DARWEN’S charge for honours in the Chorley Building Society Northern League was held up by Penrith’s final pair on Saturday as they were forced to settle for a winning draw on their long trip north.

The Towers, who are in third place in the table after an impressive season, couldn’t claim that last crucial wicket which would have earned them a deserved victory.

The day didn’t start too well for the locals in Cumbria as professional George Linde couldn’t continue his glorious run of form and was trapped leg before by Penrith professional for a four-ball duck in the first over.

It certainly wasn’t the way the South African wanted to celebrate his deal to return to Birch Hall for next year – and the dismissal left Darwen with a rebuilding job to do.

Scott Jackson and Ammer Mirza saw to that business before the latter fell for 14 with the score on 47 before the latter and John Cordingley advanced the score to 75.

Cordingley was the man to fall at that stage for 15 and it was soon 84-5 with John Painter going cheaply before Mirza fell for a strangely patient 48.

But middle order runs came from skipper Jordan Clarke (25) and Reece Davies (29), while Chris Wade smashed three sixes in an eight-ball 19 and the Towers closed on 183-9.

When Kamran Anwar and Wade reduced Penrith to 22-5 it seemed as though it would be an early finish and maximum points for Clarke’s men.

But Jonathan Osbourne dug in to make 29 from 97 balls to take the sting out of the Darwen bowling.

And Richard Sykes was even more gritty as he fended off 76 balls for his 12 not out, while last man Kriss McLean had to face 10 balls for his unbeaten duck to frustrate Darwen.

Anwar was the pick of the bowlers with 5-31 from 20 overs, while Linde was wicketless but his 11 overs went for just eight runs.

Chorley were also at the northern end of the league and suffered defeat at the hands of Kendal at Shap Road.

Darren Moore’s slow 54 and 32 from ex-New Zealand Test man Jamie How helped Kendal to 150 all out with Gaurav Dhar claiming 5-19 in 10.1 overs of spin, while there were two more wickets for the in-form Will Moulton.

However, Chorley’s top order failed to fire despite David Fisher making a breezy 25.

In the end it was Kieran McCullagh who took the fight to Kendal.

McCullagh, batting at number eight, made 54 not out from just 44 balls as he tried to lead the locals home.

But he eventually ran out of partners and was stranded with Chorley bowled out for 133 in 37 overs.

Darwen host Chorley today as Bank Holiday Monday sees derby day in the league. The match at Birch Hall starts at 1pm.