A SUPERB all round performance by emerging talent Finlay Richardson helped Netherfield see off a very capable home side in a combative Lancashire Knockout Cup last 16 tie at Leigh on Sunday.

The young wicketkeeper-batsman came in with his side on 56 for 2 and the game finely balanced, but under overcast skies which made for tough batting conditions against a hostile attack, he produced a hugely impressive innings of 63 which included a range of well timed shots and laid the platform for Netherfield’s imposing final total of 210 all out.

And when the home side replied, Richardson’s impeccable display behind the stumps as he claimed five victims with four catches and stumping played a key part in the visitors’ 48 run win which books them a home quarter final tie against Northern Premier League rivals St Annes.

But his display was just part of a fine team effort by a young Netherfield side who recovered from a shaky start when after being asked to bat, they suffered an early blow when Josh Dixon’s edge off Pat Allan was picked up by keeper Joe Davies.

Barrow and pro Bevan Small then led a recovery, posting a stand of 53 before Small was bowled by Allan, and when Barrow and Brad Earl quickly followed, the visitors were in a spot of bother.

But Richardson was joined by fellow youngster Theo Gallagher and the pair crafted a splendid fightback, finding the gaps in the field time and again as Netherfield regained control against a Leigh side missing the influence of absent Cumberland regular Toby Bulcock.

Sam Rotherham spearheaded a fightback by Leigh as he eventually tempted Richardson into an edge to keeper Davies, and the dismissal sparked a mini-collapse, but the visitors managed to edge over the 200 mark before finally being dismissed for 210 in the 43rd over.

Leigh began their reply under darkening skies, and they must have been hoping the forecast downpour would arrive quickly when Matt Jackson’s double strike sent back Lewis Pearson and Tom Foster.

And when Richardson stumped Ryan Housley off the bowling of brother Lewis, the home side were rocking at 79 for 4.

Sam Medhurst, who had made his debut the previous day in the Kendal derby, then continued his good start to life in the first team when he dismissed Paul Farrar as Leigh continued to struggle.

And as Small and Robbie Dwyer chipped in with two wickets each, the tail began to subside, and Jackson wrapped things up by bowling Allan to complete a fine win just before the rain swept across the ground.