Fylde coast cricket preview: Blackpool dazzling for Danson but it's only half-time in Northern Premier League
Blackpool return to the scene of this season’s only Northern Premier League defeat tomorrow, with captain Paul Danson delighted to find his team “in a good place”.
Since losing at Fulwood and Broughton on the opening day in April, Danson’s side have won all eight completed games in division one (the weather won the other two) and top the table by 26 points at the halfway stage.
Danson told The Gazette: “Everyone knows his role in the side and we have good momentum. We are performing every discipline well and everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.
“We aren’t just scraping over the line – we’re taking the game to teams but we won’t underestimate Fulwood.
“They beat us heavily and have a good Indian pro (Abhay Negi). It only takes one reverse and your season can go off the boil.”
But Blackpool’s own Indian professional has played his part in Blackpool’s outstanding season to date.
Shivam Chauhan has scored 450 runs and taken 22 wickets, and Danson added: “Shiv can play and has fitted in well. He hits it very hard and is certainly destructive. He’s as good a batter as we’ve seen in my time here.
“We were told he was a ‘bits and pieces’ bowler but he’s taken a few wickets with his off-spin, and what’s great is that the wickets are being shared through the team.”
One man getting more than his fair share is Matt Grindley, the league’s top wicket-taker with 43 in all competitions.
Danson added: “Matt is respected throughout the league and week in, week out you know what you will get from him.
“Most weeks you chuck him the ball and he’ll get you wickets without going for many runs. He’s also a useful batter down the order.
“Ciaran Johnson is a player who has loads of talent and has really come of age this season, having shown glimpses in the past.
“But I don’t like to single people out because we win and lose as a team and it’s a good team to captain.”
The only other game the team have lost this season was Sunday’s third-round tie in the National Club Championship. But Danson still saw positives in the six-wicket defeat away to Liverpool Competition premier division side Ormskirk.
“It says something when you can come back from 26-6 on a pitch that was tennis-ball bouncy and still score 113. They are a decent side but we had them four down for 30, then one good stand has won it.”
And Blackpool’s success this season has been achieved without a single home match as Stanley Park is not yet ready after major drainage work.
Danson said: “It’s unusual for a cricket captain to say this but we need some rain ... for the new surface.
“I know Shiv is really looking forward to playing at Stanley Park but it has suited us playing on result wickets every week. Blackpool is one of the best wickets but it’s difficult to bowl teams out.
“But the 40-over cup final against Chorley is scheduled to be played at Blackpool on July 25, so it would be great to host that and pick up some silverware.”
Northern Premier Cricket League: Fulwood and Broughton v Blackpool, Longridge v Fleetwood, St Annes v Morecame, Chorley v Kendal, Garstang v Leyland, Netherfield v Lancaster
Liverpool Competition first division: Birkenhead Park v Lytham
Moore and Smalley Palace Shield premier divison: Kirkham and Wesham v Fylde, Penrith v Great Eccleston, South Shore v Croston, Thornton Cleveleys v Penwortham, Preston v Eccleston, Vernon Carus v Barrow
Division 1B: Blackpool 2 v Fulwood and Broughton 2, Fleetwood 2 v Longridge 2, Great Eccleston 2 v Netherfield 2, Morecambe 2 v St Annes 2
Division 2: Ingol v Wrea Green, Norcross v Whittingham and Goosnargh, Penwortham 2 v Thornton Cleveleys 2
SUNDAY Loxham Cup quarter-final: St Annes 2 v Fulwood and Broughton 2
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