If ever a team needed a win, club professional Richard Gleeson admits it was his Blackpool side.
Sunday’s thumping eight-wicket Readers Cup victory at St Annes stopped the rot for the Stanley Park side and boosted their flagging confidence ahead of tomorrow’s daunting trip to leaders Barrow in the Northern Premier League.
Blackpool appear to have the hex over their derby rivals, winning all three meetings so far this season in different competitions, and last weekend’s encounter couldn’t have been better timed.
Since defeating them in NPL division one at the end of April, Blackpool have lost all six league games to have beaten the weather, plunging into the bottom four and leaving their good start to the season a distant memory.
But Gleeson, who has been at the club more than a decade but is in his first season as professional, believes Blackpool have the personnel to turn things around quickly.
Gleeson told The Gazette: “It was a very good win last Sunday and one which was much-needed. We probably just haven’t gelled and put in the performances as a team.
“We’ve had one person standing up and getting a 50 or somebody else taking a few wickets, but we haven’t put in the performances consistently as a team. We’ve been slow on the uptake and have made mistakes in the field.
“We’ve been losing games which we have been close to winning and that can get into the players’ heads and start a cycle it’s difficult to get out of but one good win can turn it round and hopefully the Readers Cup win will act as a turning point.”.
Gleeson reflected on the win: “The young lads got us off to a good start (Ben Eckton dismissed both St Annes openers cheaply).
“We really stepped up with the ball on what was a good wicket and we kept St Annes under pressure. We also backed each other up in the field.
The Readers Cup victory was all the more remarkable as Blackpool, beaten by 29 runs at Chorley the previous day, were without such key players as Steve Mercer and Steven Twist.
“It meant we had a chaseable target (195 for victory from 40 overs), and John Mounsey started really positively to get us up and running. Craig Brown came into the side and did well.”
Mounsey’s unbeaten 78 was his best of a disappointing season, while wicketkeeper Brown, who played the other key innings for 72, does have a century to his name this season, though that was for the third XI.
Mercer and Twist will again be absent in Cumbria tomorrow, but Gleeson admits it would have been difficult to change a winning side anyway.
“The players who came in against St Annes did well and couldn’t be dropped. The most important thing is that we go there in a winning frame of mind.”
Barrow still top the tree after 11 games, despite losing for the first time this season to Netherfield last time out.
And Gleeson, who is waiting to learn who Blackpool will face in the second round of the Readers, is anxious to see his side rediscover their league form.
He added: “It’s good to win any match but the cups are not something we have specifically targeted this season.”
Blackpool can depend on Gleeson’s services for the rest of the season despite his minor counties involvement with Cumberland.
He explained: “Blackpool matches take priority over Cumberland but they are good at organising the matches so we don’t have a clash.”