Clitheroe find themselves in unchartered waters following another weekend without a win.
The Lancashire League champions, who lost just six times during a four-year rule in the Ribblesdale League, suffered a fourth defeat across the board in just the sixth weekend of the campaign.
The Chatburn Road side, who had previously lost to Burnley in the league and Ramsbottom in the first round of the Worsley Cup, were seen off by last season’s runners up Darwen before Chorley edged past them in the Lancashire Knockout Cup in an exhilarating tie.
The hosts prevailed in a high-scoring match at Birch Hall courtesy of professional Calvin Savage’s unbeaten 170, a league best so far this season.
The South African all-rounder’s return, which eclipsed Ben Heap’s previous high of 144 this term, was made from 112 balls, inclusive of 13 fours and 11 sixes as Darwen finished up on 291-5.
The 25-year-old, who has represented both KwaZulu-Natal and the Dolphins in his homeland, put on 152 for the fifth wicket with skipper Mark Friend, who made 50 from 66 balls. Sam Halstead escaped most of the punishment handed out by Savage in taking 3-43 but Clitheroe professional Fawad Alam’s 12 overs went for 94.
Alam did play his part in his side’s innings when finishing unbeaten on 96 with 14 fours and three sixes but his side were restricted to 230-9.
Dave Bowden took 4-52 and Kamran Anwar 3-68 with Harrison Phelan making 21 for the visitors who were also helped by 52 extras.
Clitheroe were then beaten by virtue of wickets lost in their county cup game on home soil having equalled Chorley’s score.
The visitors, from the Northern Premier League, had Ed Moulton largely to thank after his unbeaten 86 helped them climb to a 230-5 finish.
The younger sibling put on 57 for the fourth wicket alongside brother Will, who ended the afternoon with 38 runs.
Opener Stuart Naden had earlier made 41 off 37 deliveries for the away side while skipper Andrew Holdsworth reached 35.
At 89-6, with Joe Barker taking 2-30 from a seven over spell, Clitheroe looked well and truly out of it but captain Jack Dewhurst and Sam Mulligan had other ideas.
The pair were in fine form, rattling the runs off at an impressive rate, and when the skipper hit professional Gayan Maneeshan for three sixes in a single over the tide seemed to be turning.
When Dewhurst brought up his century, the hosts required 26 runs from the final four overs.
Mulligan was stumped superbly by Harry Barclay in the 46th over off a Will Moulton yorker just one run short of his half-century and then Dewhurst became Barclay’s fifth victim of the afternoon when edging to the wicket-keeper for 120.
Clitheroe were left needing 13 runs off the last over, six from the final four balls and then just one from the final delivery of the day.
However, despite desperate attempts, they couldn’t quite get it over the line and they were out, despite the scores finishing all square.