Disappointed Blackpool Cricket Club captain Paul Danson declared his pride in his young squad after they missed out on the Northern Premier League title in the most agonising way.
Leading by four points going into Saturday’s Stanley Park decider against title rivals Leyland, Blackpool lost by seven wickets after being bowled out for just 63.
Danson told The Gazette: “I’m bitterly disappointed because we didn’t turn up on the day.
“The wicket looked a belter and both captains wanted to bat. It perhaps wasn’t as good a wicket as we thought after the midweek rain, and in a way I’m gutted we won the toss because it might have been a different story had we bowled. Having said that, it wasn’t a 63 all out wicket and we’re better than that.
“But my lads have been fantastic all season. It’s a shame the young lads missed out after all the effort they put in, but these guys could be around for the next 15 years and there will be a lot more opportunities to win trophies.
“A lot of clubs are envious of us. We are in a great position with the juniors and all the families attending the club, which is fantastic to see.”
The season was played out against a background of turmoil for the Northern League, with a possible mass exodus of clubs to a newlook Lancashire League averted.
The repercussions look set to continue over the winter and Danson added: “The various leagues are still chatting and the Lancashire Cricket Board are involved, so who knows what the future holds?
“But as things stand we’ll be in the Northern League again next season and doing everything we can to go one better.”