Longridge CC open up Palace Shield advantage

Longridge batsman John Simpson struck a century against Penwortham
Longridge batsman John Simpson struck a century against Penwortham

Longridge took a firm grip on the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield title race with victory on what could be a key weekend.

Nick Wilkinson’s players were 165-run winners against Penwortham on Saturday while their nearest challengers, Lancaster, lost a rain-affected match with Kendal.

It means Longridge are now 22 points clear at the top with only seven matches of the season remaining.

After being asked to bat first by their hosts, Longridge’s openers laid the foundation for their eventual score of 256-4 from 45 overs.

Simpson and Neil Holden took a liking to the home attack and were only separated once the latter had reached 57.

Josh Mullin contributed 18 and Dan Wilkinson Jnr was dismissed without scoring but Simpson continued to take the attack to Penwortham.

His stay was finally ended once he had reached 110 but James Whitehead ensured there was no let-up for the home attack as he contributed an undefeated 43.

Saturday’s rain, however, meant Penwortham were set a revised target in their bid for victory.

They faced the task of making 220 from 31 overs, something which proved well beyond them as they could only struggle to 54-5 from 24 overs by the close of play.

Longridge’s bowlers again stood up when required with all of them bowling economically.

Jon Millward dismissed both openers, Robbie Sumner (7) and Alex Ryding (14) as he ended with 2-25 from seven overs.

Ian Simpson also claimed a pair of wickets as he got the better of Neil Patel (4) and Andrew Tobutt (1) to end with 2-7 from five overs.

Rory McDowell accounted for Sam Ryding (5) in taking 1-15, while Matt Greenall went wicketless despite only conceding seven runs from half-a-dozen overs.