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Crucial defeat for Lancaster as Longridge set sights on title

Lancaster's Charlie Swarbrick. Picture: Tony North
Lancaster's Charlie Swarbrick. Picture: Tony North
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Longridge took a step nearer the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division title after beating nearest challengers Lancaster by seven wickets on Saturday.

In a battle of the top two at Newsham, it was Longridge’s bowlers who laid the platform for victory.

Having asked their visitors to bat first, Longridge restricted Lancaster to 158-7.

Jon Millward took the first wicket to fall, having Steven Fisher (8) caught by Tom Howarth with the score on 15.

Fellow opener Lewis McGinley (21) followed, caught and bowled by Rory McDowell, which left Lancaster 39-2.

A stand of 57 followed for the third wicket, ended when Ian Simpson collected his first wicket with Kieren Moffat (15) caught by Kyle Helm.

Simpson struck again when he had Lee Sparks (17) caught by John Simpson with Lancaster now 120-4.

That was the first of three wickets to fall for 19 runs as Simpson and Helm combined to dismiss Charlie Swarbrick (48) before McDowell trapped Iain Perrieman (15) LBW.

Helm and Simpson again teamed up with Ben Simm (10) the final wicket to fall, giving Simpson figures of 4-46, while McDowell took 2-38 and Millward 1-28.

In reply, Longridge reached their target in the 33rd over for the loss of only three wickets.

They lost Helm (6) early on as he became the first of Swarbrick’s two wickets.

His second came when Josh Mullin (21) was bowled, leaving Longridge 53-2.

From there, the batters took the game away from Lancaster as Simpson and Dan Wilkinson Jnr added 67 before the former (34) was caught by Swarbrick off Perrieman.

Wilkinson was joined by James Whitehead and they took Longridge home.

Whitehead was 19 not out but it was Wilkinson’s undefeated 70 from only 55 deliveries which took Longridge to 162-3 and 11 points.