Morecambe’s miserable run continued at home to St Annes on Saturday as they slipped to a heavy six-wicket defeat to the side from the Fylde coast.
Batting first Morecambe were humbled for a mere 83 runs in yet another poor display with performances with the bat continually making life hard for their bowlers.
In the absence of professional Kelly Smuts, who was attending the wedding of his brother back home in South Africa, former Woodhill Lane professional Werner Cotsee stood in for the afternoon and was soon into the action, as the returning Ikram Ullah drove wildly outside his off stump and was smartly caught at third slip off the bowling of Michael Harling for just a single.
Cotsee’s stay at the crease however was also short lived, after losing a life driving loosely outside the off stump, St Annes skipper Andy Kellet brought his fine leg up to third slip and was rewarded the following ball as Lukman Vahaluwala (2-34) enticed the drive yet again and Cotsee was on his way with Morecambe reeling at 10-2.
Ryan Pearson joined opener Josh Dixon at the crease and the former Heysham pair worked hard to repel the St Annes pace attack.
Both looked solid in defence and began to mix intelligent running with attacking strokes which began to find the boundary.
With the score at 40 and the pair beginning to take the initiative both Pearson (11) and Dixon (16) were to fall in successive overs, victims of insightful bowling changes from skipper Kellet.
Morecambe are low on confidence and the trend of loosing wickets in bunches continued as Lewis Edge fell for a duck.
Jordan Willoughby, last week’s saviour, fell for just five and Morecambe’s woes with the bat looked set to continue.
James Law (11) showed some resistance down the order and it was left to Ayush Sharma and Jono Gates (10) to ensure Morecambe reached 83 in a naive batting display.
Skipper Tommy Clough asked his side to show fight and character at half-time with the damage seemingly already done.
They did this to an extent with Gates picking up the highly regarded but out of form Adam Holt for a duck.
Yakub Bhamji ran in hard and picked up a wicket of his own as Cumberland’s Matthew Taffe drove straight to Dixon.
Several other chances were to come Morecambe’s way but Vahaluwala’s 41 from just 32 balls smashed Morecambe out of sight.
Cotsee picked up two wickets of his own trapping Vahaluwala in front and having professional Toby Bulcock snaffled at mid-off by Dixon.
Morecambe squeezed however 83 was never enough and St Annes completed the chase for the loss of four wickets inside 22 overs.
Morecambe must look to salvage something from this season as they play three games next weekend, travelling to local rivals Lancaster on Friday evening in the TWP Wealth Twenty20, playing Preston at Woodhill Lane in the league on Saturday before completing the weekend’s fixtures at Stanley Park against Blackpool in the Readers League Cup.