Published: 08 September 2014
Blackpool Cricket Club sealed a first Northern Premier League title since 1990.
Unbeaten in the first division since the second match of the season, the Stanley Park club have gone on to win 19 and sealed the crown with a match to spare courtesy of Saturday’s 87-run victory at Penrith.
They sealed the title without overseas professional Christi Viljoen, who has returned home to play for Namibia after taking over 100 wickets for Blackpool this season, and without batting second as they have so often this season after blitzing opponents out cheaply.
A delighted skipper Paul Danson said: “We have two players with over 180 wickets between them (Richard Gleeson now has 84 in the league) but we’ve proved we aren’t a two-man team.
“You don’t win 19 matches without being a good team and other players have stepped up when we needed them. It has been a superb dressing room.”
Lancashire’s Steven Croft stepped in as guest professional and contributed well with bat and ball, but fittingly there were outstanding contributions from some of Danson’s regulars.
After the rare experience of losing the toss and being put into bat in Cumbria, Blackpool recovered from losing Matthew Houston with just a single on the board as Croft and Gleeson put on 106 for the second wicket.
The Lancashire star’s 57 from 71 balls included nine fours and a six, while all-rounder Gleeson also fired nine fours in his 53 from 63 balls.
But both were outscored by Stephen Twist, who struck 82 from 69 balls (nine fours, three sixes) and shared in a fifth-wicket stand of 52 with the previous weekend’s hero Andy Furniss as Blackpool reached 250-8 in 50 overs (Paul Hindmarsh 4-70 from 14).
Gleeson then dismissed Penrith’s top three for ducks on his way to a third five-wicket haul of the season (5-41 from 15 overs), taking his tally in all competitions to 96.
And although the hosts recovered with a fourth-wicket stand of 67 between top scorer Ryan Carruthers (54 from 47 balls) and fellow Cumberland playerAlex Atkinson (31), Penrith were all out for 163 with eight overs remaining.