First Division - the leaders halt Hightown's run
Saturday 16th August 2003

Hightown have had the sort of run in recent weeks, six wins in seven starts, that has made them promotion contenders.

That run came to an end in a hard fought Competition first division clash at leaders Southport and Birkdale but they still cannot be ruled out of the shake up.

It leaves Ian Sutcliffe's side on 287 pts, with Fleetwood Hesketh (312 pts) and Sefton Park (317 pts) above them, and Southport in the clear on 383 pts.

Despite winning the toss, Hightown were restricted to 138 from 48.3 overs, as Nilesh Kulkarni (5-57) and home captain Malcolm Swift (4-45) once again proved troublesome. Gareth Glynne-Jones top scored with 44.

Southport could have found themselves struggling if catches had been held, but in form Craig Prince (62*) and Graham Standring (29) put together 85 for the fourth wicket to ease the leaders to a six-wicket margin.

Fleetwood closed the gap on Sefton with a comprehensive defeat of bottom club Worsley. From 72-4 after electing to bat, Abey Kuruvilla (77) and Peter Appleton (63) boosted the total with a partnership worth 105 for the fifth wicket.

Steve Rimmer called a halt at 224-8 from 43 overs and then Kuruvilla (4-69) and Hassan Bokhari (3-29) did the main damage as the visitors were dismissed for 147, Dane Adams (65).

Two excellent centuries highlighted the Formby v Sefton Park draw. Kiwi James Marshall's magnificent 143 ball 130 (143 balls, 14x4s, 3x6s) gave him 1000 for the season and Formby the initiative with a total of 252-7d in 53 overs after winning the toss. Marshall and Graeme Morris combined with 116 for the first wicket, Morris hitting 54 and Howard Parker took 3-56.

Paul Horton, who had scored 96* for the Lancashire Cricket Board yesterday, followed that up with a superb 114 as Sefton made a positive response, only to fall short at 238-7 (50). The skipper's 114 came from 135 balls with 18x4s. Steve Dutton finished with 4-68 and Marshall (3-79).

Darren Groves grabbed 6-33 as Liverpool were skittled for 87, Geoff Blackburn (44) at Caldy. Jason Cooper (31*) helped the home side to a four wicket win, Mohammad Zahid (4-47).

Orrell Red Triangle collapsed when victory was in their grasp against Colwyn Bay. The Welsh side had set a target of 193-6d after being inserted, Charlie Clubb (60) and Aaron Barnes (42) their top scorers.

Craig Stockdale (63) and Richard Smith (55) got the home side into a winning position at 174-3, but from 177-5 they did not score another run as Gareth Edwards (5-33) and Paul Jenkins (4-56) pulled off a remarkable win.

Highfield won a low scoring game at St Helens, who struggled to 122 from 34.1 overs. The visitors did not have it all their own way, slipping to 80-5, but they won the game for the loss of two further wickets, Tariq-ur-Rehman (31) and Sanjay Pandey (4-36).

Another hundred from West Indian Jimmy Adams put the game beyond St Helens Recs, but the game at Haydock petered out into a draw.

Adams struck 114 (8x4s, 2x6s) in the home side's 262-6d from 50 overs. In reply, Recs could only reach 192-7 in 47 overs, Mike Cooper (45*), Steve Garvey (31) with Barrington Rowland and Ian Huyton both scoring 30.