A QUIRK of fate has resulted in all of the four promotion hopefuls playing against each other in the final fortnight of the cricket season.
On Saturday, it was Skelmersdale first XI (in second place) playing against Parkfield Liscard (in fourth place) at Scott Rees Park.
It was chance for Skelmersdale to create a gap between themselves and third-place Burscough, who they play this Saturday.
Skelmersdale won the toss and put Parkfield in to bat on a damp track.
In the first seven overs only two runs were scored from the bat, and resulted in Parkfield becoming frustrated. By the time the 25th had come and gone Parkfield were just 35 for 5.
At this stage Skelmersdale’s play became sloppy, and rather than pushing on, the team relaxed and let Parkfield back into the game.
They were well led by Kamran Hussein who plundered 87 runs in quick time and the Parkfield innings closed in the 55th over when they declared on 190 for 9.
Skelmersdale came out with plenty of time in which to get the runs, but with some over-flamboyant batting and a crazy run out they lost wickets at regular intervals.
Only Sunny Gandhi mastered the Parkfield bowling, scoring 65 runs. They were eventually dismissed for 150, still 40 runs short of the target.
Skelmersdale still remain in second place, but will regret letting the win slip out of their grasp.
The exorbitant 45 extras will also cause concern, and did not help the Skelmersdale cause.
They must now regroup ready for another important game at fellow-challengers Burscough.
SKELMERSDALE’S second XI had to face a difficult fixture at Parkfield Liscard.
Thanks to the ravages caused by the new football season, they were left with a severely depleted squad of players. As a consequence it came as no real surprise that they returned home convincingly beaten.
There was no inkling of the defeat to come when skipper Peter Davies and Matthew Fenney opened for Skelmersdale. Davies had scored a patient 13 when he was bowled by Robert Courtney.
Fenney was playing confidently and was starting to build an innings.
Unfortunately, in a 25-ball spell he lost three partners, all without adding to the scoreboard.
Jordan Madddocks was caught by Michael Saunders, while Robbie Oliver and Anthony Tromp were both bowled.
Stephen Rimmer came in next but was unable to settle and was caught by Gareth Roberts after scoring three.
Fenney was eventually dismissed after scoring 49 valuable runs, bowled by the dangerous Courtney.
Tony Jones came to the wicket and started a short run spree.
He quickly scored 35 before being bowled by Chris Jones. Skelmersdale were now in serious trouble.
Michael Forster prolonged the innings with a patient 19 before being bowled by Joshua Courtney.
This left Peter McCann unbeaten on one, when Skelmersdale's innings closed on 124 in the 50th over.
Skelmersdale's spirit was lifted early in the Parkfield reply when Matthew Fenney bowled opener Darren Helmstalk for 10.
Unfortunately, there was to be no further wickets as Parkfield romped home in the 29th over.
Parkfield's Roberts (73no) and Philip Moore (32no) eventually steered the team to victory.