It’s more than four years since Stanley Park last welcomed the Red Rose first XI, with the venue out of action for most of last season as major ground works were undertaken to provide facilities which meet the county’s needs.
Chairman David Cresswell told The Gazette: “We’re looking forward to some sell-out crowds.
“The weather forecast is more unsettled for the weekend but we’re keeping our fingers crossed it will stay fine. We’ll have all the facilities available to give every visitor a good experience.”
Asked if these games could well and truly put Blackpool back on the Lancashire cricket map, Cresswell added: “We hope so. We improve our facilities every year.
“Lancashire have been playing very well and what they bring will make these matches very attractive.
“We have all the infrastructure in place. With only 40 overs bowled in these matches, we can use the same wicket for both and so there are no issues preparing the pitch between games.”
Blackpool’s first XI are without a game this weekend after they and St Annes surrendered the Northern Premier League’s last unbeaten records last Saturday.
The 99-run defeat by Longridge saw the champions knocked off the top but Paul Danson’s side have made an excellent start to the campaign without a professional.
Indian all-rounder Naushad Shaikh is still awaiting a work visa almost two months into the season and Blackpool admit this cannot drag on indefinitely.
Cresswell said: “We are still hoping he will come but we can’t keep on waiting, and we are reaching the position of having to say we’re really sorry and maybe we’ll try again next year.
“I know we are in very unusual times but our pro was no later than others in applying for his visa and it seems he isn’t being treated the same as everyone else.
“Our innings got off to a disappointing start at Longridge (35-5), chasing a decent total (210-6), and the game got away from us but we are very happy with our start to the season.”
The disruption of two Covid-hit years may be behind Blackpool but the consequences of the pandemic are still being felt.
“Covid has had an ongoing impact and we have lost some players but the resurrection of Allstars and junior cricket mean the future is looking good,” Cresswell said.
“We have gaps in a couple of age groups but that happens from time to time, and we do have some good 10 and 11-year-olds coming through.”
The other Lancashire fixture at Stanley Park this summer is the Royal London Cup tie against Northamptonshire Steelbacks on August 19.
St Annes CC is hosting a softball cricket festival for women and girls next Friday, June 24 (6pm).
There will be a free glass of prosecco for every player and a magnum for the winning team.
Players must be aged 12 or over and teams of six can enter for £30, though a team will be found for anyone who enters as an individual (£5).
An outdoor DJ will add to the fun for players of all abilities.
Players/teams must register in advance at https://stannescricketclub.org
Northern Premier League (12.30pm): Chorley v St Annes.
Liverpool Competition First Division (12pm): Colwyn Bay v Lytham (Lytham 2 v Colwyn Bay 2, 12.45pm).
Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division (1pm): Eccleston v Great Eccleston, Kirkham and Wesham v Preston, Thornton Cleveleys v Euxton, Torrisholme v Fleetwood.
Division 1A (1pm): Standish v Fylde.
Division 1B (1pm): Fleetwood 2 v Thornton Cleveleys 2, Great Eccleston 2 v Blackpool 2.
Division 2 (1pm): Longridge 3 v Wrea Green, St Annes 2 v Torrisholme 2, Vernon Carus 2 v Norcross.