Blackpool cricket captain Paul Danson wary of 'dark horses' St Annes

Blackpool Cricket Club captain Paul Danson lists St Annes among the clubs posing the greatest threat to their Northern Premier League title defence, tipping their Fylde coast neighbours as “dark horses”.

By Andy Moore
Friday, 27th May 2022, 12:30 pm

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Fylde coast cricket: Blackpool, Fleetwood, St Annes and Lytham still unbeaten

After a season of struggle, the Vernon Road club have made an excellent start to 2023 and are far from the only Fylde club who can make that boast.

Blackpool, Fleetwood and Lytham all top their respective leagues with 100 per cent records from completed matches after five weekends of cricket.

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St Annes are unbeaten in the Northern League this season under the captaincy of deputy Nathan Bolus

Besides Blackpool, St Annes are the NPCL's only other unbeaten side, though the fourth-placed club are 11 points off the pace after winning three and drawing two of their opening five.

And Danson has been impressed by a St Annes side captained by Nathan Bolus while Nathan Armstrong recovers from injury.

The Blackpool skipper told The Gazette: “St Annes are my dark horses. If you look at clubs who have won the title in recent years, they tend have four or five key players and others who come to the party when needed.

“I think St Annes are very much in that mould and they could go very close this year.”

St Annes have benefited from getting their professional on board for the start of the season. Sri Lankan Yohan De Silva was their top scorer (with 44) in last weekend's 49-run win over Netherfield.

Blackpool, meanwhile are still awaiting a work visa for Indian pro Naushad Shaikh and are unable to engage a substitute until his documentation comes through.

Danson's side have progressed admirably without the all-rounder but have now lost the services of seamer Richard Gleeson, who is wanted by Lancashire now the short-format competitions are getting under way.

Lytham faced a similar delay over their Indian pro Akash Vashisht, who took 2-21 off 11 debut overs in last weekend's five-wicket win over Spring View in the Liverpool Competition.

Liverpool Comp leaders Wallasey head to Blackpool on Sunday in the second round of the ECB National Club Championship.

Wallasey's closest league challengers are Northern, who inflicted a 95-run defeat on Blackpool in the first round of the Lancashire Cricket Federation knockout.

TOMORROW'S CRICKET:

NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE (12.30): Blackpool v Penrith, Leyland v St Annes

LIVERPOOL COMPETITION FIRST DIVISION (12.0): Highfield v Lytham (Lytham 2 v Southport and Birkdale 2, 11.30)

PALACE SHIELD PREMIER DIVISION (1.0): Fleetwood v Croston, Kirkham and Wesham v Morecambe, Euxton v Great Eccleston, Torrisholme v Thornton Cleveleys.

DIVISION 1A (1.0): Fylde v Grimsargh

DIVISION 1B (1.0): Thornton Cleveleys 2 v Blackpool 2, Great Eccleston 2 v Leyland 2, Longridge 2 v Fleetwood 2

DIVISION 2 (1.0): Norcross v Torrisholme 2, St Annes 2 v Penwortham 3, Wrea Green v Ingol with Freckleton

SUNDAY

ECB NATIONAL CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP (1.0): Blackpool v Wallasey

PALACE SHIELD MEYLER CUP (1.30): Fylde v Kirkham and Wesham, Great Eccleston v Euxton, Barrow v Fleetwood, Carnforth v Thornton Cleveleys

PALACE SHIELD LOXHAM CUP (1.30): Kirkham and Wesham 2 v Great Eccleston 2, Norcross v Blackpool 2, St Annes 2 v Netherfield,

LIVERPOOL COMPETITION CHESTER CUP (12.0): Lytham 2 v Formby 2