Eccleston’s title hopes dashed by neighbours

SAFE HANDS: Eccleston wicketkeeper David Hewson takes the ball watched by Mawdesley batsman Dave Whitele
SAFE HANDS: Eccleston wicketkeeper David Hewson takes the ball watched by Mawdesley batsman Dave Whitele
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Palace shield division two

Mawdesley - 158-4 Eccleston - 90

Neighbours Mawdesley dented Eccleston’s promotion prospects as they dealt their old foes a hammering in a shortened game at Doctors Lane on Saturday.

Due to heavy overnight and morning rain, the match started late with a maximum of 26 overs per side being possible.

Home skipper Jamie Maitland asked Mawdesley to bat first but was left to rue that decision.

After a short settling in period, openers Dave Whiteley and Brian Parr began to accelerate with positive strokes all around the wicket.

Whiteley was particularly severe on anything short and hit both opening bowlers for big sixes over mid-wicket, as he raced to 23 before being caught at point by Adam Gregory off Danny Flanagan, with the score at 38 in the eighth over.

Parr then took over, hitting four boundaries in successive overs, to force much-needed bowling changes.

The introduction of Thomas Wilkinson slowed down the flow of boundaries, but Parr and Darren Lemarinel picked off singles at will, until Parr was stumped for 38 with the score on 86 from 16 overs.

Alex Berry fell cheaply, but Lemarinel (38) and Martin Williams (27 not out) continued to punish the bowling, as Mawdesley closed their innings on a very competitive 158-4.

Achieving a run rate of over six an over with a damp outfield was always going to prove a mammoth task.

Mawdesley captain Paul Steadman made the brave decision to open with spin at both ends, which brought a flurry of early wickets due to rash shots.

Maitland, Stephen Gilbert and Rick Howarth were all snared by the Chris Hiley, while Wilkinson was brilliantly run out by son Jonty, as Hewson went for a risky single to cripple the home side at 13-4.

Veteran Iain Bradley then led a recovery as Dave Hewson took on the Mawdesley attack.

He hit a quickfire 40, including eight boundaries, until he was well caught at deep mid-wicket by Martin Bennett off Martin Williams.

Bradley (nine) then perished in similar fashion, and was followed swiftly by Chris Norris, who was brilliantly caught by Jonty Hiley off Alex Berry for just three.

When Gregory was bowled by Berry for one, the promotion chasers were left in an impossible position at 64-8.

A flurry of boundaries from young Declan Tracey took the score to 88 before he was trapped lbw by Berry for 18.

And the last rites were performed two runs later as Jonty Hiley had last man Flanagan caught at cover by Ben Ward for a duck.

Hiley finished with figures of 3-20, Williams 2-32, Berry 3-28 as Mawdesley romped home.

With only three games left, Eccleston’s fate was made worse as their nearest rivals Kirkham & Wesham gained maximum points to close the gap to just two.

As for Mawdesley, they maintain fourth spot with this fourth victory in a row.

And due to Whittingham’s game being washed out, they increased their lead over them to 11 points.

Next week the two meet at Rectory Field.