Sour end as Darwen bowlers finish job off

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Morecambe travelled to Birch Hall in great form with the prospect of making it four league wins on the bounce.

Darwen won the toss and elected to bat first on a pitch which looked as though it may offer some assistance to the seam bowlers.

Darwen started brightly looking to punish any wayward deliveries and had reached 25 without loss until Vishal Tripathi had Jordan Clarke caught behind after the batsmen had tried to throw his hands through a wide 
delivery.

One soon became two after some excellent fielding from wicket-keeper Lewis Edge.

The dangerous Ammer Mirza called through for a leg-bye but keeper Edge collected the stray ball and threw down the stumps leaving Mirza stranded.

This meant two new batsmen at the crease, but where the opening pair failed Chris Clarke and John Cordingley (31) excelled, putting on a partnership of 91 before the latter was the first of three victims for club stalwart Tommy Clough.

Undeterred, Clarke (68) carried on reaching a deserved half century before he was deceived by Yakub 
Bhamji.

Pro Alan Kruger (32) added some impetus to the end of the innings but lacked any real support and so Darwen ended their allotted overs on 185-7 with the pick of the bowlers being Clough taking 3-49 off 17 overs.

Darwen looked to make early inroads and did so with Kruger bowling Dixon off his pads and then Wade had Ryan Pearson LBW for nine.

Morecambe were stumbling slightly with the score on 32-2 but the in-form Woodhead (48) and Tripathi (33) both batted fluently and moved the score on effortlessly until Woodhead fell two short of a deserved half century top edging to keeper Clarke.

Edge (7) looked confident but then fell in similar fashion but off the bowling of Lawrenson.

Barnfield (17) and professional Tripathi looked to steady the ship but a mix-up lead to Tripathi’s departure being run out just as he looked to accelerate his innings.

All-rounder Clough (27), buoyed after his previous innings, took the attack to Darwen and stroked the ball to all parts of the ground with a cocktail of flamboyant strokes.

When Clough departed so did Morecambe’s chances of knocking the total off.

Late drama meant that Barnfield was somewhat unfortunate to be controversially given out by means of obstruction, after the home skipper had upheld his appeal.

A sour end to what was a highly competitive game of cricket.

Morecambe will look to bounce back next weekend in what is a highly anticipated local derby.

Morecambe will entertain an inform Lancaster side who still harbour hopes of a league title.