That elusive first win of the Northern League season would give St Annes Cricket Club a massive confidence boost .... especially if it comes in tomorrow’s derby away to Blackpool.
The Vernon Road club have had little luck so far in 2019, losing captain Nathan Armstrong to a knee injury in the field against Fleetwood.
But wicketkeeper Richard Staines has happily stepped into the breach and knows victory at Stanley Park would be the ideal kickstart to their campaign.
The weather may disrupt the weekend programme but St Annes are due to return to Blackpool on Sunday for the final round of Fylde coast fixtures in the Readers T20.
Staines told The Gazette: “Nathan has been struggling to walk and I’m happy to deputise.
“We were unlucky early in the season and haven’t been able to get any momentum in the league, but it just needs one or two wins to turn everything around.
“We’ve had a few good cup wins, particularly against Wood Bank, and we nearly beat Horwich in the National Knockout on Sunday.”
New overseas player Tim Smithies scored his first St Annes century in the Wood Bank game and Staines says the Australian has made himself at home.
“Tim’s made a very promising start and is the rock of our batting,” says Staines, who is also encouraged by his own form.
“I’ve had a few starts and scored a couple of 30s. I just need to take that on now.”
It’s the story of St Annes’ season, though victory over a so far inconsistent Blackpool could change all that.
A win there in Sunday’s T20 wouldn’t go amiss either, though would probably come too late for qualification.
Blackpool face Fleetwood first and then St Annes, though the second match could be academic if Fleetwood win to seal top spot.
Blackpool would top the group by winning both games, though it is possible for all three clubs to finish on four points, in which case the group would be decided on net run rate.
NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE: Blackpool v St Annes, Chorley v Barrow, Garstang v Kendal, Leyland v Fulwood and Broughton, Netherfield v Fleetwood, Penrith v Longridge.
LIVERPOOL COMPETITION ECB PREMIER LEAGUE: Lytham v Northern
MOORE AND SMALLEY PALACE SHIELD PREMIER DIVISION: Eccleston v South Shore, Fylde v Preston, Lancaster v Morecambe, Penwortham v New Longton, Standish v Great Eccleston, Vernon Carus v Croston
DIVISION 1A: Kirkham and Wesham v Hoghton, Rufford v Grimsargh, Torrisholme v Mawdesley, Whittle and Clayton-le-Woods v Thornton Cleveleys, Withnell Fold v Norcross
NPL READERS T20: Blackpool v Fleetwood (noon), Blackpool v St Annes (3.30pm)