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Blackpool Women showing Thunder the way

By Andy Moore

Thunder complete their Charlotte Edwards Cup T20 group campaign with home matches against South East Stars on Sunday (2.30) and Northern Diamonds on Wednesday (11.30, before Lancashire’s senior men face Worcestershire in the Vitality Blast), both at Blackpool. Having lost by four wickets to Southern Vipers on Wednesday, Thunder remain outside the top three and need wins if they are to qualify for finals day at Worcester a week tomorrow. Blackpool Women have won all four matches so far this season Blackpool have shown them the way by winning both games in the Lancashire Cricket Federation league so far and both T20 ties, all away from home. They launched their 40-over season with a five-wicket victory at Sefton Park. Captain Caroline Blundell put the Liverpool side in and they were all out for 73 in the 30th over as Ali Cutler took 3-14 from eight overs and Hannah May Jenkinson 3-17 from 7.5. Teenagers Milla Brotherwood and Katie Galligan were also among the wickets as Bobbi Campbell pulled off a spectacular run-out. Blackpool had problems of their own at 10-3 but victory was wrapped up in 15.4 overs at 76-5 as opener Phoebe Wragg made an unbeaten 47 from 55 balls, ending the game with a second six to add to her four fours. The second game away to Leyland 2 was reduced to 30 overs and resulted in a six-wicket win. Again, the hosts were put in and set a target of 126-3 as wicketkeeper Abigail Culshaw made 74 not out. Two of the wickets were taken by Karlie Manton and the other by Catherine Bampton, who shared the field with her 13-year-old daughter Jessica. Again Blackpool lost three wickets early in their reply but responded brilliantly as captain Blundell went on to make 79 not out in an unbroken stand of 115 for the fourth wicket with Jenkinson (14no), leaving them with a maximum eight points from two matches. They have progressed in two T20 competitions as well, winning by 151 runs at Penwortham in the opening round of the ECB National Women’s Plate. Blackpool chose to bat and reached a daunting 185-3, Galligan retiring unbeaten on 51 and putting on 89 for the fourth wicket with Jenkinson (24no). Wragg (33) and Blundell (19) had earlier shared an opening stand of 63. Wickets were then shared as Penwortham were dismissed for just 34 in 13.3 overs, earning Blackpool a home tie with Stockport Georgians next. Blackpool’s latest win was no less emphatic – a nine-wicket success at Shireshead and Forton in the LCF T20 Knockout Cup on Sunday. The Preston side chose to bat but could reach only 46-5 from their first 10 overs and were all out for 52 in 16.4. Jenkinson’s four overs yielded three wickets at the cost of just two runs. Brotherwood claimed two victims in her three overs, while Campbell pulled off an excellent caught-and-bowled, then Lucy Garlick’s sharp run-out ended the innings. Blackpool then needed just 5.2 overs to reach a winning 53-1, with Cutler unbeaten on 25, and they will host Leyland 2 in next month’s quarter-finals. As for Blackpool men, professional Shivam Chaudhary is encouraged by the young talent but wants to help the club fulfil its potential quickly. The Indian is averaging 54 from six Northern Premier League games since arriving at Stanley Park, hitting two centuries, and added 72 against Chorley last Saturday. Only one of those six has been won but Chaudhary is convinced the talent is there to turn the season around. He told The Gazette: “Dylan Henshall is very talented, Josh Boyne has good technique and there are quite a few good young players. We have the potential to challenge anyone.” Chaudhary has impressed club chairman David Cresswell, who said: “The pro has settled in very well and we're pleased with his performances. We're looking for a bit more consistency but I'm sure that once we have our injured players back we will challenge.”

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