St Annes ready to face former captain in table-topping cricket derby
There's a feast of cricket on the Fylde coast this weekend after Lancashire leave town on Friday evening
Not least there’s a mouthwatering top-of-the-table clash on Saturday at St Annes, whose former captain Matt Grindley returns to his old stomping ground with leaders Blackpool.
Blackpool and second-placed St Annes are the last unbeaten sides in the first division of the Northern Premier League.
And Nathan Armstrong, who replaced Grindley as skipper at Vernon Road last season, is looking forward to welcoming his old team-mate back.
Grindley has hit the ground running at Stanley Park, with 16 wickets in his first 100 league overs.
There is no animosity, though, with Armstrong unsurprised by Grindey’s good start up the coast.
He told The Gazette: “It should be a close and entertaining game. Both teams are unbeaten in the league and I’m looking forward to it.
“It should be a good game with a decent crowd on, with the sun and the Beer and Gin Festival (which continues at the club until Monday).
“I know a few of the Blackpool lads and obviously it is the return of Matt Grindley.
“I’m not surprised Matt has started so well – he is a really good player.”
Armstrong is keeping his feet on the ground about a potential title push as the top two go head to head.
He said: “We are not getting carried away. We are just taking it one weekend at a time. We have had a good start but it is early days.”
The teams have already met this month in the Readers T20 at Stanley Park and Armstrong’s side will be looking to avenge their 15-run defeat that day.
The second round of T20 group games takes place this Sunday at Fleetwood, who face Blackpool and St Annes.
Armstrong added: “We had a bit of a gutting result in the first T20 game. We lost to Blackpool but we did not feel like we deserved to.
“We played in the second game that day but we have the early match this time (noon), so it should be an entertaining weekend of cricket.”
Like the Northern League clubs, Lytham also play on successive days this weekend, welcoming Liverpool Competition leaders Formby to Church Road tomorrow before visiting Crosby club Northern for their opening Ray Digman knockout trophy tie.
Northern Premier Cricket League: Fulwood and Broughton v Preston, Garstang v Chorley, Leyland v Fleetwood, Morecambe v Netherfield, Penrith v Barrow, St Annes v Blackpool
Liverpool Competition ECB premier league: Lytham v Formby
Moore and Smalley Palace Shield premier division: Eccleston v Kendal, New Longton v Great Eccleston, Penwortham v Lancaster, South Shore v Croston, Thornton Cleveleys v Torrisholme, Vernon Carus v Longridge.
Division 1A: Freckleton v Fylde, Grimsargh v Norcross, Mawdesley v Kirkham and Wesham, Rufford v Hoghton, Tarleton v BAC/EE Preston, Withnell Fold v Standish
NPL Readers T20: Fleetwood v St Annes, Fleetwood v Blackpool
Ray Digman Knockout Trophy first round: Northern v Lytham