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Match Day 17th May 2003


By Gerry Wolstenholme

St Annes 0, Leyland 1

Morecambe 3, Chorley 2

Blackpool 3, Netherfield 2,

Preston 2, Kendal 3

Darwen 2, Leyland Motors 3

Fleetwood 2, Lancaster 4

Well they sound as though they are football scores but in fact they are the results of the first round of games in the Northern Premier League's thwaites Smooth Bitter Cup competition.

Rain all over the county ruined the day's programme and every game, in both divisions, ended in a bowl-out. One hundred and thirty two balls were sent down at stumps and 27 of them hit the timber - it just shows what a difficult job umpires have in arbitrating on leg before wicket decisions!

Lancaster were the most accurate side and achieved the biggest win by four strikes to two against Fleetwood. All the remaining games were won by a difference of just one strike of the stumps.

At Stanley Park there was never any remote chance of play as the ground was under water long before the scheduled start. In between the showers and torrential downpours, players gathered on the artificial track to bowl at the stumps.

Tommy Prime won the toss for Netherfield and elected to bowl first. Pieter Strydom missed down the off-side and when Blackpool's Dion Kruis struck off stump with his first ball, it was first blood to the home side. Excitement for the two spectators, and some officials, was tremendous.There was even the sight, just, of the new coloured shirts for some of the Blackpool players sported theirs while other players elected to take protection from the elements with waterproof tops and trousers!

After other near misses, and some not so near, Steve Mercer struck with Blackpool's third ball as he knocked back the leg stump. It was a ball that, in a game, might well have brought an appeal for leg before wicket but with the ball moving away down leg side the umpire would have been severely tested to give the correct verdict!

Chris Simcock struck again for Blackpool with the fifth ball before Ryan Wilson and Rishi Girdhari made it 3-2 with Netherfield's ninth and tenth balls. The chance of a golden goal, or perhaps more appropriately, a sudden death ball was averted when Grahame Clarke missed the final ball for Netherfield thus confirming Blackpool's victory.

And so it was off the rain sodden turf to watch some exciting FA Cup action ... or perhaps not. The 3-2 victory at Stanley Park had more exciting moments and at least it was over in 15 minutes.

Let us hope that round two brings the sunshine and some proper cricket results to make the final two section table reflect the best teams at the top.

In the second division bowl-outs were also the order of the day and they resulted in:

Leyland 0, St Annes 1 - First/Second aggregate score 1-1

Chorley 2, Morecambe 5 - First/Second aggregate score 4-8

Netherfield 3, Blackpool 2 - First/Second aggregate score 5-5

Kendal 2, Preston 3 - First/Second aggregate score 5-5

Leyland Motors 0, Darwen 3 - First/Second aggregate score2-6

Lancaster 1, Fleetwood 0 - First/Second aggregate score 5-2

Pools news will be announced later!!

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