S&B virtually seal promotion with win over Burscough
SOUTHPORT & Birkdale have all but sealed promotion following victory over bottom club Burscough on Saturday.
Chris Firth’s men posted 223-9 against the strugglers with Isaac Lea’s 82 from 112 balls the pick of the top-order batting.
Lea was replaced at the crease by spin bowler Chris Cunningham and the number eight provided a terrific cameo in the late order by smashing 43 off 28 balls.
Cunningham then combined with Angus Gailey to undermine Burscough’s innings as the pair notched four wickets apiece.
Gailey’s 4-24 came inside eight overs while the spinner plundered his across 15 for the loss of 56 runs.
Southport are now 77 points clear with three games remaining and look set to rejoin the Premier Division next season.
The future looks bleaker for their opponents, however.
Jon Stone’s side are now 32 points from safety with four matches remaining.
They were were not helped by Fleetwood Hesketh’s first victory in six games, over Orrell Red Triangle last weekend.
Hesketh have now climbed above Newton-le-Willows in the table, who hold a precarious 21-point lead over second-bottom Liverpool, who drew at Sefton Park on Saturday.
Marc De Brabander’s men lost a close affair with Ainsdale – the visitors limped to a two-wicket victory – to remain firmly in the relegation fight. Willows have now failed to win since mid-July.
Ainsdale, however, continue to put pressure on Orrell Red Triangle for the final promotion place.
With their victory at The Lane – plus Triangle’s defeat to Fleetwood Hesketh – the third-placed side are less than 30 points behind their rivals with three games remaining.
Orrell do, however, possess a game in hand but face Ainsdale this weekend in a crunch encounter that could go a long way to deciding the final outcome of the table.