Blackpool will have South African Grant Thomson in their line-up for the home clash with Penrith in the Northern Premier League tomorrow – and he is no stranger to the Stanley Park surrounds.
He has filled the role of professional before and on this occasion takes over from Chris Williams, whose contribution with the bat – he scored 88 – was so valuable in the victory against Lancaster last weekend.
Thomson’s main role is at Ramsbottom in the Lancashire League, where he is head professional; he took over from Daryn Smit, who left the club to play county cricket with Derbyshire.
An all-rounder, the 28-year-old can open the batting and has represented Northerns and Titans back in South Africa.
Blackpool skipper Paul Danson said: “We know Daryn well; he plays for one of the leading clubs in the Lancashire League and Ramsbottom must think highly of him to appoint him to replace a player like Smit.
“When Grant played for us before he got knocks of 130 and 55 and he is available because the Lancashire League play on a Sunday.”
Danson expects a searching test from tomorrow’s rivals, who pushed runaway league leaders Netherfield close last Saturday.
The Blackpool skipper said: “A lot of people thought that Penrith were dead and buried a few weeks ago and they looked in real danger of relegation.
“At one stage it looked as though they were going to beat Netherfield.
“They only needed 20 or so to win five wickets in hand until they blew it.”
As a result of a recent good run, Penrith have climbed to mid-table.
Blackpool go into the weekend in fourth position, one of a clutch of teams struggling to catch up with Netherfield, who are in pole position to add the league title to their T20 finals day success.
Danson said: “Netherfield had a bit of a reputation of having a soft-centre in the past, but that is not the case anymore.
“All the other teams are beating each other, except for Netherfield, who seem to be out on their own.
“We are nearly into August now and Netherfield are showing no sign of slipping up.”
Blackpool will be without Stephen Twist as he is away on holiday; Thomas Jefferson comes into the first XI.