CHORLEY suffered the narrowest of defeats as they managed to dodge the rain on Saturday – but their three points taken from a one-run loss at Penrith took them to the top of the Chorley Building Society Northern League.
And that adds extra spice to today’s derby with Darwen as the sides lock horns at Windsor Park first and second in the table meaning a cracker with more than local pride is at stake.
Darwen were one of the majority of teams who were hit by the weather as they Birch Hall clash with Preston was an early casualty.
But up the M6 at Tynefield Park, Chorley won the toss and put league new boys Penrith in to bat.
Ryan Carruthers and Karanjit Bansal put on 43 for the first wicket for the hosts before the latter was removed by Billy Smith, who returned to lead the Chorley attack after injury, for 15.
That 43-1 became 43-2 when Gaurav Dhar bowled Carruthers for 21 and as the Penrith middle order wobbled it seemed as though Chorley could knock the hosts over cheaply.
But Ben Davidson (26) and Jon Osbourne (33) scored vital runs as Penrith closed their innings on 148-8 after a rain reduced 42 overs.
The value of Smith was proved by a return of 5-51 from 21 overs – and his efforts set up a good run chase.
Andrew Winrow and skipper Andrew Holdsworth made a dozen each and Ian Dickinson went for a duck as former Kendal man Jack White claimed four wickets but the real damage to Chorley’s hopes was done by Penrith pro Paul Hindmarch.
The Cumberland man bowled particularly well and seemed to be leading his side home in a tense finish.
But Jack Catterall made 40 and was ninth man out with just seven needed – and despite Chris Harty making five of those, it was all over on the second ball of the final over when he was bowled by White to leave Chorley 147 all out and a one-run loss.
St Anes beat Lancaster at Lune Road in another game to beat the weather, while the only other match to be completed came at Broadwater where Barrow ended their losing run as they claimed the lion’s share of the spiols from a draw with Fleetwood.
Despite being washed out on Saturday, Darwen still had something to celebrate from the weekend.
They booked their place in the second round of the Royal London ECB National Club Knockout after beating Astley Bridge at Birch Hall in a game shortened to a Twenty20.
The initial clash was rained off earlier in the month and arranged for Friday.
Astley Bridge batted first at Birch Hall and made 120 from their 20 overs with the highlight being a spectacular one-handed catch from Mark Emery.
Rain reduced the Darwen innings to 12 overs and their target was adjusted accordingley to 73 and after Ammer Mirza was trapped leg before first ball, John Cordingley and Kamran Anwar turned the tie in the Towers favour.
Anwar made 20 before being bowled round his legs and despite Neil Cordingley falling to a run out from a direct hit, John Cordingley kept his nerve to make 43 not out and steer Darwen to a fine win.