DARWEN lost the leadership of the Chorley Building Society Northern League as defending champions Leyland proved to be just too good as they toppled the Towers.

Jordan Clarke’s men have had a brilliant start to the season and went into the game with the advantage over Leyland but it wasn’t a good day at the office for them despite a solid bowling display.

Kamran Anwar struck early to remove Daniel Lamb for one and the dangerous pairing of Alex Ross and Luis Reece both also fell relatavley cheaply as Darwen appeared to be on top. But Henry Thompson is a class act for Leyland and his patient half-century was to prove key.

He made 57 from 101 balls while Andrew Makinson’s 28 down the order was also vital as the hosts got up to 148-9 from their 50 overs with Darwen pro George Linde impressing with the ball as he claimed 4-27 from 14 overs.

Darwen were favourites at the tea interval but their reply got off to a disastrous start as Ammer Mirza, Jordan Clarke, Chris Clarke and John Cordingley all fell cheaply.

Anwar and Reece Davies also departed for single figures and had it not been for Linde (14) and Neil Cordingley (14) it could have turned embarrassing.

As it was Darwen were 80 all out in the 30th over as Karl Cross claimed five wickets to lead his side to a 68-run win.

Chorley also suffered a bad day as they were beaten at Netherfield.

David Fisher’s 35 and 26 from Mohammed Jamal were the bright points for Chorley as they were bowled out for 137 at Parkside Road with Nathan Chambers claiming five wickets.

Netherfield were in a hurry in reply and dashed over the line inside 25 overs with skipper Marc Brown making an unbeaten 52 while John Huck teed off to smash 33 not out from just 16 balls with four fours and two sixes.

Billy Smith picked up the only two wickets to fall.

Elsewhere there were wins for Barrow, Fleetwood, St Annes and Blackpool while the performance of the day came in the Division Two match between Darwen seconds and their Leyland counterparts at Birch Hall.

After Tom Reece’s 103 not out helped Leyland declare on 211-4, Darwen’s batting folded to 46 all out with Steven Pallet 6-3 from nine recording the incredible figures of 6-3 from nine overs.