North Wales cricket suffered a double blow at the weekend when Colwyn Bay and Prestatyn were both relegated from their respective divisions of the Liverpool and District Competition.
The Bay finished next-to-bottom of the 1st XI ECB Premier League after losing narrowly at Leigh and next season will play in Division One for the first time since 2015, where they will renew rivalries with fellow North Wales side Northop Hall.
Prestatyn’s drop into Division Two in 2020 was confirmed on Saturday when they lost at Highfield.
Even had they won, the Denbighshire team would still have gone down after Fleetwood Hesketh, the only club Prestatyn could catch, beat Northop Hall.
Reports – Saturday, September 21
ECB 1st XI Premier League
Leigh (24) 189-8 Colwyn Bay (7) 185-9 dec
Result: Leigh won by 2 wickets
Victory in their final game would have been enough to save the Bay with relegation rivals Southport and Birkdale losing, but it was a case of near and yet so far for the Welsh side.
In his final match as Colwyn skipper – although he will continue as a player – Sion Morris won the toss and elected to bat.
Unfortunately, the captain was out for a duck, but 78 from Zack Gidlow did help the visitors set 185-9 declared off 53 overs.
Leigh lost wickets fairly regularly in reply, but they managed to squeeze home on 189-8 in 38.3 overs, Saliya Saman Jeewantha claiming 5-53 and Paul Jenkins 3-49.
Bay finished next-to-bottom, nine points behind Southport and Birkdale, who were beaten 21-5 at Wallasey.
1st XI Division One
Highfield (25) 81-3 Prestatyn (1) 80-10
Result: Highfield won by seven wickets
Six straight defeats to end the season cost Prestatyn their Division One status.
The prospect of having all three North Wales teams in the same division next year was scuppered when the Beach Close club crashed by seven wickets at Highfield.
Prestatyn called the coin correctly and chose to bat, but were skittled out for just 80 with only Waqar Khan (35) making double figures.
Highfield eased to 81-3 in 15.4 overs, Sheil Sethi 2-16 for the visitors.
Fleetwood Hesketh (23) 178-3 Northop Hall (4) 175-7 dec
Result: Fleetwood won by seven wickets
Hall could not assist fellow North Walians Prestatyn in their relegation predicament as the Flintshire side lost to Fleetwood, who in turn ensure their own safety with the result.
The visitors opted for first knock, posting 175-7 declared off 49 overs with Alex Smith 43, Ben Slater adding 34 not out.
Hesketh breezed to 178-3 in 36.3 overs, Simon Joy collecting 2-28 for the Welsh side, who finish sixth in the standings.
2nd XI Premier Division
Colwyn Bay 2nds (9) 180-10 Lytham 2nds (25) 225-10
Result: Lytham won by 45 runs
Like their first team, Colwyn Bay 2nds were relegated on the final day of the season.
And in identical circumstances to the senior XI, Bay 2nds would have stayed up had they won on Saturday.
Also, in another unwelcome coincidence, Southport and Birkdale 2nds were spared from the drop at Bay’s expense despite losing their last game, the same scenario exactly as S & B 1sts in the Premier.
Lytham 2nds batted first at Penrhyn Avenue and were 222 all out, Sam Bright taking 3-45 and skipper James Jones 3-53 for Bay.
Colwyn were then bowled out for 180, despite a courageous 54 from Ross Hudson.
2nd XI Second Division
Northop Hall 2nds (24) 179-8 dec Alder (5) 101-10
Result: Hall win by 78 runs
Some good news for North Wales at least – Northop Hall 2nds are promoted to Division One where they will meet up with Colwyn Bay 2nds next year.
Hall clinched second spot with a convincing success over Alder at Smithy Lane.
Inserted by the visitors, the hosts posted 179-8 declared off 44 overs, Liam Evans-Ford top-scoring with 56 no, Daniel Haynes adding 32.
Alder were dismissed for 101, Ryan Dunning a remarkable career best 8-30 off 13 overs, Caleb Dyke 2-33.
Prestatyn 2nds (1) 82-10 Leigh 2nds (24) 191-3 dec
Result: Leigh win by 109 runs
On a miserable weekend for Prestatyn, the 2nd XI were thrashed at home by Leigh and finish the campaign in rock bottom place.
Leigh set 191-3 declared off a mere 24.1 overs, Kevin H Robinson 100 no, Ieuan Glynn Jones 2-15 for the home side.
Prestatyn were all out for 82, Ashley Jones posting 34 and Nauman Ahmad 32, Cameron Sharp 6-29 for the visitors.