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First Division - Sefton Park delay Southport's celebrations
Saturday 30th August 2003

Trafalgar Road staged the First Division's match of the day between teams situated in first and second place in the table. 

Sefton Park won the toss against Southport and Birkdale and batted. Except for Paul Horton (48), the Sefton batsmen failed to cope with Nilesh Kulkarni (5-46) and former team mate, Mike Smethurst (4-54), being bowled out for 129 after 39.3 overs.

If Southport won this match, they would have been hailed as champions but 33.1 overs later, the champagne had to stay on ice as the Sandgrounders were dismissed for 121. Craig Prince top scored with 31 but Sefton's spin twins Howard Parker (5-32) and Robbie Houghton (5-40) upset S&B captain Mal Swift's afternoon.

Sefton's win takes them to within 25 pts of Southport's total of 411 pts and still a mathematical chance of the title themselves. Southport have to play Liverpool away and Caldy at home with Sefton Park at home to St Helens and away at Haydock in the last two matches of the season.

Hightown kept up their challenge with an eight wicket triumph at Haydock which moved them up into third place (359 pts). With Jimmy Adams out for 43 and Scott Pickavance (28), Sunil Joshi (7-62) bowled Haydock out for 126 after 46.4 overs.

Requiring just 24.4 overs to reach their target and 24 pts, skipper Ian Sutcliffe (41) and Joshi (57*) gave Hightown their win at 132-2.

Fleetwood Hesketh's chance of promotion went after being held to a draw by Highfield. Mark Fletcher (75), Jon Bowden (48) and Abey Kuruvilla (42) enabled Steve Rimmer to declare with 237-8 on the board after 50 overs, Alan Rhoades taking 3-20.

Given 60 overs back, Highfield were 24 short at their end of the 60th over, Richard Farrell (46), Simon Mollitt (35*) and Mike Gregory (32) with Peter Appleton 4-76 with his slow left arm deliveries.

Early season championship hopefuls, Colwyn Bay, slid to their eighth defeat at St Helens. Bay's David Watkins (45) added 85 for the fourth wicket with Howel Morris before Morris (75*) added a further 69* with Huw Roberts (37*) to let Sion Morris ring the bell at 203-4 after 47 overs.

In St Helens' reply, Craig Horabin (52) went at 153-6 but captain Darren Tyms (52*) and Adam Friar (26*) took the Saints to 204-6 and a win with 10.2 overs remaining.

Formby gained 20 pts in their match against Caldy. With James Marshall out for 25, Formby slumped to 51-5 but Richard Scanlan (62*) and Steve Dutton (63) added 129 for the sixth wicket before a declaration after 63 overs with 180-6 on the board.

Caldy were within range of a win at 161-6 but Tony Rogan had the last say after bowling unchanged to take a personal best 7-74 as Caldy tumbled to 165 all out after 47.5 overs, Jason Cooper (53*), Darren Groves (39) and Dave Aston (21).

Orrell Red Triangle's miserable season continued after losing to Liverpool. Steve Nealey (93) led the way to a Liverpool total of 228 from 42.1 overs, Ian Richardson (3-50) and Neil Middlehurst (3-66).

Orrell opener Craig Stockdale carried his bat for 95* but ran out of partners as his side was all out for 162 (43 overs) with Stuart Craig (39) and Geoff Blackburn taking 5-20.

St Helens Recs picked up a rare win, their third of the season, against lowly Worsley. Taking 56.2 overs to total 163, Stu Lyon (42), Mike Cooper (29) and Steve Martindale (22), Worsley captain Niall Howarth topped the bowling with 6-43 whilst Dane Adams claimed 4-64.

Worsley's poor season continued with 102 all out (47.2 overs), Dave McQuade (30*) and Steve Ball (3-41).

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