Colne go into the final game of the season looking to avoid the wooden spoon after a 42-run defeat against Accrington at Thorneyholme Road.
Matt Walker’s side host Bacup at the Horsfield on Sunday, tied on points at the bottom of the table, nine points adrift of Rishton in 12th place.
At Accrington, the hosts made an aggressive start before being pegged back to 74-4 at the drinks break.
Andy Hakin did the damage, with three wickets in an excellent 13-over spell. Even the fourth wicket, a run out, was Hakin’s own work.
Hakin bowled, Crabtree hit the ball back at him for a sharp, low chance which he got his hand to but couldn’t hold on; the ball rolling onto the stumps with professional Ockert Erasmus out of his ground.
Jake Clarke steadied the innings with a match-winning 69. He faced 93 balls, taking advantage of loose deliveries , while taking no risks.
Colne’s sub-professional David King had an ankle injury and was unable to bowl except as a last resort. This last resort was reached at 44 overs, with Accrington 153-6, and King bowled Clarke first ball. Hakin took two more wickets, finishing with 5-30 from 15 overs, and King took the last to leave Accrington 171 all out.
Both Colne opening batsmen, Joel Duerden and Tom Bradshaw, were victims of lbw decisions.
Dickie Bird used to say that with the ball swinging and the batsman taking a long stride forward, it is all but impossible to be certain that a ball is hitting the stumps; Sunday’s umpires were more confident, so the batsmen had to go.
King made a comfortable 23 before playing a loose shot off Erasmus and being caught at point for 23, and the rest of the innings was about Matthew Walker. He came in at a crisis point of 23-4, and batted through partnerships of 36 with King, 27 with Adam Holt (7), and 34 with Kenton Rhodes (4).
Walker’s maiden 50 included three sixes, two of them back over Erasmus’s head, and four fours, and he faced 95 balls in making 58 not out before running out of partners. Colne were bowled out for 129, earning another bonus point to move up to joint-bottom.