First Division - Sefton and Fleetwood narrow Southport's lead
Saturday 23rd August 2003

With Southport and Birkdale and Colwyn Bay not playing, there was an opportunity for Sefton Park  in second place and Fleetwood Hesketh to narrow the gap at the top of the table.

Early rain delayed Sefton Park's start by fourteen minutes, but two hours later, their match at home against Orrell Red Triangle was all over with the visitors being dismissed for 59 from 18 overs. Dean Chisnall top scored with 20 whilst opener Craig Stockdale added 13 and captain Neil Middlehurst 12* at no 11.

The Sefton batsmen quickly knocked off the runs in 9 overs to reach 62-1 and gain 24 valuable points with Ian Fielding 28* and Peter Squires 17*.

Fleetwood Hesketh bowled St Helens Recs out for 34 in 27.4 overs at Ruskin Drive with 17 year old Hassan Bokhari clinching his best analysis of 5-14 from 7.4 overs. Abey Kuruvilla backed him up with 3-13 whilst skipper Steve Rimmer took 2-2. 

Fleetwood's reply of 35-3 took just 8.3 overs but, despite winning, they only picked up 20 pts leaving them a further 4 pts behind Sefton Park and 51 pts behind leaders Southport and Birkdale.

Hightown kept in touch with the top three after a 16 runs win over St Helens after declaring on 200-9 from 49.4 overs with Mark Warren (60), Sunil Joshi (33), Ian Sutcliffe (31) and Dave Worrall (30) with Sanjay Pandey taking 4-69.

Hightown took the last St Helens wicket with 2 balls remaining after they had totalled 184, Craig Horabin (35), Pandey (20), Joshi (4-42) and Nathan Heathcliff-Core (3-54).

Highfield declared at 204-7 against Haydock with Tariq-ur-Rehman hitting his second century of the season (100*) with Richard Farrell adding 31. It was a challenging total for Haydock but with Jimmy Adams falling for 49 and Mark Swann for 22, Haydock succumbed to 117 all out from 38.2 overs with Tariq-ur-Rehman claiming 5-29 and Stephen Peet, 4-32.

Liverpool recorded their fifth win in nine games, this time against Formby at Aigburth. Formby had had the home side at 82-4, but 15 year old Daniel Jackson (76) added 62 for the fifth wicket with Graeme Doran (42) and then 66 for the seventh wicket with Andy Rogers (30) before Jamie Haynes declared at 223-8 with paceman Steve Dutton taking 4-55 against his former club.

James Marshall hit a century last week to take him through the 1000 mark but just managed to face two balls today as he was one of five Formby batsmen who failed to score. Nathan Hopper reached 44 but his side were dismissed for 83 from 36.5 overs with Mohammad Zahid taking 5-34 to give him 50 wickets for the season.

Bottom team, Worsley, batted out for a draw after Caldy had taken 50 overs to reach 198-6 after Mike Deakin (72) and Dave Aston (61) had opened with 120. Darren Groves added 20 as Niall Howarth finished with 3-52. With 58 overs to reply, Worsley ended with 144-9 after Danny McKeown had scored 36, Groves taking 4-38 and Andy Roberts, bowling instead of wicket keeping, taking 3-44.