When you think of the great sporting records at one venue you might think of the All Blacks at Eden Park, Chelsea in the noughties at Stamford Bridge or Rafael Nadal’s dominance at Roland Garros.
Lancashire’s record at Stanley Park, Blackpool, probably wouldn’t spring to mind. But their record at the Fylde Coast outground is mightily impressive. It tends to be the case that Lancashire only visit once a year of course, so bearing that in mind, a run of nine competitive List A matches unbeaten is a fine record.
They have won seven and had two no results in that time and so Glen Chapple’s men will make the trip North from Manchester with a great deal of confidence.
One win and two defeats from their first three matches doesn’t tell the full tale of the start to the One-Day Cup campaign. Narrow losses to both Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire were separated by a thumping win over Durham.
Performances will have pleased Chapple and it could easily have been three successive wins. As it is, Lancashire head into this clash with Warwickshire needing something as they bid for a first appearance at the knockout phase since 2012.
Warwickshire have played just twice so far, picking up a victory at Headingley after a surprise opening defeat to Derbyshire.
The Bears appear to have a nice blend of youth and experience in their ranks, with the veterans Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell as important as ever, supplemented by the likes of Sam Hain – who struck an unbeaten century against Yorkshire.
Former Lancashire coach Ashley Giles is the Warwickshire Sport Director and so he will be no stranger to Stanley Park, even though this will be the first time the Bears have played a List A fixture on the Fylde Coast.
The reason Lancashire managed to push Northants so close was thanks to a brilliant 68-ball 83 from Dane Vilas. The South African played something of a lone hand towards the back end of the innings and guided his side to a competitive total. Vilas has taken the gloves while Alex Davies nurses a hand injury and has also made a strong Championship score this season – 235* against Somerset. Vilas is crucial to Lancashire’s middle order.
Exciting young opener Ed Pollock signed a new Warwickshire contract ahead of the campaign but hasn’t yet found the big scores in this competition. Totals of just 8 and 26 are not what he will be looking to deliver. But the powerful ball-striker might relish the chance to play on a smaller outground, with the potential to rack up runs quickly for his side.
Lancashire have left out Tom Bailey, who’s struggled to reproduce his Championship form with the white ball. Graham Onions is likely to replace him but Danny Lamb provides another seam option. Arron Lilley also drops out of the squad.
Lancashire Squad: Liam Livingstone (C), Josh Bohannon, Karl Brown, Jordan Clark, Steven Croft, Alex Davies, Keaton Jennings, Danny Lamb, Joe Mennie, Graham Onions, Matt Parkinson, Stephen Parry, Dane Vilas
Warwickshire may name an unchanged side from their win over Yorkshire, with a strong pace attack featuring Olly Stone, Keith Barker and Henry Brookes likely to challenge Lancashire’s in-form batsmen.
Warwickshire Squad: Jeetan Patel (c), Tim Ambrose, Keith Barker, Ian Bell, Henry Brookes, Sam Hain, Adam Hose, Oliver Hannon-Dalby, Ed Pollock, Josh Poysden, Will Rhodes, Dom Sibley, Olly Stone, Aaron Thomason, Jonathan Trott
Weather and Conditions
All of the above could be entirely redundant as the forecast is for rain – and heavy rain at that. If play occurs, Stanley Park can produce inconsistent bounce and assistance for the seamers, but is a place where you can score runs quickly once in.
Date: 25th March 2018
Ground: Stanley Park, Blackpool
Odds (SkyBet): Lancashire 4/5, Warwickshire 1/1