CHAMPIONS Llandudno suffered a fatal blow in their hopes of defending the North Wales Cricket League Premier Division title after a one-wicket home loss to St Asaph.
The disappointing result sees them drift to 40 points behind leaders Bangor with just five games remaining, and they look to get their season back on track this Saturday in their trip to Gresford.
Visiting bowler David North took out the dangerous pair of wicketkeeper Robin Smith and Matthew Jones for seven and four respectively early on, while Alex Owen was trapped lbw by Paul Fleming after contributing 24.
Stand-in skipper Danial Evans proved a more resolute presence and smashed a staggering 15 boundaries before he was caught off a Jason Foulkes delivery just one short of his century.
The same bowler was also on hand to decimate the lower order in a sensational 12 over sopell which saw him take the scalps of Ethan Hill (31) Matty Lambe (1) Andy Christian (2) and Tom Thornton (6) to end the day on 5-82.
Further double-figure scores from Ajay Dhawan (19*) and Kevin James (24) were enough to ensure the home side set an imposing target of 244-9 from 48 overs.
Things got off to a disastrous start for the visitors thanks to Thornton, who took out the opening duo of Mathew Ryan (0) and Nathanael Scott (6) in quick succession, while Will Ryan was caught off an Evans delivery on five leaving them on 17-3.
Things improved thereafter with a knock of 36 from Danny Ryan, who was also despatched by Evans, while Foulkes was trapped lbw by Jones one run short of his half century.
All-rounder Fleming then tipped the scaled in the away side’s favour with a superb century before he was eventually dismissed by Thornton on 106, and the same bowler removed Richard Marsh-Evans for 18 to finish with figures of 4-55.
With one spare wicket remaining, North and Andrew Pierce saw out the innings with six runs from the final three balls to secure a memorable triumph.