Lancashire lead the way in crowded cricket weekend for Blackpool

Steven Croft back at Stanley Park
Steven Croft back at Stanley Park

The stakes could hardly be higher as county cricket takes centre stage at Stanley Park on Friday.

The Blackpool ground hosts Lancashire Lightning against Derbyshire Falcons in the Royal London Cup and the Red Rose need a victory to keep alive their hopes in this 50-overs clash.

After a stuttering start, Lancashire have registered back-to-back wins but it is looking increasingly likely that they need to win all three remaining matches to qualify.

The duo of Dane Vilas and Jordan Clark could not have been in better nick.

South African Vilas hit his maiden Red Rose century in Wednesday’s win over Worcester, when he shared in an unbroken 160-run partnership with Clark, who said: “The aim now is to come away from Blackpool with our third win the bag.

“It’s great for me to be going back to Blackpool because it doesn’t really bounce and you can just get on your front foot and whack it!”

It’s the start of a busy weekend at Stanley Park, which features three Blackpool first XI matches. The first two are Twenty20 derbies on Saturday against Fleetwood (noon) and St Annes (3.30pm).

The competition has been switched to Saturdays this season and is being played as a series of double-headers.

Blackpool captain Paul Danson regards the T20 as “a bit of fun” but has certain reservations. He told The Gazette: “Of all the competitions it is the least of our priorities and we’re probably a team suited to longer formats.

“We will play our professional (New Zealander Anurag Verma), even though pros aren’t eligible for the later stages. I’d have to think twice about bringing in players from the second XI, though, because they would then be cup-tied for the seconds competition.

“I will probably change our batting order and promote some players who need time at the crease.”

A higher priority is the Royal London Club Championship, in which Netherfield are Sunday’s visitors in the second round.

Danson added: “Our team has been together for around five seasons now but we haven’t really progressed in the knockout. It’s something we really want to do, though Netherfield will be tough.

“But we made a massive statement by winning there on the first day of the league season.”

Lancashire squad: Croft (captain), Anderson, Brown, Clark, Davies, Hameed, Jarvis, Kerrigan, Lilley, Livingstone, McLaren, Parry, Bailey, Vilas.

WEEKEND CRICKET FIXTURES

SATURDAY

NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE Twenty20 CuP: Blackpool v Fleetwood (noon) and St Annes (3.30pm), Barrow v Kendal/Penrith, Lancaster v Morecambe/Netherfield, Chorley v Preston/Leyland

LIVERPOOL COMPETITION ECB PREMIER LEAGUE: Ormskirk v Lytham

PALACE SHIELD PREMIER DIVISION: Croston v Thornton Cleveleys, Freckleton v Torrisholme, Garstang v Eccleston, Longridge v Fulwood and Broughton, Rufford v Great Eccleston, Vernon Carus v Penwortham

DIVISION ONE: Fylde v South Shore, Norcross v Hoghton, Whittingham & Goosnargh v Garstang 2.

DIVISION TWO: Gregson Lane v Kirkham & Wesham, Penwortham 2 v Wrea Green

SUNDAY

ROYAL LONDON CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP SECOND ROUND: Blackpool v Netherfield,

Longridge v St Annes

NAT WEST CLUB TWENTY20: Lytham v Prescot and Odyssey

Lancashire squad: Croft (captain), Anderson, Brown, Clark, Davies, Hameed, Jarvis, Kerrigan, Lilley, Livingstone, McLaren, Parry, Bailey, Vilas.