Church alter Mount’s hopes of promotion

The much-anticipated home clash against league leaders Church went ahead on Sunday but it was a black sabbath for the Mount whose lingering promotion hopes took a severe dent following a 112 run defeat.

Another wet week had put the match in doubt but a dry 18 hours prior to the game allowed the outfield to dry enough for it to go ahead.

Max Birtwistle

However, it was the visitors that took full advantage with a comprehensive 12-point victory that keeps them riding high at the top of the Lancashire League Division Two table.

Church skipper Josh Scully won the toss, put his side in to bat and when opener Craig Fergusson was dismissed by a fine diving catch by Max Birtwistle off the bowling of Callum Hunter with the score on 12, it looked like the Mount had made a dream start.

But that wicket only brought visiting pro Asad Shafiq to the crease and his innings of 88 was the mainstay of the Church total of 245 for 6.

While the Pakistan international showed his undoubted class, he was indebted to a number of dropped catches in the Greenmount ranks on what proved to be a bad day at the office.

Mount’s target of 246 from 43 overs never looked on as wickets fell with alarming regularity.

Both openers Jacques Snyman and Evan Williams were dismissed before the 50-run mark and by the time skipper Travis Townsend – who top-scored with 29 – was back in the pavilion they were 114 for 5.

The last four wickets fell for only 12 runs as the reply petered out to 143 all out in 36.2 overs.

The result puts Mount in seventh position in the table, 28 points behind the promotion places with five games remaining.

The club’s second eleven made the reverse trip to Church and rounded off a day to forget with a nine wicket defeat.

Church put Greenmount in to bat and in a rain reduced 38 overs, the evergreen Nigel Franklin took pride of place with an unbeaten knock of 70 sharing a partnership of 83 with Matt Senior who put on 26 not out.

A total of 151 proved to be no problem at all for Church who reached their target for the loss of only one wicket in the 29th over. Opener Ahmed led the way for the home side scoring 72 not out.

The third team’s scheduled game against Rawtenstall at the Log Cabin fell foul of the weather on Saturday.

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