Namibian Christi Viljoen Boosts Blackpool’s Title Hopes

By Marlos Papalolzou

BLACKPOOL might not be many people’s favourites to win the Northern League but in new addition and Namibian international Christi Viljoen they might just have found their trump card.

Viljoen took seven wickets in his last match helping Blackpool to a 58-run win over Barrow, taking the 26-year-old’s haul this season to 18 wickets from just four league matches at the club.

But with just 35 runs to his name in that time Viljoen wants to make sure that he is contributing to all areas of the team. With losses in their opening two matches Blackpool’s start to the season was less than ideal but back- to-back wins have seen their fortunes turn.

And with an air of optimism pervading all areas of the club after the arrival of their new professional, anything seems possible in the league this year.

Viljoen said: “I feel really happy and settled here and I’ve started bowling well but I want to contribute more with the bat.

“Bowling comes naturally to me to be honest but the batting is the side I enjoy the most.

“I really think that once we get going we can win the league and our minimum goal should be to get into that top three.

“I want to take as many wickets as possible but I don’t look at is as an individual, I just want the team to do as well as possible.

“I’ll be here for the whole season because I don’t have any games for Namibia so it will be nice to not have any interruptions and really get a good run of form together.

“It’s a different style to what I am used to and it’s a bit slower and colder.

“But it’s my job and I have the experience to adapt to the conditions and I think I’m starting to do that.”

Viljoen arrived before the season had started and found that Blackpool offered him an environment that meant he could settle in straight away.

“Everyone here has been so welcoming and treated me well so I feel at home already,” he said.

“I think that in terms of camaraderie this is one of the best sides I’ve been at.

“Arriving early made a big difference and I was able to just slot in and get used to it all.”

The confidence in Blackpool’s ability is something that is echoed by the club’s skipper Paul Danson. Danson believes that with Viljoen up their sleeves people might think twice about dismissing their title credentials.

“We have got a very young side and I think we are only getting better and I want to win the league,” said the captain.

“The results show that we are moving in the right direction.

“I don’t think people will be thinking we will be up there but now they might look at what Christi can do and think we’ve got a chance.

“He hasn’t started putting up the runs yet but looking at him in the nets he looks like he can do some real damage.”

At present the marriage of the Namibian international with his new club is a match made in heaven and Danson believes that there is plenty more to come from Viljoen.

“The fact that he got seven wickets and before that six and five says it all,” said the skipper.

“He does everything we need and that consistency that he produces is priceless and when you look at the league I think that it is bowlers that tend to win it for you.

“And if he can take 70 or 80 wickets then I think we will definitely be up there at the end of the season.

“For us we look at it as if we can put some good runs on the board and we have a guy like him then we will have a great chance against anyone.

“Once he really settles in then he will be doing that every week and will be taking wickets for fun.”

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