Morecambe edge out Lancaster in topsy-turvy derby thriller

Eddy Read's 67 proved key as Morecambe beat Lancaster on bank holiday Monday. Picture: Tony North
Eddy Read's 67 proved key as Morecambe beat Lancaster on bank holiday Monday. Picture: Tony North

Morecambe claimed bank holiday derby bragging rights on Monday in a thrilling victory over Lancaster at Woodhill Lane.

In a game that ebbed and flowed to the final ball, Morecambe took the points but local league cricket was undoubtedly the winner.

Eddy Read’s unbeaten 67 made all the difference in the end. The Yorkshireman’s fine knock at number seven took Morecambe out of the mire and gave them a position of strength.

Home skipper Josh Dixon had earlier decided to bat first but it was Iain Perrieman who set the ball rolling for the visitors as Adam Derham was surprised by a full toss to depart for a first ball duck.

Perrieman struck gold again soon after as pro Suraj Randiv flashed at a wide delivery only to edge behind to Lee Sparks leaving Morecambe 6 for 2.

Dixon and Ryan Pearson were Morecambe’s in-form men and they set about steadying proceedings.

But sustained pressure from Moffat and Perrieman induced errors as Dixon missed a full one from Perrieman before Moffat chalked his first down in the wickets column tempting Pearson into a big drive and it was 31 for 4.

Lewis Edge and Gareth Pedder looked to finish the rebuilding job and were helped as a Pedder edge went to the turf in the slips.

But Moffat had his tail up and Edge was dealt an unplayable delivery hitting the top of off stump leaving the Morecambe ‘keeper stunned.

Read entered at 50 for 5 and was offered an early life in a miss Lancaster would come to rue.

As Perrieman tired Pedder and Read began to feel more comfortable as the score began to tick forwards but Moffat’s perseverance paid off as Pedder chased a ball pushed wider and once again Sparks made no mistake – 65 for 6.

Hope remained for Morecambe with Read at the crease. Moffat cleaned up youngster Lewis Smith for 7 to pick up his fourth but his fifth proved elusive as skipper Ben Simm looked to his bowling options after a marathon spells from his pacemen.

Will Fraser-Gray provided able support to Read who looked to accelerate against Simm and former Morecambe man Callum East.

Morecambe pushed beyond three figures before East won the battle of the young guns with Fraser-Gray opened up by an East away-swinger leaving Sparks to take an excellent diving catch to his right.

Read was beginning to find his range, supported by veteran Tommy Clough, giving Morecambe a platform to push from.

Clough holed out to give Simm his only wicket but Morecambe had recovered to 134 for 9.

Read hit out in the final over, bringing up his 50 with a slog sweep over mid-wicket for six before depositing two more over the ropes to finish on a superb unbeaten 67 and take Morecambe to 160 for 9.

Given Saturday’s batting collapse, Lancaster faced a tricky chase and their cause wasn’t helped early on as Jamie Heywood pushed at a wide Jamie Cassidy delivery to snick off for nought – 6 for 1.

Rameez Raja entered signalling his intentions early. Cassidy dropped fractionally short only to be deposited over the square leg boundary for six.

Read toiled with no luck against newly promoted Alex Metcalfe before Dixon turned to his professional for the breakthrough.

Raja’s tussle with Randiv was a fascinating one. The Pakistani international looked to hit out at the Sri Lankan first hitting him over long-on for six before making room for himself to pepper the cover boundary.

Metcalfe was then well short of his ground attempting an ill-advised second only for Edge to call the left-hander back after dislodging the bails with his pads.

Lancaster passed 50 with Raja looking dangerous but with the score on 72 the game began to swing on Morecambe’s favour.

Metcalfe gave Randiv his first as Pedder took a stunning one-hander at second slip off a leading edge before the key wicket came.

Raja passed his 50 but once again couldn’t go on to bigger things with Read the beneficiary as Raja attempted one big shot too many finding Adam Derham at mid-off.

And three down became four down soon after as Perrieman was trapped in front of all three by Randiv to put Lancaster 93 for 4 at drinks.

Charlie Swarbrick and Iain Burstow tried to build a partnership – Swarbrick hitting an imperious straight maximum off Randiv.

Dixon turned to Tommy Clough and he made the breakthrough. Swarbrick looked to lift the off-spinners into the leg-side only for Randiv to take a stunning catch at the second attempt.

Further trouble was brewing for Lancaster when Burstow top-edged a sweep to a sliding Fraser-Gray at deep-backward square – 111 for 6.

The visitors’ lower-order was now exposed. Sparks lasted two balls – bowled trying to launch Clough into the stratosphere.

And it looked job done for the hosts as Clough picked up his third castling Simm for nought before Randiv trapped Liam Moffat for 1 to leave the Lune Road 122 for 9.

Kieran Moffat and East kept the hosts sweating. The junior Moffat showed his counterparts how to do it – lifting Randiv over the leg-side to give Lancaster a sniff of victory.

East played his part too and when the pair took Lancaster into single figures of runs required it looked as though the visitors might pull off a shock win.

A sharp piece of work from Lewis Edge saw that it wasn’t to be. With two overs left, Moffat missed a drive off Read dragging his back foot out leaving Edge to whip off the bails.

Morecambe had got over the line and Moffat’s fine efforts were in vain as Lancaster fell just eight short of the winning post.