Spin twins make it three wins on bounce for Morecambe

Lukman Vahaluwala attempts a drive as Lewis Edge looks on.
Lukman Vahaluwala attempts a drive as Lewis Edge looks on.
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Spin twins Tommy Clough and Jake Smith starred with the ball as Morecambe made it three wins in a row at St Annes on Saturday.

The last three weeks have seen a resurgence in the Woodhill Lane outfit as they have overcome what was a disastrous June by defeating Barrow, Preston and now St Annes by two wickets, claiming 42 points in the process.

The victories have moved Morecambe within touching distance of the Lancashire Cup places.

Batting first on Saturday St Annes looked to be aggressive early on through Andy Kellet (16) however he was to become the first of Clough’s victims as he trapped him in front.

The dangerous Lukman Vahaluwala (15) was also snared leg before by Clough as he looked to sweep and when Yakub Bhamji brilliantly cartwheeled Matthew Taffe’s off stump out of the ground Morecambe were rampant.

St Annes however didn’t panic and through their professional Toby Bulcock (40) and Nanthesh Kiruparan (45) they rebuilt taking the score forward pushing the ball into gaps and allowing it to run away on what was a lightening outfield.

The introduction of Smith proved pivotal, the young leg spinner who has been in excellent form removed Bulcock leg before with his trademark slider. Clough then removed Kirparan for a well-made 45 before Smith went on to take the wickets of Jones, Grindley and Willis all without scoring producing his best spell of bowling in a Morecambe shirt.

St Annes had collapsed from a promising position at 118-4 they were bowled out for just 129 inside 47 overs.

With spin so instrumental in was inevitable that St Annes left arm spinner Bulcock would open the bowling and he accounted for Josh Dixon leg before with a full delivery which would have gone on to hit his leg stump.

Mark Woodhead however had got off to a flyer dispatching Vahaluwala through the cover region on numerous occasions.

Lewis Edge, full of confidence after his maiden hundred last week, could only make six and when Morecambe professional Vishal Tripathi was caught behind for 18 despite a couple of wonderful strokes Morecambe were reeling and St Annes’ below par total of 129 looked a long way away.

Woodhead continued on his merry way with a plethora of boundaries off Bulcock however wickets continued to fall at the other end as Matthew Grindley accounted for Ryan Pearson and Tom Barnfield who didn’t trouble the scorers.

Tommy Clough (27) looked to steady the ship alongside Woodhead and the pair batted beautifully together repelling the excellent Bulcock and Grindley whilst punishing any loose offerings.

But there was another twist in the tail, Woodhead (44) who looked certain to reach 50, gloved one which bounced a little to gully giving Grindley his fifth wicket.

St Annes were now favourites but James Law (12 not out) and Reg Cupit (eight not out) batted calmly to steer Morecambe to victory despite the loss of man of the match Clough in a nervous finish to a run chase which looked all so simple at tea.