Kingfisher Cup semi-final
Leyland 95 all out Chorley 96-6
What a difference a day makes.
On an enthralling afternoon at Windsor Park, Chorley showed tremendous character to put the bad memories of the previous day’s defeat at Kendal behind them, and earn a hard-fought triumph over their fierce local rivals.
And nobody could deny Andy Holdsworth’s men’s right to book a place in the group final of the Kingfisher Cup, a competition in which they have excelled so many times in the past.
Leyland may have been without ineligible professional Brett Pelser and the classy Luis Reece, but they are still a redoubtable outfit under the guidance of the wily and vastly experienced David Makinson.
Yet they were smashed on to the ropes by superb opening bowling spells by Billy Smith and Chris Harty.
Admittedly, it was a good toss to win, and there was plenty of life in the wicket on a ground still drying out from the previous day’s downpour.
But the young duo exploited the conditions to the full, ripping into Leyland’s top order and being helped in their task by some excellent catching.
The home crowd on a warm, dry afternoon could barely believe the devastation as Leyland collapsed to 22 for six.
Smith and Harty bowled straight through their nine-over spells, Harty edging the honours as he finished with four for 11 to justify his call-up from the second team.
However, young Henry Thompson is an able and gritty performer, and he stuck around to engineer a recovery of sorts, helping to more than treble the total before showing hisfrustration as he played on to end a battling innings.
Young wicket-keeper Tom Murray also caught the eye with his 24.
Leyland’s final wicket fell in the 44th over with the score on just 95, and under normal circumstances, with the wicket and outfield drying out, such a target would seem well within reach.
Harty ended with figures of four for 10 and he was supported well by Iain Critchley (three for 22) and Smith (two for 13).
But Chorley’s batting woes have been well-documented and the result was still well in the balance.
The jitters increased when Adam Peacock (three) fell early, but Chorley buckled down with Jack Bentham top-scoring with 14.
There were more than a couple of scares as six wickets fell, but they eventually inched home to trigger a roar of delight from the Windsor Park crowd.
Dave Makinson, Liam Hurt and James Rounding took two wickets each.