played over the top of a straight one.
As seems to be the case this season, Morecambe wickets fell in clusters as Ryan Pearson and then professional Kelly Smuts went.
Morecambe’s run rate was excellent but the wickets column was the problem as Lewis Edge fell caught and bowled as Denton turned to spin.
Jordan Willoughby however had other ideas, despite being dropped on 0 the Queenslander dug in and made a fluent 48, ably supported by Ayush Sharma.
The 18-year-old Australian looked at home against the Denton attack showing his ability and talent before running past the off spin of John Remmers two short of what would have been a well-deserved first half century for the club.
Morecambe were fortunate that the tail wagged alongside Willoughby as they finished on a more than competitive 150 all out.
The Denton response started poorly as James Law trapped Nick Doyle without troubling the scorers but it didn’t give the hosts the spark they needed as visiting skipper Mike Berry alongside Gareth Senior moved Denton forcefully forward helped by the more than friendly Morecambe bowling attack.
Just as Denton looked to have a tight grip on the tie professional Smuts snared Senior behind the wicket for a hard-fought 27.
Suddenly the game was in the balance but Denton continued to move forward with Mike Berry playing what looked to be a captain’s innings as he passed 50.
In many ways Morecambe knew the game was up and even with the wicket of Denton skipper Berry (53) caught by Willoughby off the bowling of Smuts (2-24), Denton were to go on and win the game with three overs to spare.
Captain Clough said; “It was very disappointing. We just didn’t really turn up to be honest.
“We didn’t bat well and were 80-8 before Jordan Willoughby and Ayush Sharma got us to 150.
“But we bowled poorly too and got what we deserved.
“They knocked off the runs with three and a half overs to spare so we played poorly but didn’t get annihilated.
“The most disappointing thing is if we’d played anywhere near our top level, we could have beaten them because I don’t think they’re anything like the strongest side in the competition.”