DARWEN slipped down to third place in the Chorley Building Society Northern League as Netherfield finally showed their true colours to romp to a big win at a sun drenched Birch Hall on Saturday.
And Chorley suffered a similar chastening fate as they were well beaten by a Fleetwood side inspired by the bowling of Ramsbottom professional Daryn Smit, who claimed seven wickets to wreck all the hard work done by Andy Holdsworth’s bowlers at Broadwater.
Darwen were on top of the table a fortnight ago and fancied their chances of getting back to winning ways against a Netherfield side who had so far failed to fire in the league despite their 100 per cent record in the Twenty20.
Missing skipper Jordan Clarke, Darwen looked good as they chose to bat after George Linde won the toss and despite the loss of Scott Jackson for nine with the score on 33 they progressed well with Ammer Mirza and Linde getting into their stride.
The South African professional fell for 30 and Chris Clarke went for single figures but with John Cordingley joining Mirza at the crease there was a good foundation for the Towers to kick on.
However, the opener was caught by John Huck off Nathan Chambers for 55 with the score on 111 and that put the locals on the back foot.
Cordingley went on to make 38 but the only other Darwen man to make double figures was Reece Davies (18) and in the end they were bowled out for 173 from the final ball of the innings with Saliya Saman and Bradley Earl both claiming three wickets.
Darwen got off to a good start as Kamran Anwar had Ben Barrow caught by Chris Wade for one but Netherfield skipper Marc Brown was in the mood to stay there for the duration.
He was in good nick and Ben Phillips also inpressed before Linde had him caught by Davies for 45 with the score on 92.
Netherfield could have wobbled at that point but Huck slammed 33 and with Brown also moving through the gears they closed in on victory.
Huck finally fell with the scores level and Huck then hit the winning runs to finish 90 not out as the Lake District men got home with more than eight overs to spare.
Chorley turned on the style with the ball at Broadwater as they bowled Fleetwood out for 128.
Adam Parker top scored with 33 for the hosts and Smit, who was filling in for injured Fleetwood pro JP de Villiers, made 31 but no other home batsman had the answers to Guarav Dhar and Rex Purnell.
Purnell claimed 3-41 and Dhar took top billing with 5-37 as Fleetwood were bowled out for 128 in 49 overs.
However, the Chorley reply was a disaster with David Fisher, Holdsworth, pro Mohammed Jamal, Andrew Winrow and Dhar all dismissed for single figures as Smith went through them.
Ian Dickinson did offer some resistance with 18 and Simon Moulton made 11 but the tale was cleaned up by Smith and Joe Bell as Chorley slumped to 61 all out with Smith reeling in 7-23 from 16.5 overs.
Elsewhere, Toby Bulcock made 103 not out and then claimed three wickets but Leyland held on for a draw at St Annes, while Jamie Heywood and Michael Barry shared an unbroken 176-run stand as Lancaster beat Kendal by 10 wickets.
Blackpool beat Penrith and Morecambe beat Preston in the day’s other games.