Fleetwood CC captain hopes to make the most of cricket's return to action
Fleetwood Cricket Club will host the Fylde coast’s first Northern Premier League fixture since 2019 this weekend and skipper Adam Sharrocks says they are as ready as they can be.
With derby rivals Blackpool and St Annes both starting the season with away matches – indeed, Blackpool will play their first 10 league games on the road as drainage work is completed at Stanley Park – Broadwater will stage the first local action when Longridge are the visitors for a 12.30pm start.
After a shortened season last year, the build-up to the 2021 campaign has been very brief indeed.
The league is determined to start promptly, fewer than three weeks after outdoor sports emerged from lockdown.
Fleetwood only had their first nets over the Easter weekend but captain Sharrocks says his squad are making the best of the situation and back the decision to attempt a full season.
He told The Gazette: “I think we are as ready as we can be. There has been very little time to prepare but every club is in the same boat and we have no complaints.
“It’s about trying to make the most of it and being as prepared as we can be. We have been trying to net as often as we can but it’s all about getting everyone together, re-engaging as a squad and trying to enjoy it.
“We kept in touch as much as possible over lockdown, but you can text as much as you like – if you can’t meet up or practice, you can’t really get ready for the season.”
The decision not to delay the start to the season means matches must be staged without spectators for the first month at least and with various other Covid-19 safety protocols in place.
Sharrocks believes the league has made the right decision, adding: “It’s important for the clubs and for the league to try to get a full season played.
“It’s a great league but we didn’t have a proper season last year and the same again would have taken its toll.
“We’ll have to play by the rules and the guidelines but hopefully, as the season goes on, we will have less restrictions and can get back to normal as much as possible.
“It will be nice to get the social side going again and have people watching.”
The long-serving batsman was a member of the last Fleetwood side to win the NPCL in 2012 and hopes they can build on their fourth-placed finish last time out in 2019.
“There’s no real pressure being put on anyone,” he added.
“We just want a good start but the key to that is getting everyone back together and enjoying it.
“We are hoping for success and we know we have talent in the squad.
“It’s about finding some form and consistency, and getting the best out of each other.
“There are some very strong teams in this league, and we realise that if we are going to be successful in the league or cups, it won’t be handed to us. The best team usually comes out on top.
“We’re an ambitious club and we want success. We’ll try to win as many as we can and see where it takes us. The squad is much like last year’s and there aren’t many new faces.”
One notable new arrival will be this season’s South African professional, Dyllan Matthews.
The leg-spinner is yet to arrive on these shores but Fleetwood hope to have him available for the fourth game of the season.
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