SKIPPER Marc Brown notched his third half century in four Northern League outings as Netherfield claimed victory by five wickets despite the earlier batting efforts of St. Annes professional Toby Bulcock.

Bulcock top scored with an unbeaten 86 as St. Annes posted 169-6 from their 50 overs, with Mark Clarkson again impressing with a three-wicket haul.

Brown led the Netherfield charge with 51 while John Huck weighed in with 42 as the Parkside Road club sealed the points with five balls remaining.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, St. Annes suffered a difficult start as former Bolton le Sands seamer Clarkson struck early to bowl Matthew Taafe for two.

Adam Holt and Lukman Vahaluwala progressed the score to 20 before the former edged Clarkson to Sri Lankan professional Saliya Saman in the slips.

Nanthesh Kiruparan was the next to fall, bowled by Saliya Saman for two, with St. Annes reeling further at 36-4 when Lukman Vahaluwala was dismissed.

Joe Atkinson was the man on the spot as Vahaluwala edged Nathan Chambers to gully for 18, with St. Annes losing their fifth wicket shortly after bringing up their 50.

Chambers bowled Nathan Bolus for 11, which saw Andy Kellet arrive at the crease with him and Bulcock adding 37 for the sixth wicket.

Bulcock was very much the dominant force in the partnership, as Clarkson returned to bowl Kellet for six en route to figures of 3-38 from 13 overs.

A further 78 was added in the remaining overs as St. Annes finished on 169-6 from their 50 overs, with Bulcock finishing unbeaten on 86, a knock which contained ten fours and a six.

Mitchell Bolus also played his part with a 54-ball 31, which contained five boundaries, as Chambers finished with 2-33 and Saman 1-40.

In reply, Netherfield started positively with their opening duo Ben Barrow and Marc Brown reaching 38 before the former holed out to Nathan Bolus on the cover boundary off Matthew Grindley for 18.

Australian Ben Phillips soon followed for one, edging left-arm spinner Bulcock to Vahaluwala at slip with Netherfield’s progress checked at 41-2.

Brown and Huck looked to give the innings some solidity, with the Netherfield captain leading from the front with 51 before being snaffled by Nathan Bolus at gully off Bulcock.

With Netherfield 100-3, a further 25 was added before Huck perished, holing out to Matthew Grindley at long off to give Vahaluwala his sole wicket of the day.

Huck amassed 42 while there was a further solid partnership in excess of 40 between Saman and Atkinson which almost carried Netherfield across the victory line.

Atkinson reached 22 before returning to the pavilion after being caught behind by David Watson off Bulcock – who was the pick of the bowlers with 3-50 from 18 overs.

Netherfield knocked off the remaining two runs required for victory on the first ball of the final over, with Saman finishing unbeaten on 29 after hitting eight fours.