MORECAMBE got back to winning ways with a comfortable 83-run victory against title holders St Annes.
It was an excellent effort with bat and ball in glorious sunshine that will hopefully kick start Morecambe’s season after some patchy performances and personnel changes.
Welcoming back Mark Woodhead to the team, Morecambe were put in to bat and soon lost opener Josh Dixon, bowled by the prolific slow arm of ex-Sri Lankan international Dinuka Hettiarachchi.
This brought Umar Amin to the crease and after a nervous start the professional soon got into his stride, attacking the amateur bowlers with disdain whilst being a little more watchful against the experienced Hettiarachchi.
Woodhead was happy to anchor the innings given Amin’s dominance but he too punished anything loose given the chance.
The pair took the score beyond 100 as St Annes’ heads began to drop and it came as some what of a surprise when Woodhead finally succumbed to the slow left armer, who continued to bowl with some control.
Tom Barnfield replaced Woodhead and he continued the steady progress proving an excellent ally for Amin who celebrated his 100 by depositing Cummings for three sixes in four balls.
The former Pakistan test player has struggled on the green pitches so far this season but now has two big hundreds to his name following his 175 against at the start of the month.
He finally fell for a belligerent 135, a tremendous effort given the help offered to the bowlers on an already wearing wicket.
Barnfield again looked solid and his 30 along with a typically bullish cameo from young Ryan Pearson helped progress Morecambe’s score to 242.
St Annes reply started watchfully with their player-coach, former Pakistani international Atiq Uz-Zaman, looking as solid as ever.
The pressure of chasing a five an over total though soon got to him as he played an untypical lofted drive that was gleefully pouched at mid off. Former Morecambe player Charles Boucher came in at three and he too got off to a steady start before holing out, this time at mid-wicket, Amin taking an impressive one-handed catch.
To their credit Morecambe’s bowlers kept to their task well, given the glorious weather and fast outfield as the batsmen were constantly under pressure to score a boundary an over.
Callum Jones and Nanthesh Kiruparan had put on 70 in good time and began to harbour thoughts of a famous run chase but the reintroduction of Gareth Pedder immediately brought the next breakthrough for the bowling side with Jones picking out a grateful Tommy Clough at gully.
This began a regular tumble of wickets as Clough and Pedder bowled tight lines.
The constant pressure resulted in two mix ups as Hettiarachchi and Duncan Whalley were both left stranded and run out.
Clough deserved a better return for a fine spell of slow bowling that kept the batsmen in check throughout, he would have had too, but for two chances spilt with the last pair at the wicket.
It was Pedder though that finished the innings, taking a five-wicket haul in the process.
Although still not at their fluent best Morecambe will hope that this result will set them on a decent run.
St Annes 159ao
Northern Premier League