Fylde coast cricket preview: Lancashire's Graham Onions set for Blackpool debut and St Annes aim to continue revival

Graham Onions hopes to make his Blackpool debut at the second attempt   Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Graham Onions hopes to make his Blackpool debut at the second attempt Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Blackpool Cricket Club seamer Matt Grindley is looking forward to bowling alongside Lancashire's Graham Onions at Stanley Park on Saturday.

READ MORE: Fylde coast clubs win in Northern League and Berrys Beds 40-Over Cup
The former England bowler has been named as Blackpool's substitute professional for fifth-placed Blackpool's home clash with Chorley in the Northern Premier League.

Onions, 36, was set to make his Blackpool debut a fortnight ago but the match against leaders Leyland was rained off.

Grindley told The Gazette: "It's absolutely great for the club to have a player like Graham involved.

"We all met him a couple of weeks ago when he came over for the warm-up ahead of the Leyland game and he came across really well. I think it's a real positive for the club and can only help all the players ."

The Stanley Park club was recommended to Onions by his Blackpool-born Red Rose team-mate Richard Gleeson, who continues to make occasional guest appearances for his hometown club.

Onions, who has played in nine Tests and four ODIs, is hungry for action as he is not in the Lancashire squad for the current Vitality Blast competition.

Blackpool have been recruiting guest professionals week by week since Lahiru Madushanka's call-up for Emerging Sri Lanka in June.

The all-rounder has remained in his homeland since helping Sri Lanka to triumph in a tournament in South Africa last month.

And with only six games of the NPL season remaining, it is unlikely he will return to Blackpool.

Wicketkeeper Ben Howarth captains Blackpool this weekend with Paul Danson away, while South African Ernest Kemm is Sunday’s sub-pro for the Berrys Beds 40-over Cup quarter-final at St Annes.

Stand-in skipper Richard Staines says he is still looking over his shoulder but is confident St Annes CC can keep their current momentum to ensure Northern Premier League survival.

St Annes built on victory over Kendal by beating Barrow last weekend to climb out of the bottom two.

The Vernon Road club head to Longridge tomorrow two points ahead of Penrith but now 33 clear of bottom side Barrow.

That win over Kendal was St Annes’ first of the league campaign, and now Staines hopes they can keep that momentum going and pick up their first away victory tomorrow.

But the wicketkeeper says it has not been an easy task, with regular skipper Nathan Armstrong set to be sidelined for another two to three weeks with only six games remaining.

Are they still looking over their shoulder? Staines told The Gazette: “You can never say never but I’m very confident we can make it. Hopefully we can keep this momentum up.

“After Longridge we face Chorley, which is a must-win, and then we have some tough games but I’m confident we will do it.

“It has not been easy with Nathan being out. He’s such a big part of our team.

“It was very difficult being the only team without a win but we are now looking up again. “Longridge have competed really well since coming up as have Garstang. Leyland are top at the moment but it could be anyone.”

Though they have been battling at the wrong end of the table all season, St Annes have had good form in the cups. They entertain Blackpool in the quarter-finals of the Berry Beds 40-Over Cup on Sunday after dispatching Penrith to take their winning run in all competitions to three games.

Staines added: “We’ve done well in the cups and that cup form has given us some confidence.

“People can think that the cups are not as important as the league, so there is less pressure.

“But we have back to back league wins now and we are hoping to build on that. The Kendal win was massive. For me it is all about momentum and we have that now.

SATURDAY'S FIXTURES:

Northern Premier League: Blackpool v Chorley, Fleetwood v Fulwood and Broughton, Longridge v St Annes; Barrow v Kendal, Garstang v Leyland, Netherfield v Penrith.

Liverpool Competition ECB premier league: Lytham v Leigh

Moore and Smalley Palace Shield premier division: Fylde v Standish, Croston v South Shore, New Longton v Great Eccleston, Eccleston v Lancaster, Morecambe v Preston, Penwortham v Vernon Carus

Division 1A: Kirkham and Wesham v Withnell Fold, Norcross v Mawdesley, Thornton Cleveleys v Grimsargh, Torrisholme v Rufford, Whittle and Clayton-le-Woods v Tarleton .

SUNDAY

Berrys Beds 40-Over Cup quarter-final: St Annes v Blackpool