NORTHERN Cricket Club captain James Cole's pre-match warning that 'any team can beat any team on the day' rang true, as his team crashed to their first defeat in their 15th Liverpool & District Cricket Competition’s Premier Division fixture of the season against lowly Highfield at Moor Park on Saturday.
Highfield won the toss and bowled first, and were rewarded with two early strikes.
Opener Stephen Lucas (45) stood firm, and in partnership with his skipper took the score to 72 for the third wicket.
Mark Walling then hit 56 in 66 balls, adding 113 for the fourth wicket with James Cole, who fell shortly after for a fine 83.
A final flourish between Paul Park and Stephen Cole took Northern to the declaration at 222-6 in the 55th over.
Stephen Cole soon knocked over both Highfield openers, and Northern made steady inroads into the Highfield line-up.
With leading wicket-taker Tom Sephton suffering a rare off-day, the dependable Jack Woosey chipped in with 2-28 as Highfield were reduced to 161-8 and a home win looked likely.
Highfield number nine Sam Rotherham however had other ideas as he bludgeoned 49 from 28 balls to take the visitors to an improbable victory in an unbeaten ninth wicket partnership of 66.
Despite this onslaught Stephen Cole finished with creditable figures of 4-62 from 15.3 overs.
NORTHERN’S second team won at Wallasey by 33 runs.
Chris Taylor (37) and Mark Garcia (33) put on an opening partnership of 72.
Liam Biddlestone (31) and Adrian Fraser (24) then steadied the innings after the loss of four quick wickets, and Tom Alman (18) and Matty Gee (24 not out) took Northern to 187 at the break.
Mike Jones (2-31), Sean Negus (2-55) and Matty Gee (3-17) were the main wicket-takers as Wallasey were bowled out for 154.
ALEX PARKINSON (47) and Graham Kerr (28) gave the third team a good start against New Brighton, and Ryan Garcia added 26 as Northern totalled 161.
But New Brighton cruised to a six wicket win in reply.
THE fourth team drew at Bootle who declared on 221-4.
Phil Cooper bowled a marathon 18 overs taking 2-78.
John Paul Wills replied with an unbeaten 59, as Northern reached 123-6.
A SPIRITED effort from the fifth team's young bowlers could not prevent Sefton Park plundering 226-2 declared.
The required rate proved beyond Northern despite a resolute 42 not out from opener Paul Burridge and worthy contributions from Chris Willan (23), Adam Tweedle (21) and Paul Wills (37). An equitable draw ended with Northern on 158-5.
THE first team are now 62 points ahead of second-placed Ormskirk in the ECB Premier League, and will hope to return to winning ways at Wallasey this Saturday.
The second team entertain Bootle at Moor Park.