Top wicket-taker Matt Grindley targets Blackpool Cricket Club double on return to Stanley Park
Matt Grindley’s appetite has been whetted for Blackpool Cricket Club’s return to Stanley Park tomorrow, after having his fill on a diet of away games so far this season.
Having played the first 13 rounds of the Northern Premier League season on the road after major drainage work on their home patch, Blackpool welcome Kendal for their ground’s reopening.
Blackpool have thrived on their grand tour of NPCL venues this year: unbeaten in the league since the opening day three months ago, Paul Danson’s side have opened up a 26-point lead at the top.
No-one has prospered more than seamer Grindley, the league’s top wicket-taker with 37 victims – 48 in all competitions – and three five-fors.
Stanley Park is renowned as one of the league’s finest strips, though that can make the task of taking 10 wickets trickier than on other grounds where Blackpool have made a habit of skittling their hosts out in 2021.
Grindley is delighted though that Blackpool cricket is coming home ... not least because he recorded his season’s best figures of 7-38 against tomorrow’s Cumbrian opponents.
He told The Gazette: “We’ve made the most of being away all season so far but all the lads are happy to get back home and into our own changing rooms.
“Then next weekend we’ll have Chorley here in the 40-over Cup final, so there’s a chance of some silverware which is always great.”
With nine league games to play, Grindley is already close to his total wicket haul of 2018 and 2019 but he is quick to stress the contribution of all his team-mates.
He added: “I’ve had a good year and got plenty of wickets but a lot of lads have come to the fore, and with players like Jamie Thomson and Matt Siddall, we have a good team of bowlers.
“We have a really good squad of players who contribute in different areas. We cover a lot of bases and everyone plays a part.
“We got a wake-up call on the opening day, when we came up against a really good pro (Fulwood and Broughton’s Abhay Negi) who scored 120, and I think that really switched us on for the season.
“Of course, getting our own pro over has helped. Shiv (Shivam Chauhan) is a super player – one of the best batters I’ve played with – and is doing really well.
“Hopefully we can get where we want to be this season and the target is the double. We have to win one more match to win the cup but, in the league, we need to keep ticking over week by week.”
Having some home spectators behind them will help, as will Grindley’s exceptional form this season.
It’s another double-header weekend for the Fylde coast’s Northern Premier League clubs, with all three at home on Saturday, then on the road on Sunday for the penultimate round of T20 group games.
Those short-format games are all starting at 3pm after the host clubs have played another group match in the morning.
Lytham’s first XI game at home to Liverpool looks set to go ahead tomorrow after positive Covid-19 tests had forced the Church Road club to cancel their fixtures last weekend.
Sunday is cup semi-final day in the Palace Shield, when Fylde coast interest focuses on the second XIs of Blackpool and Kirkham & Wesham, who both face Penwortham sides in their respective competitions.
Northern Premier Cricket League (12.30): Blackpool v Kendal, Fleetwood v Leyland, St Annes v Netherfield, Fulwood and Broughton v Chorley, Longridge v Garstang, Morecambe v Lancaster.
Liverpool Competition first division (noon): Lytham v Liverpool
Moore and Smalley Palace Shield premier division (1.30): Fylde v Great Eccleston, Kirkham and Wesham v Penrith, Preston v Thornton Cleveleys, South Shore v Vernon Carus, Croston v Barrow, Eccleston v Penwortham
Division 1B: Chorley v St Annes 2, Great Eccleston 2 v Fleetwood 2, Leyland 2 v Blackpool 2
Division 2: Penwortham 2 v Norcross, Thornton Cleveleys 2 v Whittingham and Goosnargh, Wrea Green Eccleston 2.
Readers T20 (3pm): Morecambe v Blackpool, Kendal v Fleetwood, Garstang v St Annes
Loxham Cup semi-finals(1.30): Penwortham 2 v Blackpool 2, Longridge 2 v Fulwood and Broughton 2
Crabtree Cup semi-finals(1.30): Penwortham 3 v Kirkham and Wesham 2, Fulwood and Broughton 3 v Garstang 3.
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