Superb innings by Swarbrick helps keep Lancaster’s season alive

Charlie Swarbrick.

Charlie Swarbrick.

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A superb innings by Charlie Swarbrick kept Lancaster’s dreams of a title this season alive.

From 27 for 5, Swarbrick and Sam Moorby put together a 90-run partnership to shock table toppers Leyland.

A wet Lune Road surface encouraged home skipper Ben Simm to bowl first but boundaries came quickly early on.

Liam Moffat threatened the most by castling Tom Reece (8) and beating the dangerous Richard Frenz early on.

Paceman Iain Perrieman struggled with his radar first up but removed Karl Cross attempting one big drive too many for 15.

Frenz rebuilt with Henry Thompson but Swarbrick’s tight medium pace put a strangle on the run rate.

Pro Abhimanyu Khod leaked runs but Swarbrick made the vital breakthrough on the stroke of drinks having Thompson caught and bowled for 14.

At 90 for 3 Leyland had a good platform but Simm and Swarbrick put the brakes on.

Frenz reached 50 but Simm’s quicker ball did for the visiting pro, trapping him in front of all three.

Nathan McDonnell (18) struggled to get going on the sluggish surface and a returning Perrieman, this time bowling left arm spin, had the right hander caught at long off after forcing Andrew Makinson into a false shot.

Ross Bretherton’s unbeaten 22 pushed Leyland towards 150 but Moffat returned to finish off the innings in style with a mixture of slower balls and yorkers.

Lancaster’s chase looked to have fallen flat on its face early on. Alex Metcalfe nicked off for a second ball duck quickly followed by Jamie Heywood for six.

Tall seamer Will Jacques continued to cause problems – Khod cleaned up without troubling the scorers at 16 for 3.

Kieran Moffat suffered a similar fate after a nip-backer from Cross and when Rajat Agarwal became Jacques’ fourth, Lancaster were staring at an early cup exit.

However, Swarbrick steered Lancaster to safety with sensible stroke play while Moorby looked to nudge the occasional single.

With Leyland’s attack lacking firepower, Swarbrick branched out – planting three balls onto the banking to take Lancaster beyond the hundred mark.

The game had turned and by the time Moorby was out caught and bowled for a vital 25, Lancaster required less than 40.

As the runs ticked by Swarbrick tired and was eventually undone by a good ball from Henry Thompson for 77 and it was left to the cool heads of Luke Phillips (18no) and Perrieman (10no) to knock off the remaining runs and see Lancaster home to a thrilling three-wicket win.