Familiar errors sent Lancaster down to another league defeat in East Lancashire on Saturday.
Lancaster lost eight wickets in the space of four overs in two dramatic collapses – scuppering any chances of the visitors overcoming second place Darwen.
Darwen’s strong batting line-up made first use of the pitch and opener Ammer Mirza attacked Liam Moffat from the off - taking 13 from his first over.
Moffat trapped Scott Jackson leg before for one but the runs flowed quickly with Darwen 50-1 in the eighth over.
Ben Simm got the wicket he deserved when Mirza couldn’t resist a flighted ball above his eye-line and picked out Rameez Raja at long-on for 63.
Liam Moffat returned and got his second wicket with the first ball of his new spell – sub-pro Wesley Lansdale clipping a full-toss low to Dan Chambers at mid-wicket – 146 for 3.
John Cordingley manoeuvred the field well in his innings before he finally fell to Simm on 68.
Darwen could afford to throw the bat and cameos from Mark Friend (24) and David Bowden (26 not out) took the hosts beyond the 200 mark but Lancaster could be happy chasing 215 for victory on an easy-paced pitch.
Simm was the pick of the bowlers with 4-70 from his 20-over spell. With plenty of work to do Lancaster’s innings got off to the worst possible start as Jamie Heywood edged a wide Niall Burke delivery behind first ball.
Despite the fall of Alex Metcalfe leg before for five, Raja and number four Charlie Swarbrick motored along at north of six-an-over to pile the pressure back on the hosts.
Passing 100 in just the 18th over, Raja brought up his quick-fire 50 but then came the collapse as 102 for 2 became 103 for 6 in a matter of minutes.
Swarbrick (33) was well set but tried one big shot too many, picking out mid-on off left-arm spinner David Bowden. Sam Moorby followed Swarbrick back next ball – adjudged leg before to an arm ball.
Kieran Moffat was next to join the procession – this time Lansdale got in on the act finding a way through the left-hander’s defences, 103 for 5.
All hope looked lost when Raja fell for 60 skewing to his opposite number to long-off to complete a gut-wrenching middle-order collapse.
Iain Perrieman (48) and Chambers (6) looked to rescue the situation. The pair batted for 20 overs and gave Lancaster an unlikely opportunity for a late charge at the winning post.
But at 163 for 6 with eight overs remaining another collapse ended any Lancaster chances. Perrieman’s fine innings ended short of a deserved 50 when Neil Cordingley found the outside edge of an attempted drive.
Simm and Callum East fell in the same over with both edging Cordingley to Lansdale at slip and the final blow came when Bowden trapped Chambers in front – Lancaster slipping to a 50-run defeat.
lA remarkable 48-ball century by Lee Sparks wasn’t enough to see Lancaster 2nd XI to victory at home to Darwen.
Dakshina De Silva (48) and skipper Matthew Liver (30) took Lancaster to a seemingly unassailable 251 all out but an unbeaten century from Mark Emery helped take Darwen over the line with five balls to spare.