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Lancaster slipped out of the Northern men’s 1A league after a crushing defeat to an impressive Leeds side; coupled with a Liverpool win over Manchester. Relegation was assured thanks to a series of missed chances in several games for Lancaster and some unexpected league results; none more so than relegation threatened Hull hammering champions Northumbria.
The opening game handed Lancaster a stiff challenge as they travelled to much fancied Northumbria. The eventual league winners gave an early indication of their ability as they racked up an impressive 250, despite gutsy performances from Lancaster’s bowling unit. Despite good performances from some Lancaster batsmen, with Markey hitting an imperious 81, Northumbria clinched victory by 70 runs.
Hull were Lancaster’s first opponents on home soil in a game that required concentration throughout to secure victory. A solid bowling display from Lancaster’s bowlers restricted Hull to 158 all out, with spinner Carl Purvis taking 4 wickets. In response Lancaster tore into the Hull attack, openers Ed Markey (60) and Kiran Uppoor (65) filling their boots early on. In famed Lancaster style, a nervous middle order collapse made for an interesting finish, but Nick Guest (16 not out) steered the team home.
With a hard fought win against Hull in the previous tie, Manchester met were the visitors as Lancaster looked to climb the table with another strong performance. From the opening over it was clear that there was a gulf in class between the sides, Manchester Met eventually stumbled to 116 all-out with the wickets spread amongst the bowlers. Lancaster avoided complacency chasing a small total and openers Markey (60 not out) and Uppoor (34) led the team to a comprehensive nine wicket victory.
Despite being handily placed in mid-table, Lancaster knew their fixture away at Liverpool was vital to confirm their position in the league for next season. Despite the absence of key players, Lancaster posted a competitive 191 with Uppoor (54), Purvis (31) and Adam Humphreys (30) the major contributors.
However, loose bowling at the start of Liverpool’s innings gave them a flying start before Paul Startin chipped in with 4 wickets. The game came down to Liverpool needing 2 runs with one wicket remaining; cruelly for Lancaster an edge just past the slip fielder gave Liverpool a key victory. Lancaster were forced to reflect on missed chances and begin preparations for a relegation decider.
With Leeds battling Northumbria for the title and Lancaster fighting relegation, this was a massive game at both ends of the table. Lancaster posted a highly respectable 199, with Ed Markey (62) showing fine form once more. Despite some tight fielding and tidy bowling, Leeds showed their class in reaching 200-1, a comfortable 9 wicket victory. Unfortunately for Lancaster, Hull surprisingly defeated Northumbria and Liverpool edged past Manchester to consign Lancaster to 5th place and relegation from Division 1A.
Nonetheless there are positives to take from what was a highly competitive season. The performances of freshers Ed Markey, Carl Purvis, Paul Startin and Adam Humphries bodes well for the future, whilst Nick Guest and Kiran Uppoor can be very pleased with their performances in their final season for the club. Thanks must be extended to all exec members who have ensured the club has built a strong platform from which to build on next season.