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Leyland celebrations go large

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There were wild scenes of celebration at Fox Lane after Leyland's First and Second XIs clinched their respective league titles in the Furness Building Society Northern Premier Cricket League (incorporating Readers Cricket Balls).

League chairman Norman Poole presented captain David Makinson with the Division One trophy and captain Chris Dovey with the Division Two trophy as players and supporters joined together to mark a superb achievement by the club.

The present Leyland CC was formed after Leyland and Farrington CC and Leyland Motors CC joined together in February 2007.

Leyland had previously been division one champions in 1961, 1981 and 1991 and Leyland Motors champions in 1973. Leyland were division two champions in 1952 and 1955 and Leyland Motors champions in 1953.

The last team to win both divisions in the same season were Morecambe in 2006.

Leyland, who visited West Cliff to take on Preston began the day with an 11-point lead over a Barrow side, fresh from their dramatic 10 runs win at Fox Lane kept the title race alive, who were at Chorley.

Both sides were aware that showery rain was forecast for the early evening.

Leyland struggled on a slow-paced pitch and battled to 126 for eight against Preston with Chris Parkinson (25), Henry Thompson (29 not out off 71 balls) and James Rounding (27) the major contributors.

Parkinson and Luis Reece posted 43 for the first wicket but thereafter Leyland had to battle hard against Bilal Asad and Manoj Parekh.

Asad, who bowled 25 overs despite being hampered by a hamstring injury took 4-43 while the veteran Parekh gave another master-class on his return to the side, taking 3-34 from 16 overs.

Preston's replay never got off the ground as Leyland pro Brett Pelser continued his fine late season bowling form.

Pelser took 8-22 from 12.3 overs and with skipper Makinson weighing in with 2-4 from seven overs, the Preston side lacking star amateur batsman Adam Parker, who was unavailable for the game, was dismissed for just 45.

Sajid Patel was the only home batsman to reach double figures, making 23 off 66 balls.

Leyland then had an anxious wait to discover the result from Chorley where Barrow had to win to keep alive their championship hopes.

Barrow posted 205 with England U17s star Liam Livingstone providing the mainstay of their innings with 58 off 111 balls.

Chris D'Leny made 32 off 37 balls as Chorley sub-pro Gaurav Dhar, who is on the MCC Young Professionals squad, wheeled away with his leg-spin to take six for 83 from 19 overs.

Chorley battled hard after recent dismal batting displays, Dhar making 40 off 60 balls and Michael Critchley 21 off 85 balls. Will Moulton then hit 45 off 50 balls until he was bowled by Barrow pro Pasan Wanasinghe.

Wanasinghe took 4-26 off 16 overs but the Chorley batsmen were in obdurate mood, skipper Andy Holdsworth and wicketkeeper Alex Weetman frustrating the home side by batting through 38 balls to salvage a creditable draw at 160 for seven.

The final five overs of the Chorley innings were relayed ball-by-ball by mobile 'phone back to Fox Lane where Ian Farrington, the Leyland fixture secretary passed on the commentary to the assembled throng on the outfield.

The final result was received with great jubilation in Leyland.

Leyland have 261 points with one game left, against Darwen at Fox Lane next Saturday. Barrow (244pts) lead defending champion St Annes (232pts) by 12 points with Darwen 205pts) fourth, Blackpool (195pts) fifth and Morecambe (178pts) sixth.

Third-placed St Annes hosted Lancashire Colts, who were completing their first season in the league. The Colts reached 199 as Ben Dowling took 448.

Despite losing openers Atiq Uz-Zaman and skipper Andy Kellett for ducks St Annes reached their target with two wickets to spare, teenager Nathan Armstrong hitting a superb 75 off 124 balls to spearhead the victory charge.

Darwen, in fourth place played Blackpool, one place below them at Birch Hall.

Cumberland county bowler Richard Gleeson reached the 50-wickets mark for the second season in succession as Darwen were routed for just 50, Andy Furniss contributing the other four wickets. Blackpool lost John Mounsey in achieving their target just before a quarter-to-three.

Lancaster were at home to Netherfield and emerged with a winning draw from a thrilling game. Jamie Heywood hit 51 in Lancaster's 190 for nine, Netherfield pro Nick Kruger taking 5-61.

Despite 45 from opener Ben Haddrick and 51 from Cumberland batsman Alex Atkinson Netherfield fell just short on 188 for nine, off-spinner Ben Simm taking 4-84 and leg-spinner Alex Metcalfe 3-40 on his return from a knee injury.

Kendal played the final game of their season when they hosted Morecambe at Shap Road and relied on a fine 85 from captain/pro Ross McMillan for reaching 152.

McMillan faced 89 balls and hit 13 of the 15 boundaries in the Kendal innings. Morecambe sub-pro Arslan Mir took 5-36 and the former Pakistan U19s star then hit an unbeaten 48 to steer his side to a six wickets win, Ikram Ullah making 64 off 71 balls against his former club.

There was a high-scoring game at Broadwater where Fleetwood confirmed their late season revival by earning 15 points against Carnforth.

Professional Matt Frith hit 89 before being run out and Adam Sharrocks (53 not out) and Ryan Smith (50 not out) shared an unbroken stand of 96 from 55 balls as Fleetwood reached 270 for five.

Adam Hornby's 41 and Tom Barnfield's 52 provided the mainstays of Caernforth's reply as then were bowled out for 196 despite a late flurry from Lewis Bradley (34).

Frith, who has been playing for Derbyshire Seconds in recent weeks, took 4-32 and Smith 3-51.