Northern League

RAIN put paid to Chorley's chase for runs against Morecambe in the opening Northern League fixture at Windsor Park on Saturday.

A sparking 79 by the visitors' South African professional Steven Pope who shared an enterprising third wicket partnership of 79 with Leighton James (34) was the foundation of Morecambe's formidable 177-8.

Chorley's Australian professional Joe Angel bowled economically to take 3-49 from 18 overs but he was upstaged by young quickie Matthew Parry with 5-50 from 14.

Chorley were soon in trouble and with Angel out without scoring slumped to 33-4.

But a splendid fifth wicket stand of 85 between opener Russell Cake who made a fluent 58 and Michael Critchley with a dashing 35 put Chorley in with a real chance on 118-4 before a short but crucial interruption for rain cost two overs.

Cake and Critchley perished in quick succession and Chorley finished on 143-7, taking just two points to Morecambe's six from the drawn game. Morecambe in fact will make a quick return to Windsor Park in the second round of the Abbott Ale national knockout, after Chorley's bloodless victory over Southport and District League side Highfield yesterday.

The visitors were restricted to 104-8 from a rain-reduced 38 overs with Dave Catterall taking 4-20. Further rain at tea left Chorley with a reduced target of 91 from 33 overs and they coasted home by nine wickets, Jim Fazackerley hitting 43 not out and Roland Horridge 27 not out.

Darwen collected five points from a winning draw in their opening rain-affected Northern League game at Fleetwood.

Graham Ainslie (32) top scored for Darwen in a tight match, as they mustered 107-6 from 35 overs. Fleetwood finished just a handful of runs away on 103-8, with Jeff Hacking (3-33 from 15 overs) helping to apply the brakes.

Skipper Gareth Cordingley had a good day, contributing 22 runs and taking 2-16.

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