Fylde coast cricket preview: Blackpool relish top-two test

Paul Danson
Paul Danson
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Blackpool captain Paul Danson is praised title rivals Leyland ahead of tomorrow’s crunch clash between the Northern Premier League’s top two – saying they have a similar philosophy to his own club’s.

Second-placed Blackpool travel to Leyland knowing a win or possibly a winning draw will enable them to leapfrog the current division one leaders and reclaim the top spot – nine points presently separate the sides.

And Danson says he is keen to not let Leyland break away.

He said: “Leyland are a good side. They have a good captain in Dave Makinson and it does not surprise me that they are up there.

“If we lose on Saturday it will give Leyland an advantage of 20 points or more and we will start playing catch-up, which we do not want to be doing.

“We are in good spirits and we are confident.

“If you would have said at the start of the season that we would be going into the second half of the season in second spot we would have taken that.

“We have just got to try to hang in there and get a run of results going from now until the end of the season.”

And Danson is pleased that Leyland are the side vying with his club for top spot.

He explained: “I think we are two similar teams, and I think it is refreshing to see two teams who back their homegrown players at the top of the table in a league full of imports and overseas pros.

“The future of the league is using homegrown junior players. The fact that two teams who are giving homegrown players a chance are in the top two can only be a good thing.

“We have about six or seven players in our first team who are under-19, whereas Penrith have a couple of pros and so do Lancaster.

“Before the season people would not have given us a chance. I think the league is wide open.

“Everyone can beat each other and it is how you respond to a defeat that is the key.

“The top few sides all have to play each other and I think it will go down to the wire.

“I think we are doing really well and we just have to take each game as it comes. We are looking forward to going to Leyland.”

Blackpool bounced back from their derby defeat at St Annes with a winning draw against Lancaster.

And Danson is pleased that the club’s New Zealand star Daryl Mitchell picked up his maiden century for Blackpool with 105 in last Saturday’s winning darw.

The skipper said: “We had a positive performance against Lancaster last Saturday. We bounced back from the defeat against St Annes to get 12 points.

“Daryl Mitchell had a great performance on Saturday with the bat.

“He has been looking good. He has been getting out when maybe he has been a bit too positive but he had a great knock last week.

“Stephen Twist is as good a player as anyone in the league and he made 58 on Saturday.

“All the sides in the division have good individuals. If we are going to challenge for the title, then we need someone else to step up and take up the challenge when players like Daryl and Stephen don’t fire – and our juniors have been stepping up.”

Fleetwood will be hoping to benefit from tomorrow’s Northern Premier League clash between the top two, Leyland and Blackpool.

Victory for Fleetwood at Lancaster could lift them above Blackpool if their neighbours fail to win at the Stanning Memorial Ground.

Last weekend’s derby win over St Annes, who host Preston tomorrow, left Fleetwood fifth in division one, just three points behind third-placed Barrow and a further six behind Blackpool.

Lancaster may only be ninth in the table but they frustrated Blackpool last weekend by holding out for a draw at Stanley Park.

Ahead of their visit to Lune Road, Fleetwood kept in the winning habit with comfortable 83-run win over Glodwick in their rain-delayed second-round tie in the LCB Knockout on Tuesday.

Australian Travis Dean scored his fifth half-century for the Broadwater club, scoring 52 as Fleetwood chose to bat against their Oldham visitors and reached 172-3, Dean Bell adding 41. Dean, James Amor and Alex Ryder then took three wickets apiece as the Pennine League club were dismissed for 89.

The result was never in doubt after three of Glodwick’s top four fell for ducks, leaving Fleetwood due to face Darwen or Ormskirk at home in the next round on Sunday week.

After last weekend’s draw with Wallasey, Lytham hope to return to winning ways at Rainford in the Liverpool Competition’s ECB premier league tomorrow. The St Helens side are two places ahead of Lytham in 10th.

Freckleton welcome Palace Shield leaders Vernon Carus to Bush Lane, while there’s a Fylde coast derby in the premier division between Great Eccleston and winless Fylde.

Garstang’s Ian Walling has won the Moore and Smalley’s SE+ Palace Shield player of the month tittle.

In his six games during the April and May, Ian took 29 wickets at an average of 7.62, including a nine-wicket haul against Longridge and an eight-for against Freckleton.

The all-rounder received his prize from Moore and Smalley’s SE+ Director, Judith Dugdale.

The team of the month award in the Palace Shield went to Ingol’s first XI, who won all six matches in division four.