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Thwaites Smooth Beer League Cup Final

Sunday 11th September 2005


Fleetwood 131-8, Blackpool 134-3

By Gerry Wolstenholme

Fleetwood's first Northern League Cup Final appearance for 11 years ended in defeat at Blackpool's Stanley Park on Sunday when they were restricted to 131-8 from their 40 overs. Blackpool replied with 134-3 to win by seven wickets.

Blackpool's Paul Danson won the toss and put Fleetwood in to bat and it was difficult going from the very start. Mark Emsley struggled against some tight seam bowling from the Taylor brothers, Michael and Chris, and it was the former who bowled him for three with the total on 14 in the seventh over. A change of bowling saw the downfall of John Wright when Steven Croft had him leg before wicket for 17, with two fours, at 36 in the 13th over.

Substitute professional Andrew Crook made 13, with one four, before he was leg before wicket to Justin Kreusch and that was 38-3 in the 14th over and at the halfway stage Fleetwood had limped to 48-3. Andrew Clough and man-of-the-match Michael Clinning looked as though they would stage a recovery but then an attempt at a sharp single ended with Clough, 11, being run out by a direct hit from Croft and that was 57-4 in the 26th over.

Adam Sharrocks helped Clinning put on 44 runs but when he had made nine he edged Croft to David Baker to make it 101-5 in the 35th over. Croft bowled Tom Wilson for two and Kreusch ran out Adam Breakell for one as Clinning struck three late boundaries, the first since the dismissal of Crook, before he was out to the final ball of the innings when he drove a ball low back to Kreusch who took a good return catch. Clinning's innings-saving 60 had come from 86 balls with three fours as Croft finished with 3-32, Kreusch 2-28 and Michael Taylor 1-21.

The lively Steve Hill and Tom Blundell could not get the better of Croft and Charles Boucher when Blackpool replied until Hill induced an edge from Croft, 18, and Crook took the catch at slip and that was 32-1 in the seventh over. David Fish came on to trap Charles Boucher for 25 at 61-2 in the 13th over and then just as drinks were to be taken after the 20th over Blundell had Tim Barry caught low at slip for six and that was 88-3.

Sadly that was the last of the Fleetwood success as Kreusch, 62 not out from 68 balls with nine fours, and former Fleetwood player Robin Bracewell showed no mercy. They put on 46 runs in 10 overs to take Blackpool to their target at 134-3. Bracewell finished the game by nonchalantly driving Clinning for a straight six and his 21 not out also contained two fours and was made from 29 balls.

Blackpool skipper Paul Danson commented, "I wanted to win the toss as I felt we could then control the game. We did just that and with our bowlers restricting them together with some fine fielding we had only 131 to chase. It was never going to be too easy on a slightly difficult track but Justin played magnificently and saw us safely through. I am delighted for the boys and for the club."

A disappointed Fleetwood skipper John Wright said, "We did not make enough runs and were always up against it. Thankfully Michael Clinning played a fine innings that at least gave us something to defend. It was always going to be a difficult task and so it proved as they got off to a good start but all credit to Blackpool, they bowled and fielded well and we lost to the better team on the day."

League Secretary John Cooper presents Blackpool captain Paul Danson with the Thwaites Smooth Beer Trophy

The Winners Blackpool CC

Fleetwood captain John Wright shows Josh and Ben the Runner's Up trophy

Martin Pickles of Blackpool, was this his last game for Blackpool?

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