Lancaster’s unbeaten run ended by Blackpool

Captain Ben Simm in action for Lancaster against Blackpool. Picture: Tony North
Captain Ben Simm in action for Lancaster against Blackpool. Picture: Tony North

Lancaster saw their unbeaten record come to an end after a second innings batting collapse against league leaders Blackpool on Saturday.

Blackpool skipper Paul Danson decided to set a total for the hosts but his opposite number, Ben Simm, and Liam Moffat made the going tough.

In a marathon spell not seen in the last couple of seasons, Simm rolled back the clock to bowl all 25 overs from the River End.

Scoring was not easy on the tacky Lune Road surface with Matthew Houston’s 1 from 20 balls bearing testament to that fact. Houston was the first to depart as Moffat squeezed one through the left-hander’s defences – 9-1.

Richard Gleeson and Danson slowly built to 32-1 before Simm broke the deadlock after a series of appeals finally led to Danson being adjudged leg before wicket.

And Blackpool pro Christi Viljoen followed Danson back after a turgid 29-ball 4 before Gleeson’s long stay came to an end at the hands of Simm for 18 – 47 for 4.

It looked even rosier for the Lune Road men when Simm picked up his third – Andy Furniss picking out Charlie Swarbrick to leave the Seasiders five down with 63 on the board.

Stephen Twist has long been a thorn in Lancaster’s side and Saturday proved to be no exception compiling a 50 partnership with Josh Boyne to take the score past 100.

Twist was in a belligerent mood dishing out harsh treatment to Iain Burstow and defying the slow pitch with his strokeplay.

Burstow got his revenge but not before Twist brought up his half-century – the big Blackpool left-hander picking out Callum East.

Once Twist departed – Simm helped stem the flow of runs picking up another Northern League five-for as Blackpool played out the remaining overs finishing on 136-8.

Lancaster came out of the break confident as Jamie Heywood stroked the third ball of the innings straight past pro Viljoen.

But the confident start wasn’t to last as Gleeson made his presence known, Heywood was trapped in front for 7 before Kieran Moffat gave Gleeson his second caught behind – both openers gone with the score on 22.

But the returning Rameez Raja looked in form. The Pakistani international gained the upper hand in the battle of the professionals by hitting Viljoen for regular boundaries.

Raja’s knock was to be a lone hand however as Lancaster’s amateur batsmen fell short of the mark.

Swarbrick was Gleeson’s third – bowled for a six-ball duck before the wily medium-pace of Steven Mercer made inroads.

Dan Chambers fought hard but Mercer’s drifters found a way through and after Craig Heywood was stumped down the leg-side to give Marcer his second the game was right back in the balance at 64-5.

The killer blow came soon after. Raja brought up a well worked 50 but calamity struck as Raja called for a sharp single and Gleeson was in action again throwing down the stumps to send Lancaster’s lynchpin packing for 51.

Lee Sparks gave the bumper crowd something to cheer with his usual do or die attitude. His eight-ball 12 including a towering maximum.

But Viljoen was to have the final say. His quiet day with the ball came to a shattering end in one over as Sparks, Iain Burstow and Callum East were undone by Viljoen’s ‘you-miss-I-hit’ tactics.

Sparks found Jake Muncaster in the deep before Burstow and East were trapped in front in consecutive deliveries to put the hosts on the brink at 83-9.

Simm and Liam Moffat fought hard to save Lancaster’s batting blushes but Gleeson returned to wrap up the match as Lancaster fell 40 short in a disappointing afternoon for the hosts.