Ryan’s having a ball

Ryan Smith
Ryan Smith

YOU’D have thought Fleetwood CC’s unhappy season would put even the most laid-back Aussie in a bad mood, but club professional Ryan Smith is enjoying every minute at Broadwater.

Fleetwood started the Northern Premier League season with high hopes of improving on last season’s ninth place, but even that position is starting to look beyond them.

Strictly speaking, Fleetwood aren’t bottom of Division One, though the Lancashire Colts side below have only played half the number of games.

Matt Clark’s side have won only twice in the league, most recently against Blackpool on the last Bank Holiday Monday.

But Smith (pictured below) isn’t letting this get him down in his second season at the club, having replaced fellow Australian Matt Frith as pro this year.

“I’m really enjoying it and it’s good to be back,” he said. “They’re a good set of guys, and although we aren’t doing so well, we still hope to turn it round.”

The problem for the 24-year-old pro from Sydney is putting his finger on where the problem lies.

He said: “We’re doing one thing well one week and dropping off the next.

“We bat well in one game but don’t bowl well, then the next week it’s the total opposite.

“It’s not as though we are getting smashed each week – we’re only just losing games.”

Having held on for a draw against champions Leyland a fortnight ago, when all-rounder Smith scored a season’s best 65 off 51 balls, Fleetwood followed up with a three-wicket defeat by Darwen in which the pro was run out for two.

After a productive season back home with the Penrith club, Smith admits he is yet to reproduce last summer’s form for Fleetwood, which brought interest from Derbyshire.

He has been hampered by a shoulder injury, but isn’t using that as an excuse.

“I’d like to do better. It’s a little tougher this year as pro but I’m finding it a good challenge,” added Smith, who was Fleetwood’s leading wicket-taker last year with 53 and topped the league’s catching chart with 19.

“I do hope to get involved with Derbyshire again before the season is out, but I don’t want to overdo it until the shoulder is right, and obviously, as pro, I have more responsibilities at Fleetwood.”

Fleetwood had no game last weekend, when Smith arranged to deputise as professional for Rishton in the Lancashire League, only for their game against Colne to be washed out.

He will be returning to Penrith after the English season, and admits he hasn’t really thought beyond that to the possibility of a third summer in this country.

He said: “We have former Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss coaching Penrith next season, so it should be exciting.

“As for coming back to England, we’ll see how the shoulder holds up.”

n Thornton Cleveleys lost by five wickets to Fylde in the Illawalla derby in the Moore & Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division.

After Thornton Cleveleys had been dismissed for 154 with two balls remaining, the visitors sealed a five-wicket win in 31.3 overs.

Fylde leapfrogged their hosts, who are back in the bottom three.