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Cricket: Northop Hall fall through relegation trapdoor in Liverpool Competition Premier Division

NORTHOP Hall slipped to a 45-run defeat at the hands of Leigh and with it were relegated from the Liverpool and District Competition Premier Division.

In a season where Hall couldn’t quite find their feet, captain Danny Nolan tasked his side with winning their final three games for survival.

And after the rain saved them from a drubbing at New Brighton the previous week, two wins from the final two matches could have been enough.

But defeat on Saturday at Smithy Lane to title-challenging Leigh put paid to any hopes of Hall surviving in the top flight with a game to spare.

Deep down, Hall’s skipper Nolan knew it was unlikely his side would be able to respond to his rallying cry of a fortnight ago and so it proved.

The toss was the only thing Hall won on the day as they put Leigh in to bat.

The visiting Lancastrians swept their way to 190-7 despite some penetrative bowling by Hall.

Nolan himself took 3-33 and Will Higginson 2-45 as Hall made some inroads, but when Leigh struck they struck well.

Thomas Foster racked up 46 and Matthew McKiernan 32 as Leigh made what for them was a very defendable total.

Hall’s response was patchy in places but there was almost enough grit in there to get them a result.

Openers Michael Barnes (24) and Nolan (11) put 36 on the board before the captain fell.

Teenager Barnes showed composure beyond his years in bearing the load of Hall’s expectations and as he watched Tim Buszard depart for three, he could be forgiven for letting the pressure tell.

Two more wickets fell before Michael Littler seemed to ride in to save the day.

Another of Hall’s teenagers, he grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and provided a solid rock for Hall to nail their hopes to.

As all around him teammates fell away, Littler stood firm and had he had a little more scoring support Hall may well be going into Saturday’s match at Bootle with half a chance of survival.

As it is, he ran out of partners, scoring an unbeaten 53 as Hall were bowled out for 145, guaranteeing them a place in Division One next season.

Northop Hall 2nds are still in the Second XI Premier Division title hunt after beating Maghull by seven wickets.

Hall bowled Maghull out for 92 (Adam Hodgkins 7-43, Adam Littler 3-13) before scoring 93-3 (Paul Higginson 64no).

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