St Annes close to title win

St Annes must win their last match of the season against Netherfield to take the 3D Northern Premier League title.

St Annes comfortably defeated Lancaster by eight wickets to take 12 points last week after restricting the visitors to 190-7 with Jannisar Khan making 88 not out and Mansoor Ahmed taking 5-94. They then knocked off the runs with 194-2 as Gareth Evans made 84 not out, Ian Austin 59 and Adrian Darlington 41.

Blackpool did them a massive favour by beating Netherfield to knock them out of title contention. Netherfield were bowled out for 163 in 47.5 overs thanks to skipper Paul Danson's 5-37 as only Chris Parry with 81 not out, carrying his bat, made any significant contribution to the cause as Sunil Joshi made 37 and Simon Little 12. Justin Kreusch in his final game for the club then made 76 not out and with Adam Parker making 72, Blackpool were home by seven wickets with 164-3.

Morecambe defeated Chorley which means they are in top spot 10 points, ahead of St Annes, but they are with a match on Saturday having now completed all their fixtures.

St Annes need to win to take the title. A win batting second would give them 12 points and thus the title by two points. But they may need a win batting first which would give them 15 points and a five point advantage.

That is because they may face a deduction of four points for playing Mahendra Nagamootoo in place of Shane Harwood earlier in the season. A league decision will be made today.

A draw, even with maximum bonus points, to leave them them on equal points with Morecambe, would not be enough as the north Lancashire team would win the title on most games won.

Fleetwood got off to a flying start at Darwen with Kyle Smit, 85, and Nick Coultas, 58, and then James Ellis added 36, John Whalley 16 and Wayne Clarke 16 as they totalled 241-9. The target was no problem to Darwen though who won by eight wickets with 242-2 in 39.3 overs as Atif Ashraf scored 140 not out, Cordingley 54 not out and Semple 28.

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