THINGS got interesting at the top of the Bridging Finance Solutions LDCC Premier Division on a rain affected day in which fourth-placed Leigh beat leaders Ormskirk and New Brighton maintained their good form to close the gap on the leaders.
New Brighton, for whom Martyn Evans put in a strong all round performance to dispatch of an under-par Lytham, will certainly still feel in contention at the top after closing the gap on leaders Ormskirk to just 13 points.
Choosing to bat, New Brighton were restricted to 154 all out as Marcus Sharp (5-56) starred with the ball for Lytham.
Of those 154, Evans scored 55 before returning in the field to take 6-52 as Lytham collapsed to 94 all out.
A disciplined bowling performance from Leigh, with Richard Dempster (3-39) the pick, restricted visitors Ormskirk to 146-8 in 53.4 overs, John Armstrong (72) the only batsman to make any significant headway.Š
ŠWith Simon Kerrigan back in their ranks, fresh from a starring performance for England Lions, Ormskirk had Leigh faltering, the Lancashire spinner taking 3-54.
ŠBut Hamish Kingston (34 not out) and Matty McKiernan (37 not out), who came together with the score at 82-5, steadied the ship to see Leigh home in 40.5 overs.
ŠNorthern, perhaps this season’s surprise package, played host to Rainford and captain James Cole lead from the front after being asked to bat, scoring 53 in a total of 190-7 declared, with Chris Tipper also chipping in with 48.
ŠRichard Stanyon and John Wildman then took three wickets each as Rainford were bowled out for 147, Michael Lambert top scoring with 58.
ŠThe runs flowed at Bootle and it was the openers from both teams who benefited, Australian Michael Swart (112) and David Snellgrove (79) sharing in a 190 run opening stand for Bootle to help their team to 250-5 declared off just 38 overs.
ŠAnother huge opening partnership followed as bottom club Newton le Willows had a good crack at the imposing target,ŠMark Fearnly (63) and Mike Walkden (49) putting on 124 before the first wicket fell.
ŠBut the Bootle attack then clicked into gear as all ten wickets fell for 106 runs, Josh Hine starring with 7-84 and Swart rounding off an impressive day with 3-67 to send Newton le Willows packing for 230 all out.
ŠThe day’s other two games were hit by the weather. James Taylor (82) and Mike Farrell (44), in an opening stand of 104, helped Highfield to an impressive 257-4 declared against Northop Hall, Gary Hughes also weighing in with 54.
ŠBut, with an hours play lost to rain, Northop Hall made 118-5 off 32 overs to draw the game.
ŠAnd there were just 10 overs remaining at Hightown when rain stopped play, the home team struggling on 61-8 after Colwyn Bay were bowled out for 186.