Fylde coast cricket preview: St Annes' skipper hopes to lead a successful survival bid
Captain Tom Higson hopes a sensational performance in a dead rubber can revive St Annes’ fortunes in the closing weeks of the Northern Premier Cricket League season.
Having drawn their last three completed league games, Higson’s side would appreciate a win or two to pull clear of relegation danger.
The Vernon Road club are nine points clear of the bottom two with four to play as they prepare for tomorrow’s trip to mid-table Kendal.
The captain has certainly provided inspirational leadership and sent observers scrambling for record books with a double-century in Sunday’s T20 win over Chorley.
Nothing but pride rested on that closing group game, with neither club able to qualify for finals day, but Higson hopes to take that stunning form into the meaningful contests which will determine St Annes’ NPCL status over the coming weeks.
Higson said his swashbuckling, 35-boundary blast was a response to the previous day’s third-ball dismissal at Garstang, though the in-form captain had gone into that game buoyed by back-to-back league 60s.
He told The Gazette: “Yes, I’ve found a bit of form, which is good for me personally and even better if it helps us to get some results.
“There’s definitely a lot of work still to do but hopefully we’ll pull through.”
In the absence of Luke Jardine at Garstang, Higson was partnered at the top of the order by Rocky Flintoff, whose brother Corey also came into the side with Thomas Bradley unavailable.
Whoever plays in the coming crunch games, Higson has no doubt they will do everything for the cause.
He added: “The only target is to get as many points as we can. Hopefully we’ll get a win or two but the main thing is to get enough points to see us through.”
While Blackpool are, at most, two wins away from being crowned champions, the Fylde’s other two NPCL clubs have survival at stake, with Fleetwood currently rooted to the bottom and anxious to add to this season’s four wins.
The place of one of these traditional Northern League clubs could go to neighbours Kirkham and Wesham, who currently share second place in the Palace Shield with Vernon Carus, 10 points behind leaders Penrith.
Higson said: “There are a few clubs in the Palace Shield looking to take on the challenge of the Northern League.
“It would be nice to play Kirkham and Wesham next season but let’s focus on these four games.”
Northern Premier League (12.30): Blackpool v Chorley, Fleetwood v Garstang, Kendal v St Annes, Lancaster v Longridge, Leyland v Fulwood and Broughton, Morecambe v Netherfield.
Liverpool Competition first division (12.0): Lytham v Colwyn Bay.
Moore and Smalley Palace Shield premier division (1.30): Barrow v Kirkham and Wesham, Eccleston v Thornton Cleveleys, Fylde v Penrith, Great Eccleston v Preston, Penwortham v South Shore, Croston v Vernon Carus.
Division 1B: Garstang 2 v Blackpool 2, Netherfield 2 v Fleetwood 2, St Annes 2 v Great Eccleston 2.
Division 2: Gregson Lane v Wrea Green, Thornton Cleveleys 2 v Norcross.
Palace Shield 1B (1.30): Great Eccleston 2 v Fleetwood 2.
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