Fylde coast cricket preview: Blackpool bowler is enjoying individual and team success
It’s hard to imagine there are many Northern Premier League cricketers enjoying a better season than Blackpool’s Matt Siddall.
Besides helping the Stanley Park club to sit pretty at the top of the table, with the 40-over Cup already in the cabinet, the spinner has also made his Minor Counties breakthrough.
Siddall has become a regular for Cumbria, playing alongside Blackpool opener Sam Dutton, and took 6-82 in the three-day game against Bedfordshire.
Last weekend was a washout for most NPCL players but Siddall was involved in a bowlout victory over Cambridgeshire, which propelled the Cumbrians to a One Day Trophy final against Berkshire.
It’s a bonus for the bowler who came through the youth system at Blackpool and has no connection to Cumbria except as a teammate of Barrow-born Dutton.
Matt told The Gazette: “They are allowed a couple of non-Cumbrians in the team and I know Sam, who has played for them for years.
“They invited me to a couple of development games. I’ve fitted in well and am surprised how well my body has coped with so much cricket.
“The Bedford game was good for me personally but we lost the match heavily and that is what really matters.
“We have struggled in the three-day games with a bit of inexperience but have done really well to progress to the 50-over final.”
Siddall is aware the Minor Counties circuit can be a springboard for individual success, as former Blackpool teammate Richard Gleeson knows only too well.
Success with Cumberland started his journey on a road which led him into England ODI contention, though injury has ruined his season with Lancashire and Manchester Originals.
Cumbria’s next three-day match starts on Sunday against Buckinghamshire at Furness, meaning Siddall heads north after tomorrow’s Blackpool-Fleetwood derby.
Ominously for Fleetwood, Siddall took 4-7 in Blackpool’s last league game, a seven-wicket win over Morecambe.
That was a fortnight ago as last weekend’s NPCL programme was wiped out by the weather, maintaining Blackpool’s 35-point lead with just 75 left to play for.
Siddall added: “It’s been a very good and exciting season for Blackpool. We have a good pro in Shivam Chauhan, who has helped the whole squad.
“I missed the 40-over Cup final playing for Cumbria but the league is the big one so I want to help the team wrap that up.
“You are always disappointed when you can’t play because of rain, but when you look at the table last weekend wasn’t bad for us.”
Siddall is relishing the derby at Stanley Park, which reopened last month after major works on the ground.
It’s a top v bottom encounter and he said: “These are always big games but this one is massive because both teams need the points.
“We may be favourites but it only takes one player to have a great game or a cluster of wickets to fall quickly and everything changes.”
The ground will stage the Palace Shield’s Loxham Cup final on Sunday, when Blackpool welcome Longridge for the second XI decider.
Siddall helped Blackpool keep their treble hopes alive with a 31-run win at Fulwood and Broughton in Tuesday’s last Readers T20 group game.
Morecambe and Netherfield have already made finals day, with the other two qualifiers to be determined in Sunday’s closing group games.
Blackpool could finish second in group two on run rate if Fleetwood win at Longridge. Neither Fleetwood nor St Annes can qualify.
Northern Premier League (12.30): Blackpool v Fleetwood, Garstang v St Annes, Lancaster v Kendal, Leyland v Morecambe, Longridge v Fulwood and Broughton, Netherfield v Chorley
Liverpool Competition first division (12.0): Lytham v Birkenhead Park
Moore and Smalley Palace Shield premier division (1.30): Thornton Cleveleys v Kirkham and Wesham, Great Eccleston v Barrow, Penwortham v Fylde, Preston v South Shore, Eccleston v Croston, Penrith v Vernon Carus
Division 1B: Fleetwood 2 v Blackpool 2, Kendal 2 v Great Eccleston 2, St Annes 2 v Garstang 2
Division 2: Gregson Lane v Thornton Cleveleys 2, Norcross v Eccleston 2, Torrisholme 2 v Wrea Green
NPCL Readers T20 (2.0): Chorley v St Annes, Longridge v Fleetwood
Loxham Cup final: Blackpool 2 v Longridge 2 (1.30)
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