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Liverpool & District Competition: Draw fails to improve Hall prospects

NORTHOP Hall have five games to secure their Liverpool & District Competition Premier League safety.

Danny Nolan’s men remain entrenched in the bottom two going into a crucial bank holiday weekend double header after they had to settle for a rain-hit draw at relegation rivals Highfield on Saturday.

Visiting captain Nolan – missing key trio Dave Kennedy, Peter Hodgson and Adam Hodgkins – won the toss and invited the Wiganers to bat.

But it was a decision he lived to regret as Highfield thrashed 257-4dec from 55 overs, despite the best efforts of James Hurlin (3-77).

That was always going to be a tough target for a Hall side struggling for confidence after a four-match winless run.

But their prospects were not helped by an early batting collapse instigated by former Worcestershire strike bowler Chris Liptrot (3-38) and Stephen Peet (2-36).

Hurlin (12), Nolan (6), Tim Buszard (23), George Johansen (0) and Gareth Williams (0) came and went, but in-form Flintshire County Colts captain Michael Littler (43no) showed maturity beyond his years to steady a Hall ship rocking at 70-5.

Littler lifted the reply up to 118-5 when the heavens opened and brought an end to proceedings.

Hall welcome championship-challenging Northern to Smithy Lane on Saturday before making the trip across North Wales to face Colwyn Bay on Monday.

Had it not been for the weather, Bay would have done their neighbours a huge favour on Saturday.

Having posted 186, the Penrhyn Avenue outfit had third-from-bottom Hightown at 81-8 when the contest was abandoned.

Promotion-pushing Northop Hall 2nds stretched their unbeaten Second XI Premier Division run to nine matches on Saturday with a five-wicket home victory over Sefton Park 2nds.

Second-team debutant Jeevan Kurukkal (2-28) and Daniel Clubbe (2-56) took two wickets apiece as the Merseysiders put on 208-6dec.

It was a challenging total, but one which the hosts successfully chased down when reaching 210-5 in the 41st over.

Michael Barnes (90) and Darren Peters (66) shared a 129-run first-wicket partnership for the third-placed Hall, who head to Formby 2nds on Saturday before entertaining Northern 2nds on Monday.