Croft predicts run-fest as Lancashire return to Blackpool

Steven Croft
Steven Croft
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Blackpool-born Lancashire captain Steven Croft is predicting a high-scoring encounter when county cricket makes a welcome return to the resort on Sunday.

Lancashire Lightning take on Nottinghamshire Outlaws at Stanley Park in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

The Outlaws have smashed the 400-barrier twice in the 50-over competition this week, blasting 445 and 415 in wins over Northants and Warwickshire respectively, and Croft expects another run-fest to thrill the Blackpool crowd this weekend.

That would be in marked contrast to last year’s match in the same competition at Stanley Park, when the bowlers largely held sway in a low-scoring affair and the Red Rose county passed Middlesex’s total of 161 with two wickets to spare.

The best part of 5,000 cricket fans are expected on Sunday and Croft told The Gazette: “There was a lot of rain around before last year’s match and that had an effect, but the wicket is looking good this year.

“If it stays dry, I can see it being a high-scoring game but whatever happens it should be great fun for the spectators.”

Croft has every reason to hope Sunday’s match is a runaway success.

He learned the game at the ground as a boy and his links to host club Blackpool CC have been maintained to this day – he holds a place on the Northern Premier League club’s executive committee.

The 31-year-old said: “I was captain for the Middlesex game last year, when I stood in for Tom Smith, and this will be my first time at Blackpool as full-time skipper.

“It is like coming home for me and it is so good to see county cricket coming to Blackpool again.

“The first team are doing well and there is a very good junior system, with young players coming through.”

Lancashire won Sunday’s RLOD Cup opener against Warwickhsire, but Northants bounced back from Monday’s Notts blitz to beat the Red Rose by 76 runs on Wednesday, when Blackpool CC seamer Richard Gleeson was in the Steelbacks side.