Lytham crowned despite defeat

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Lytham were finally crowned the Bridging Finance Solutions Liverpool and District Cricket Competition Premier League champions despite falling to a final day defeat against Highfield.

It was Lytham’s first loss since the opening match of the season and they finish the 2012 campaign with an incredible 17 victories after finishing exactly 100 points above their nearest rivals.

Highfield compiled 220-7 off 55.1 overs with Simon Mollitt top scoring with 83. There were three wickets apiece for Lytham’s Anthony Mulligan (3-54) and Daniel Edwards (3-25).

In reply, the champions appeared to be cruising at 123-3 with opener Nick Knight (58) giving the home side a strong start. But a flurry of middle order wickets fell as Lytham lost five batsmen for just 13 runs to the bowling of Lancashire’s Andrea Agathangelou who claimed 6-49. Lytham were eventually dismissed for 211 but the celebrations had already started as the championship trophy returned to Church Road for the second time in three years.

At the bottom there was heartbreak for Rainford as they slipped into Division One following an eight wicket defeat at New Brighton.

Nic Hendrie’s batting form has seen him score over 700 league runs for Rainford this season and his 75 was the lone highlight as the visitors were bowled out for 155. Ashraf Nawab (3-50) and Louis Botes (3-25) took the wickets and Botes (79no) completed an excellent match as he and Neil Cross (70no) shared a third wicket partnership of 146 to take New Brighton to victory and condemn Rainford to a return to Division One after two years in the Premier League.

Colwyn Bay will join Rainford in the second tier next season despite pulling off a win against Southport and Birkdale at Penrhyn Avenue. Colwyn Bay’s victory moved them off the bottom but the result became irrelevant following Hightown’s win over Leigh.

An extraordinary bowling performance from Leigh’s Matthew McKiernan saw him follow up last week’s 8-38 against Lytham with figures of 9-37 as Hightown were dismissed for 110.

In reply Leigh collapsed from 50 for 3 to 87 all out thanks to Ian Sutcliffe (5-47) and Shaftab Khalid (4-33) as Hightown secured their Premier League status for another season.
Northern’s cup exploits have seen them take the foot off the gas in recent weeks and they warmed up for the following day’s Lancashire Cup final with a heavy defeat to rivals Bootle.

Skipper David Snellgrove (55) helped Bootle reach 153 all out with Nicky Caunce (3-18) and Justin Snow (4-31) doing the damage for Northern. However their efforts were eclipsed by Lancashire spinner Stephen Parry who claimed 6-22 as Northern were bundled out for just 64.

Outgoing champions Ormskirk sneaked into second place following the defeats for Northern and Leigh after they beat Maghull at Brook Lane.

Maghull, who will be pleased with their season after promotion last year, were dismissed for 184, with a quickfire 85 from Sabah Ghaus the highlight.

Jamie Barnes claimed 6-57 for Ormskirk as opener Andrew Baybutt (76no) and John Armstrong (58) took the home side to an eight-wicket win.