ST. ANNES’ batting power consigned Netherfield to an opening day defeat, despite Sri Lankan professional Saliya Saman notching the only half century of the piece on debut.

Less than 24 hours after arriving in the country, Saman top-scored with 66 as Netherfield posted 206-8 from their 50 overs, as Michael Harling and Toby Bulcock shared seven wickets.

Nathan Bolus guided the Vernon Road club home with an unbeaten 33, as the St.Annes top-order all fired to chase down their target for the loss of five wickets.

After being invited to bat, openers Ben Barrow and Marc Brown made a solid start and progressed the Netherfield score to 40 from 14.2 overs until Harling claimed his first scalp.

Brown edged the right-arm seamer to Bulcock in the slips with Australian debutant Ben Phillips the next man in, as 25 was added for the third wicket.

Matt Grindley had Barrow caught behind for 32 with the final ball of the 23rd over, while three balls later the left-arm spin of Bulcock accounted for Phillips who was stumped by Callum Jones.

Brad Earl then joined Saman at the crease with the pair combining for the highest partnership of the Netherfield innings – 52 in exactly eight overs.

Saman was the main aggressor, hitting a flurry of early boundaries and consistently proactive throughout his 59-ball stay at the crease.

Earl reached 19 before Bulcock struck again, with the 23-year-old – who returned figures of 3-38 from 11 overs – also dismissing Brendan Herron for four.

Saman was the sixth Netherfield wicket to fall with the score on 158, caught by Bulcock on the long-on boundary off the bowling of Harling for a well-constructed 66.

Former Bolton le Sands all-rounder Mark Clarkson and Nathan Chambers were both bowled by Harling who finished with figures of 4-55 from 12 overs to leave Netherfield reeling at 166-8.

However, Tom Williamson and Ryan Wilson – who clobbered three sixes – provided the innings with some real impetus, adding 40 in 5.5 overs as the pair finished unbeaten on 21 and 23 respectively.

Andy Kellett and Adam Holt prevented Netherfield’s late momentum with the bat continuing in the field, with the duo ensuring the St. Annes reply started positively.

The openers put on 68 inside 18 overs until Holt was trapped in front by Chambers for 35, with Indian all-rounder Lukman Vahaluwala and Kellett adding 24 for the third wicket.

Kellett was caught in the covers by Phillips off the bowling of Ryan Wilson before Vahaluwala and Nathan Armstrong shared 52 in 9.2 overs for St Annes’ third wicket.

After a 41-ball knock of 42 which included six fours and a six, Vahaluwala was trapped lbw by Saman, who backed up his batting efforts with 1-78 from 17 overs with the ball.

Armstrong and Bolus continued the St. Annes batting reply, taking the score to 170 before Chambers struck with two quick-fire wickets in successive overs.
The right-arm seamer bowled Armstrong for 33 and saw Bulcock caught in the covers by Philips for two, with St. Annes five wickets down needing a further 32 runs from 5.4 overs.

However, Bolus and Matthew Taaffe saw St.Annes home with an over the spare, with the former finishing 33 not out and the latter unbeaten on eight.