Blackpool's Lancashire cricket star hopes to build on pleasing year and 'one of my best one-day knocks'

Whenever the cricket season finally gets under way, Lancashire batsman Steven Croft will be feeling in fine fettle on the back of an excellent 2019.
Steven Croft was Lancashire's top scorer in the Royal London One-Day CupSteven Croft was Lancashire's top scorer in the Royal London One-Day Cup
Steven Croft was Lancashire's top scorer in the Royal London One-Day Cup
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Armed with a new two-year contract at the age of 35, Blackpool’s own Red Rose star enjoyed a fine campaign in all formats as Lancashire won the second division of the County Championship.

And although they fell a little short in the shorter formats, Croft helped Lancashire to reach the semi-finals of the Royal London One-Day Cup. He was Lancashire’s top scorer in that competition, scoring 516 runs at an average of 73.71, and rates one particular innings among his best in one-day cricket.

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Croft scored 97 in the one-run win over arch rivals Yorkshire at Headingley, but it was his quickfire 110 in the second game of the competition against Nottinghamshire that kick-started his season.

Lancashire narrowly failed to chase down a target of 418 at Trent Bridge, losing by 11 runs, but Croft said of his century: “I think it was right up there for me really. The game before I’d batted at seven and I’d played well, then obviously we were chasing a massive total so we jigged the order a bit.

“It was one of my best one-day knocks but it was a little bit disappointing that we didn’t get over the line, considering it was a great chase.

“We had a few unlucky decisions and it would have been one of the better games I’ve ever been involved in if we’d snuck over the line.

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“I got a 97 as well. It would have been nice to get those extra three runs but I got over 500 runs in that competition and it kick-started my year.

“I did well in T20s and in the four-day stuff as well. I stayed down the order a bit and didn’t have much opportunity to get big scores.

“But when I did bat I made some useful contributions and stuck my hand up.”

Croft also turned out for Lytham CC when he could, and as for Lancashire's season overall he added: “It was a great year – Dane (Vilas) led from the front with the bat and the captaincy, and we won the league as well very comfortably.

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“It could have been easy just to get the promotion in the bag and then take the foot off the pedal, but we wanted to win the league and we wanted to stay undefeated, which we did.

“It would have put us in great stead to start this season. We thought we would be in great shape but obviously the circumstances are very unfortunate.”