Fylde coast cricket: Victorious St Annes doing Flintoff proud

Two days after Andrew Flintoff's return to action at Vernon Road, St Annes CC's current big-hitter bludgeoned the club to another victory to maintain their unbeaten start to the Northern Premier Cricket League season.

By Andy Moore
Sunday, 5th June 2022, 4:45 pm

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Opener Tom Higson slammed 65 from 52 balls (10 fours and two sixes) to propel St Annes to a nine-wicket home win over bottom club Vernon Carus, requiring just 17 overs to amass a winning total of 110-1.

Forty eight hours earlier, Flintoff had rolled back the years in a fun-filled day of T10 cricket for charity, raising over £1,500 for the Alzheimer's Society.

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Andrew Flintoff back to his six-hitting best on the charity day at St Annes Cricket Club Picture: ADAM GEE

The St Annes club president paid tribute to two of his predecessors in the role, Brian Standing (who died in February) and his own late grandfather Harry Hargreaves.

Back on the ground where Flintoff made his name as a junior before his Lancashire and England heroics, he posted a video on social media and said: “A lovely day back at St Annes. Ex-players and a nice crowd.

“My grandpa and Brian Standing … two great men. Nice to be back.”

Flintoff will be delighted with his former club's season so far, bowling newly promoted Vernon Carus out for 105 in 37.2 overs as Lukman Vahaluwala took 5-16 from 10.2.

Captain Matthew Stevenson led the resistance with 60 (nine boundaries) from 100 balls but only one of his teammates reached double-figures and the wickets fell fast from 57-1.

Higson, whose Freddie-esque double century in T20 last season remains fresh in the memory, then put on 78 for the second wicket with professional Yohan De Silva (29) as St Annes raced to a fifth win in seven games and remain fourth in the table.

They are still 11 points behind leaders Blackpool, the league's other unbeaten side, who completed a comfortable five-wicket win at Kendal.

Josh Boyne stood out for a Blackpool side who have won all this season's completed league games, following his 3-20 from 11.5 overs with an unbeaten 45 as the visitors chased down a target of 109 in just 35.3 overs.

Put in to bat, Kendal had been dismissed with one ball remaining as the excellent Matt Grindley took 4-15 from 13 overs. Captain Chris Miller oversaw a promising start, top-scoring with 32 at Kendal passed 50 with just two wickets down. But their second-best score was 13 and the innings quickly subsided.

Boyne came in with the Blackpool reply at 20-1 and hit four boundaries in his 77-ball knock as victory was sealed at 110-5, the fifth wicket not going down until the scores were level.

Blackpool still lead second-placed Garstang by six points and Longridge, in third, by seven after the top four all won.

Lytham made it seven wins out of seven in the Liverpool Competition with a six-wicket success over struggling Ainsdale.

Indian profession Akash Vashisht is quickly finding his feet at Church Road, following his 3-61 from 24.4 overs with an unbeaten 77 from 111 balls (six fours)

Stephen Lucas had carried his bat for 76 off 187 balls (10 boundaries) for the visitors, who were put in and declared at 203-7 from 64.4 overs.

Opener Lucas put on 86 for the fifth wicket with Tom Oughterson (46), a stand broken by Jack Saunders, who took two wickets during his six overs.

Lytham then recovered from 18-2 as Akash put on 88 for the third wicket with Guy Roberts (58) and then an unbroken 77 with Joshua Holden to seal victory at 206-4 in 43.4 overs.

Holden finished 46 not out from just 27 balls, hitting five sixes and six fours to leave First Division leaders Lytham 23 points clear of second-placed Liverpool, though all the chasing clubs have lost at least twice.

Fleetwood also recorded a seventh straight league victory, winning by five wickets after dismissing hosts Great Eccleston for 118 in the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield.

After Ecc were put in, Matt Moat hung around longest for his 27 before falling to Jeremy Davies, who removed all the top four (for 36 from 14 overs). Also taking four wickets was Zac Corcoran (for 35 off 11).

Player-coach Atiq Uz-Zaman then led a positive Fleetwood response with 51 as victory was wrapped up with almost 10 overs to spare at 121-5 despite Mohamed Nadeem's 3-21 from eight overs.

Fleetwood lead the premier division by 22 points from Morecambe and Penwortham, with Thornton Cleveleys in fourth spot after a six-wicket win at Eccleston.

The Chorley side chose to bat but reckoned without Thornton captain Daniel Howard, whose 7-25 from eight overs dismissed them for 106 from 30 despite a fourth-wicket stand of 49 between Reece Thomas, with an eight-boundary 40, and captain Michael Atkinson.

TC opener Jake Apperley then retired unbeaten on 54 (11 fours) to ensure Cameron Smith's 4-19 from 12 overs was not enough as the hosts secured victory at 110-4 from 27.4 overs.

Kirkham and Wesham couldn't keep up the Fylde coast's winning trend, going down by a single wicket at Penwortham.

Asked to bat, K&W were grateful for 36 (from 40 balls, six boundaries) by number eight Justin Banks to extend the target to 121 from 35.2 overs, having slipped to 85-8.

Penwortham looked to be cruising at 118-6 but lost three wickets in scoring four more runs for victory, Justin Banks taking two of them to finish with 5-46 from eight overs.

Wicketkeeper Robbie Sumner kept his cool for 25 not out as a nervous win was completed in 22.2 overs.

Fylde were also on the wrong end of a single-wicket defeat in division one, seeing their 175-9 total at Withnell Fold passed with 10 balls remaining. Opener Will Smith scored 49 and captain Craig Allison 40 as Fylde raced to 121-1 after being put in.

But momentum was lost as Nick Fowler took 3-30 off 13 overs and Withnell's final pair needed just a single to wrap up victory after Matthew Cook's 48 (Smith 3-50).

St Annes 2 top the division two table after a three-wicket win at Vernon Carus 2 but Wrea Green are only a point behind after winning at Torrisholme 2 by the same margin.

Adam De Gray Birch's 3-16 from 13 overs helped restrict the hosts to 94-6 and Wrea Green then reached 95-7 in 32.5, wicketkeeper Tom Small scoring 41 of them (Ben Schofield 3-10 from 10 overs).

Norcross eased to a nine-wicket win after removing hosts Fulwood and Broughton 3 for 40, Richard Thomas taking 6-20 from 13.2.