Lancaster crumble at hands of Blackpool professional

Blackpool pro Christi Viljoen took nine wickets against Lancaster on Saturday.
Blackpool pro Christi Viljoen took nine wickets against Lancaster on Saturday.

The rain stayed away on Saturday but unfortunately the same problems remained as once again Lancaster capitulated with bat in hand at home to Blackpool.

The morning rain cleared to allow for a surprise 1.30 start given the doom-mongering forecasts.

Blackpool found their anchor early in the piece in the shape of Matthew Houston who occupied the crease for almost 50 overs for his dogged half century.

Initially Iain Perrieman claimed the first scalp of Richard Gleeson thanks to a full length one-handed pluck from Charlie Swarbrick at point.

Ben Simm introduced himself from the Atherton Road end in tandem with Iain Burstow as Blackpool skipper and number three Paul Danson targeted the short leg-side boundary to take Blackpool past 50.

After a rusty start, Simm found his rhythm and after having Danson caught by Danny Welbourne at mid-on, he quickly removed Blackpool professional Christi Viljoen bowled through the gate.

Houston was reluctant to budge however providing a gritty foil for Alex Smith and Andy Furniss to make a valuable 43 between them.

Furniss became professional Michael Barry’s sole scalp, leg before for 18 before Houston’s vigil ended bowled Simm for 50 to give the Lancaster skipper his fourth of the match.

The visitors went into the break the happier of the two sides with 154 a tough ask for Lancaster given the form of Viljoen with the ball thus far this season.

In truth, it was less of a chase and more of a procession for the hosts.

Jamie Heywood was the first to go in the third over, caught at slip trying to leave off Viljoen, a man whose name became a familiar sight in the wickets column.

Danny Welbourne and Alex Metcalfe battled through 10 overs to reach 18-1 before Metcalfe was adjudged caught-behind to the increasingly potent Viljoen.

Richard Gleeson kept up the pressure from the river end as Lancaster’s middle order crumbled to the Namibian international.

Barry was caught and bowled, before Swarbrick and finally Welbourne both chipped to the in-field to hand Viljoen five out of five.

A large thunderstorm threatened to end proceedings with the hosts teetering at 25-5 but an hours break allowed Blackpool and Viljoen to finish the job.

Perrieman gave Viljoen his sixth before Gleeson scuppered any thoughts of a full house for the Blackpool pro removing Billy Swarbrick caught behind for a brave 12.

Viljoen finished with the remarkable figures of 9-21 as Lancaster’s lower order was blown away, the hosts finishing with a paltry 62 in total and no points to their name.