Blackpool Cricket Club captain Paul Danson says that new overseas professional Jovaun Van Wyngaardt will jet in from South Africa in time for the start of the season tomorrow... but only just.
READ MORE: Lytham and St Annes skippers raring to go
The 25-year-old all-rounder is due to arrive today, just in time for the Northern League opener against Barrow at Stanley Park.
And Blackpool skipper Danson says the Potchefstroom player has been highly recommended by a player he respects highly – ex-Leyland pro Brett Pelser.
Danson told The Gazette: “The process for finding a pro does not get any easier. Brett came up with his name and said he wanted to come and play in England.
“He says Jovaun is a very good player and it is good to get a recommendation. We are hoping it goes well.
“He arrives on Friday and hopefully he will hit the ground running.”
Blackpool have lost Tom Jefferson to Lytham but Danson says it is a chance for someone else to step into the top four and bowl more overs.
The skipper is pleased with Blackpool’s strength in depth and says the powerful squad will give the club an advantage over many rivals.
Danson said: “We have lost Tom and we are sad to see him go. He was handy with bat and ball but it is an opportunity for someone else.
“A few of the lads who batted lower down the order have staked their claim to go higher.
“We have lots of options and a squad of 16 to pick from, unlike some teams who just have a strong 11. We have strength in depth.”
There will be two new teams in the mix this year as Fulwood and Broughton and Garstang come up from the Palace Shield. And ex-Palace Shield player Danson was pleased they accepted the promotion option.
Promotion and relegation were introduced last term, when Netherfield cruised to the title, with Lancaster and Kendal relegated.
Danson said: “I’m glad they took promotion because we thought they might not. As an ex-Palace Shield player I am pleased they did.
“Promotion and relegation make the league more competitive and that can only be a good thing. It means teams still have something to play for."
Fleetwood Cricket Club captain Dean Bell says Broadwaters’ first-ever head coach can turn them into Northern Premier League title contenders this season.
Bell says Fleetwood are unfazed to be starting their campaign at home to champions Netherfield tomorrow because Australian coaching supremo Liam Castellas has instilled confidence and professionalism.
Castellas, 30, will oversee seniors and juniors, combining this role with head coach duties at Myerscough College and coaching the Lancashire Women’s second team.
And with the Australia Level 3 High Performance coach in place, Bell has enjoyed his best pre-season in 10 years at the club. He said: “Liam has been working really hard with the guys. He is really keen and there has been a real good focus this pre-season.
“He brings a very professional approach and has been in this country from Australia for a couple of years. All the lads are going to get a lift from him. We started preparation earlier than normal. The weather has had an impact but we started indoor nets earlier than usual.”
South African Neels Bergh is back for a second season as professional.
Northern Premier League: Blackpool v Barrow, Chorley v Preston, Fleetwood v Netherfield, Garstang, Fulwood and Broughton, Leyland v Morecambe, St Annes v Penrith Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division: Croston v Kendal, Great Eccleston v Longridge, New Longton v Vernon Carus, South Shore v Eccleston, Thornton Cleveleys v Penwortham, Torrisholme v Lancaster
Division 1A: BAC/EE Preston v Hoghton, Kirkham and Wesham v Fylde, Mawdesley v Freckletn, Standish v Norcross, Tarleton v Rufford, Withnell Fod v Grimsargh