MAWDESLEY CRICKET CLUB’S title charge took one step closer on Saturday with a comfortable 55-run victory at Charnock Richard.
Batting first, the West Lancashire team posted a competitive total of 158-5 from their 45 overs with contributions throughout the top order.
The score could easily have been more but for the long grass and heavy nature of the outfield preventing full value for shots, with many balls destined for the boundary stopping just short.
Matt Watkinson top-scored with 43, closely followed by captain Darren Le Marinel with 39.
Watkinson now has 434 league runs in what has been a successful debut season for the Rectory Field side.
There were further useful contributions from Dave Whiteley (28 not out), Martin Williams (19) and Alex Berry (12).
For the home side, Mark Eastham was the pick of the bowlers with 3-64 while David Fortune claimed 2-37.
The Charnock Richard reply got off to the worst possible start with the loss of openers Ahmed Arfan and Gary Rutter in quick succession, both removed by Mark Huyton.
The same Mawdesley bowler then claimed the wicket of Ross Baron for 10 to finish with 3-13.
Fellow opening bowler Alex Berry was wicketless but bowled with great economy, his seven overs going for just 12 runs.
Spinner Neil O’Malley accounted for the Charnock middle order with three wickets, including the prized scalp of captain David Fortune for 24.
Young Louis Rothwell continues to impress with the ball, his six over spell ending with figures of 2-12.
Some tail-end resistance from Thomas Flanagan (27) and Ian Rutter (15 not out) gave the home side some brief hope of a fightback but it was too little, too late as they were dismissed for 103.
With just two games remaining, Mawdesley hold a 14 point lead over second-placed Withnell Fold meaning a maximum points victory over Whittle and Clayton-le-Woods next Saturday would secure the Moore & Smalley Palace Shield Division Two title.
MAWDESLEY’S second XI were yet again without a fixture in what has proved to be a frustrating season due to the lack of teams in Division Six.
However, it could still finish on a positive note with promotion still a possibility going into the final two games.
They travel to Blackpool’s fourth XI on Saturday looking to put pressure on Penwortham in second place.