MENAI Bridge suffered a near fatal blow to their hopes of retaining the North Wales Cricket League Premier Division title with a shock four-wicket home loss to Northop.

The defending champions now have almost no chance of catching Bangor in their hopes of back-to-back championships, with a lacklustre batting display leaving them all out for 148 from 42 overs at the crease.

Skipper Dion Holden was one of the only Bridge batsmen who managed to emerge from the game with any credit, hitting six boundaries on his way to 32 from 53 deliveries.

Wicketkeeper-opener Jack Gower (28), Danny Creek (19), Callum Andrews (15) and Gethin Roberts (12) were the only other players that managed to reach double figures during the innings, with the bowling trio of Andy Poynton, Ammam Mahmood and Bart Ryan-Beswick all claiming three wickets apiece at the combined loss of 90 runs.

Bridge bowler Liam Bibby made a positive start with the new ball with the quick-fire scalps of Alex Gill and Mahmood for a pair of ducks, and he also sent Ben Beaver back to the pavilion after the gifted batsman made just four.

Opener Thomas Hughes steadied the ship with a stubborn 35 from 102 balls, before skipper Gareth Williams turned the game on its head with an unbeaten 75 that included no fewer than 12 boundaries.

That proved to be the difference between the two side, with the visitors reaching their milestone after 45 overs of play.

The result leaves Bridge 26 points behind Bangor with two games remaining ahead of their penultimate fixture at Mochdre on Saturday.