“Hopefully the weather gods will shine on us”.
It is that time of year again when Lancashire Cricket Club swaps Emirates Old Trafford for the seaside, and Blackpool CC chairman David Cresswell is crossing his fingers that the good weather holds for tomorrow’s Royal London One-Day Cup clash with Warwickshire at Stanley Park.
The Fylde coast has basked in a mini-heatwave this week ahead of what has become Blackpool’s annual fixture in this 50-over tournament, though the last two have been hampered by the weather.
This is the fourth successive year Blackpool have hosted a group game in the competition but only the first of those, the two-wicket win over Middlesex in 2015, has not been impacted by bad weather.
The rain ruled out any result against Nottingham the following year, and although Lancashire managed to engineer a victory over Derbyshire courtesy of Duckworth-Lewis in 2017, spectators saw fewer than 40 overs bowled.
Now it is the turn of Warickshire to head to Blackpool for the fourth game in this season’s competition and Cresswell hopes the weather does nothing to spoil the club’s meticulous planning for the big day.
He told The Gazette: “Everything is on target. The ground is looking in splendid condition and the Lancashire team have already been down preparing the wicket.
“We hope the rain keeps away, unlike on the last couple of occasions.
“Before that we had a really good day in 2015 – it was nice and sunny.
“We are in the hands of the weather gods and we are keeping our fingers crossed for Friday.
“Some light rain has been predicted but we are hopeful it will not impact the day.”
The warmest welcome will as usual be reserved for homegrown Lancashire player Steven Croft.
And al though Lancashire’s England stars Jimmy Anderson and Jos Buttler will be on Test duty against Pakistan at Lord’s, there will be a chance to see some England heroes of the past in Blackpool.
The Warwickshire line-up includes a man ranked one of the best technical batsmen of his generation and one who has still not abandoned hope of regaining a Test place. Ian Bell made his debut in 2004 and last played a Test in 2015.
He is joined in the Warwickshire side by Jonathan Trott, who debuted for the Three Lions in 2009 and, like Bell, last featured on the international stage three years ago, retiring due to anxiety issues.
Cresswell is excited to be hosting such a key and attractive game in the calendar as another man with England honours to his name, Liam Livingstone, prepares to lead Lancashire Lightning into battle.
Cresswell said: “The club and its members are very pleased to accommodate Lancashire. It benefits the whole area.
“It is an attractive game and hopefully people in the north of Lancashire will flock to the area. We want to encourage as many people as possible to come along and we are hopeful of attract a four-day game in the future.
“The ground is looking in excellent condition and we are hoping for a good day.”
Stanley Park will stage four days of county cricket in August, when the Super League Roses clash between Lancashire Thunder and Yorkshire Diamonds on Tuesday 14 is followed over the next three days by a Second XI Championship match against Leicestershire.
Tomorrow’s action starts at 11am (weather permitting).