Fylde coast cricket preview: Fleetwood's massive weekend
A massive weekend is in prospect for Fleetwood Cricket Club, with three home games in 24 hours that will test their talent and resilience in equal measure.
First up, they have a home clash with champions Leyland tomorrow in the Northern Premier League. Then on Sunday, Broadwater will be the stage for important Twenty20 action.
Fleetwood will be in catch-up mode against Blackpool and St Annes in south division one.
First Fleetwood take on a Leyland side currently second in the NPL table and making a concerted bid for back-to-back titles.
Dean Bell, captain of a Fleetwood side lying sixth in the table, is under few illusions over the magnitude of the task against Leyland.
He said: “Leyland have been one of the strongest teams in the league for several years now.
“It is always tough to play against them and there is no such thing as a walkover against Leyland.”
Fleetwood will be close to full strength on both days, the one exception being Tom Wilson,
Bell, in his first season as skipper at Fleetwood, believes things are starting to knit together. The man he succeeded in the captain’s role, Mat Clark, has been a big help, while the commitment to the club of South African professional Neels Bergh has been enthusiastic.
Bell said: “Neels has been brilliant. As well as playing at the weekend, he is at the club four days out of five coaching and only takes one day off.
“As well as being such a very good cricketer, he has fitted into the club really well. We pride ourselves at Fleetwood on being a family club, where everyone works together.
“Mat has been a big help to me as well. I am on the phone to him virtually every day.
“The fact he is not full on all the time as captain has meant ta lot of the pressure is off him and that has helped his batting.”
On Sunday, Fleetwood stage the final round of T20 group games against their Fylde coast rivals.
The hosts have ground to make up on Blackpool, who boast a 100 per cent record after three games.
Bell said: “We need to win both matches and improve our run-rate to earn a place on finals day.”
Lytham are just as busy as the Fylde coast’s Northern Premier League clubs over the weekend with two big away fixtures.
Tomorrow Danny Edwards’ side seek a fifth successive win in the Liverpool Competition and one which could see the seventh-placed club make a significant move up the ECB premier league if results elsewhere go their way.
The Church Road side are also the Fylde coast’s sole surviving representatives in the last 16 of the LCB Knockout and they visit Bolton club Egerton in the third round on Sunday.
Northern Premier League: Blackpool v St Annes, Fleetwood v Leyland, Lancaster v Chorley, Morecambe v Kendal, Penrith v Preston
Liverpool Competition ECB premier league: Wallasey v Lytham
Moore and Smalley Palace Shield
Premier Division: Eccleston v Thornton Cleveleys, Fulwood and Broughton v Torrisholme, Garstang v Croston, Longridge v Freckleton, Penwortham v Great Eccleston, Vernon Carus v Rufford
Division One: Fylde v New Longton, Hoghton v Garstang 2, Norcross v Whittingham and Goosnargh, South Shore v Longridge 2, White Coppice v Vernon Carus 2, Withnell Fold v Fulwood and Broughton 2
Division Two: Kirkham and Wesham v BAC/EE Preston, Whittle and Clayton-le-Woods v Wrea Green
NPL Twenty20: Fleetwood v St Annes (noon), Fleetwod v Blackpool (3.30pm);Penrith v Barrow and Kendal, Netherfield v Lancaster and Morecambe.
LCB Knockout third round: Egerton v Lytham