A LOSING draw at defending champions Blackpool on Saturday means Netherfield are just one point clear at the top of the Northern League.

Sam Dutton’s top score of 67 and Lahiru Madushanka’s knock of 63 saw Blackpool close on 219-9, with Joel Blain returning first innings figures of 4-76.

Bevan Small and Brad Earl then seemingly put the Cumbrians on course for victory.

But in a fluctuating game, Madushanka’s return of 4-61 and Josh Boyne’s 3-55 rocked the visitors and the Field had to rely on Scott Clement and Marc Hadwin holding out for the draw as they closed on 203-9.

Netherfield, who won the toss and elected to field, made the early breakthrough after Small saw off Matthew Houston who was caught by Blain.

Sam Dutton and Josh Boyne then frustrated their attack with a steady second wicket stand of 57.

But with the score on 67, Blain broke the partnership when the Australian overseas amateur claimed the wicket of Boyne who was caught by Small.

Yet Blackpool were undeterred by the dismissal as Dutton and Madushanka dominated with a fourth wicket stand of 91 before Dutton, whose top scoring knock of 67 included 12 fours, was finally dismissed after the Cumberland County player was caught and bowled by Blain.

The loss of Dutton proved to be the turning point for Netherfield who saw Blain dismiss Craig Brown and Hadwin claim the wicket of Andy Furniss who was caught behind by Lewis Edge.

Madushanka pushed Blackpool onto 175 before Small claimed the prize wicket of the Sri Lankan who went for 67 after being caught by Lewis Richardson.

Blain finished with figures of 4-76 after the Australian dismissed Jake Muncaster who was caught by Scott Clement.

And Small claimed his third wicket when he bowled Paul Danson before Hadwin trapped Syed Kazmi lbw with Blackpool closing on 219-9 off 50 overs.

Ben Barrow and Josh Dixon put on 48 for the first wicket as Netherfield began a determiend attempt to chase down Blackpool’s first innings total.

However, the home side got into the game after Matthew Grindley trapped Dixon lbw then Matthew Siddall bowled skipper Ben Barrow.

But Small and Earl batted superbly as Netherfield then seized the initiative, and they looked in good shape until Madushanka stepped in to claim both their wickets.

Madushanka then bowled both Blain and Richardson while Joshua Boyne claimed the wickets of Edge, Matt Jackson and Robbie Dwyer.

But with Netherfield nine wickets down and staring defeat in the face, Clement and Hadwin dug in and saw the closing overs.

Netherfield claimed seven points from the game to remain top of the league, albeit by that narrow one point margin.

The Field travel to play Penrith on Saturday before they make the journey to Barrow on Sunday for a T20 clash.