Stars booked for Readers glory

Matt Taaffee (St Annes) is bowled by Sam bell
Matt Taaffee (St Annes) is bowled by Sam bell
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Blackpool Cricket Club have brought a silver lining to a largely disappointing season for the Fylde coast’s major cricket teams, with a little help from their friends.

The Stanley Park club won the Northern Premier League’s 40-over knockout competition, the Readers Cup, boosted in no small part by the Lancashire duo of Steven Croft and Liam Livingstone.

Blackpool triumphed by 36 runs away to high-flying Leyland in the final, their victory platform laid by a second-wicket stand of 155 between the Old Trafford pair.

The visitors chose to bat at the Stanning Memorial Ground, where all-rounders Croft and Red Rose Seconds regular Livingstone soon took control.

Livingstone scored 84 off 76 balls with seven fours and four sixes on his third appearance for Blackpool, each of which has yielded a half-century.

Croft’s 98-ball 75, which featured four fours and three sixes, took his total for the club this season to 420 from six innings.

Devon Conway could at least boast of dismissing both on his way to figures of 3-49 from eight overs but he could not prevent Blackpool reaching an imposing total of 238-6.

In reply, Leyland could call on a rising Red Rose talent of their own in Daniel Lamb, who came in at no.4 and fired an unbeaten 95 from 103 balls.

He sharedf a third-wicket stand of 95 with the outstanding Conway, who was caught and bowled by Croft for 45.

But although Leyland kept wickets in the bag, they couldn’t keep up with the demanding run-rate and closed on 202-5, Ben Eckton the best of the bowlers with 2-35.

- Still smarting from Saturday’s defeat by Kendal, Fleetwood regained their place in the NPL’s top four with a six-wicket win over the Lancashire Cricket Board Colts at Broadwater.

St Annes’ Matthew Taaffe opened for the Colts side, which also included Lytham’s Danny Edwards and Faz Ughradar, who set a target of 181-8 after being put in.

Sam Bell was the pick of the bowlers with 2-33 off 12 overs and wicketkeeper James McDonagh led the scoring with an unbeaten 34.

An opening stand of 136 between Wayne Clarke and Adam Parker then steered Fleetwood to a comfortable victory.

Parker was dismissed for exactly 100, his second century of the season, having hit 12 fours and five sixes in a 96-ball assault.

Clarke soon followed for 35 but victory was assured and was sealed with over 12 overs to spare.