The season got going a week late for Chorley as they earned an excellent winning draw on the Fylde coast on Saturday.
After last week’s humbling by Fleetwood, it was a tough call for Andy Holdsworth’s men to face the reigning champions on their own patch.
But they came out of the game with immense credit because although they fell some way short of forcing a victory, they were in command for much of the afternoon and took the lion’s share of the points from a top quality game.
After posting a formidable total on a decent wicket, they could have been vulnerable to a powerful St Annes batting line-up which included former Leyland stalwart Peter Cummings, making his debut after his recent departure from Fox Lane.
But a competent all-round bowling effort and some keen fielding meant the home side were never really in the victory hunt.
Last week’s collapse came after a solid start by Holdsworth and Jack Catterall, so there were probably some nerves when after a similar start, the visiting skipper skied one to become the first departure.
But this time, the upper and middle order held firm and a fine half century of controlled aggression from the rapidly improving Will Moulton was the cornerstone of a challenging total.
St Annes began their reply, quickly passing the half-century, but as the clouds moved in and the breeze whipping off the dunes became more biting, Iain Critchley struck twice to put the brakes on the home progress.
However, ex-Pakistan test star Atiq uz-Zaman stood firm and after a sticky patch, got the scoreboard moving, easing his way to a classy ton.
But as the Vernon Road men slipped behind, the run chase was never really on and though Holdsworth rang the changes bowling wise, St Annes saw out the game to share the spoils.