Weekend cricket preview: We’re out of race admits Fleetwood captain

Daryn Smit
Daryn Smit

Fleetwood CC captain Mat Clark believes the Northern Premier League title is out of their reach.

And the skipper says top two Leyland and Blackpool are deservedly fighting it out.

Fleetwood are third in the table with two matches to play, 22 points behind leaders Leyland and 11 off Blackpool, who have the trump card of a game in hand at home to Barrow on Sunday.

After last weekend’s washout brought five points all round, Clark doesn’t expect either Leyland (at home to Penrith tomorrow) or Blackpool (who begin their double-header at Lancaster) to slip up this weekend and he says it would be apt for the title to be decided when the top two face each other at Stanley Park on the final day (a week tomorrow).

Clark said: “It is mathematically possible for us to win it, but realistically I think it is between Leyland and Blackpool. The league table does not lie.

“They have been the best two teams this season.

“And when they play each other on the final day, it will be the best way for the title to be decided.

“Barrow and ourselves are playing for third place because I can’t see either of the top two slipping up.”

Fleetwood’s penultimate match tomorrow is a derby at St Annes, when Daryn Smit will be available as guest professional for the final time.

The South African stepped into the breach after Travis Dean’s return to Australia and Smith has made a massive impact at Fleetwood, taking 11 wickets in two matches and helping them to last month’s bank holiday win over Blackpool which could yet prove vital to the destination of the title.

Clark said: “It is Daryn Smit’s last week with us and it should be a good game. I just hope the weather holds out. We always have a tough game against St Annes.”

The Broadwater club lifted the league’s twenty20 triphy but Clark looks back on the season with mixed feelings.

He added: “The season has been a success for the club as a whole.

“We have evolved nicely, the juniors have done well and all of our senior teams are in the top five of their leagues.

“We won the T20 competition and it is nice to pick up some silverware.

“I’m personally disappointed that we are not in with more of a shout of the title, but the top two teams are rightly up there and will fight it out.”