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MATCH REPORT: Rain frustrates Lancs Blast bid at Blackpool

MATCH REPORT: Rain frustrates Lancs Blast bid at Blackpool

Steven Croft struck his second consecutive half century on his home ground while George Bell made a highly promising first team debut before rain halted play midway through the 18th over with the Lightning 133-6.

Play was finally abandoned at 7.30pm before Durham could begin their reply.

The no result gives Lancashire one point and leaves the Lightning two points away from qualification for the Vitality Blast quarter-finals.

Lancashire were forced into making three changes for this match with 19 year-old Bell replacing the suspended Dane Vilas behind the stumps and playing his first senior Lancashire game, while Luke Wood and Rob Jones returned to the line-up in place of injured duo Matt Parkinson and Keaton Jennings.

And although Luke Wells made a strong start by taking three boundaries off Paul Coughlin in the second over, Durham hit back by taking three wickets in the powerplay.

Josh Bohannon had the top edge of his off stump clipped by Ben Raine for 4 in a rare wicket maiden over while left arm spinner Liam Trevaskis struck twice in the 6th over to send back Wells for 21 and Rob Jones for 0 to leave Lancashire 43-3 after six overs.

Croft had struck Australian overseas bowler Andrew Tye for two big sixes in the fifth over and the local hero from Blackpool helped rebuild the innings in a partnership of 30 with Tim David who deposited a six off Trevaskis onto the pavilion roof before slicing spinner Nathan Sowter to backward point after making 16.

Having reached the halfway point of the innings on 73-4 Croft then found excellent support from Bell who reverse swept Trevaskis for four and drove Scott Borthwick for six into the Media tent at long off in an entertaining innings of 31 from 27 balls.

Croft swept Trevaskis for four to bring up the hundred at the start of the 15th over and he reached both his fifty off 39 balls and brought up the 50 partnership off the final ball of the 16th over.

In the hunt for late runs Bell fell to a good catch by Coughlin at deep midwicket off Sowter and Danny Lamb thumped Tye for four before being caught two balls later at which point rain forced the players off the pitch with Croft left unbeaten on 52.

Lancashire travel to Derby to face the Falcons tomorrow evening.

“It was a bit surreal really,” said George Bell reflecting on his Lancashire debut.

“I didn’t expect it. I found out yesterday I was in the squad but didn’t know I was going to play until I arrived at the ground today.

“So I didn’t have too much time to think about it. I just went out to play my natural game.

“To come straight in and do that, I’m pretty happy.”

And Bell thoroughly enjoyed his time in the middle at Stanley Park.

“I was loving it,” he admitted. “I just tried to enjoy it because I might not get the opportunity again for a few weeks with players coming back.”

There was a huge contrast of experience during Bell’s partnership with Croft who has played over 200 T20 games for Lancashire.

“It was brilliant playing with Crofty,” added Bell.

“He’s a Lancashire legend and to bat with him for that amount of time was brilliant. I think he was playing for Lancs before I was born which is quite funny!”

Now Bell is hoping for further outings in the first team during the season.

“I’ve put myself in the shop window so it’s just what happens (next) from here, we’ll see,” he said.

Unfortunately Bell’s sudden elevation meant his family were unable to get to Blackpool today.

“My dad’s away on a work trip, and my mum couldn’t get here so I think they’ve been watching the live stream. My grandad has done that too I think,” he explained.

“It was a shame about the rain because I was going to take the gloves too, which would have been nice, but we’ll take the point and move on.

Ken Grime
Photos: George Franks

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