Fylde coast cricket preview: Shivam Chauhan homes in on a Blackpool double for captain Paul Danson
Blackpool Cricket Club are looking forward to a run of home games as they target a league and cup double, no-one more so than professional Shivam Chauhan.
So says captain Paul Danson, who saw the club’s Indian professional score 80 in his first Stanley Park innings last Sunday to steer Blackpool towards a seven-wicket win over Chorley in the 40-over Cup final.
Having played every game this season away following major drainage work at their ground, Blackpool enjoyed a homecoming victory over Kendal a fortnight ago … but so comfortable was that nine-wicket success that Chauhan didn’t get to the crease.
But there were hard-hitting signs of things to come in that 11-boundary 80, which followed Chauhan’s third century for the club at Leyland the previous day.
It bodes well for a big finish to the season for the Blackpool team and for skipper Danson, who has the rare distinction of playing in trophy-winning Stanley Park sides in four successive decades.
He told The Gazette: “We won the Lancashire Cup in my first season, 1996, and there has been a steady stream of trophies since.
“Last Sunday was a fantastic performance from the lads. Winning the toss did help because we wanted to stick them in and try to restrict them on a flat wicket.
“We did very well to restrict them to 189 because we were without Sam Dutton and Matt Siddall on Cumbria duty. We thought it was a 250 wicket, so we’d have been happy to keep them to 220.
“We had different game plans for batting first or second. Shiv would not have opened had we batted first.
“He punished them in the first 15 overs and we really won the game in that period. Then we just had to make sure we batted properly.
“Shiv had been desperate to bat at Stanley Park and he’s really looking forward to our run of games at home. He batted well at Leyland but because we’ve been winning comfortably he hasn’t had too many opportunities.”
Danson had to wait until 2014 for his first NPCL title but he is set fair to lift the trophy for a third time in September – Blackpool also won last season’s abridged competition.
Blackpool take a 35-point lead into tomorrow’s home clash with a Morecambe side who have slipped into the lower half of the table.
However, that lead was cut by five points last Saturday as Blackpool had to settle for their first draw of the season, Leyland clinging on in pursuit of a mammoth 295-5.
Danson added: “We had a good game on probably the best Leyland wicket I’ve played on.
“It’s a game I think we’d have won had we won the toss, but we batted and with the rules in our competition there’s really no incentive to declare. But we won’t win every week and I won’t complain about taking 10 points from a drawn game and playing a good brand of cricket. We just keep going and every game is a different challenge.
“There are seven games remaining but the teams behind would need to win three of those just to get above us, but we’ll just try to keep on winning and not underestimating everyone because all the teams have been beating each other this season.”
They haven’t been beating Blackpool, not since the opening day when Danson’s side received an early wake-up call at Fulwood and Broughton.
It hasn’t gone quite so well in T20, though, as two defeats in their group have left any thoughts of a treble hanging by a thread.
To qualify for the semi-finals, Blackpool must win the group decider at Fulwood two weeks on Sunday and hope for a favour from Fleetwood at Longridge.
Danson said: “The T20 isn’t in our hands. We’d need Fleetwood to win and their priority will be survival in the league. I expect them to throw all their eggs into that basket but you never know.”
Fleetwood and St Annes occupy the bottom two positions in the NPCL and both face home double-headers this weekend in their bids to climb the table.
The Sunday matches are rearranged from a fortnight ago, when both Fylde coast clubs had to cancel their fixtures due to Covid cases.
The same applied to Lytham in the Liverpool Competition and they also have two home games this weekend to catch up.
Northern Premier League (12.30pm): Blackpool v Morecambe, Fleetwood v Kendal, St Annes v Fulwood and Broughton, Lancaster v Leyland, Longridge v Chorley, Netherfield v Garstang.
Liverpool Competition first division (12.0): Lytham v Rainford
Moore and Smalley Palace Shield premier division (1.30): Fylde v Croston, Great Eccleston v Penwortham, Kirkham and Wesham v South Shore, Penrith v Thornton Cleveleys, Eccleston v Barrow, Preston v Vernon Carus.
Division 1B: Fulwood and Broughton 2 v St Annes 2, Kendal 2 v Fleetwood 2, Leyland 2 v Great Eccleston 2, Morecambe 2 v Blackpool 2
Division 2: Norcross v Longridge 3, Penwortham 2 v Wrea Green, Thornton Cleveleys 2 v Ingol
Northern Premier League (12.30): Fleetwood v Leyland, St Annes v Netherfield.
Liverpool Competition first division (12.0): Lytham v Liverpool
Loxham Cup semi-final (1.30): Penwortham 2 v Blackpool 2
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