Fylde coast cricket preview: Fleetwood CC welcome their new professional as a new era begins at Broadwater
It’s a fresh start for Fleetwood Cricket Club, with a new professional set for his debut at home to Lancaster tomorrow and a new director of cricket in Andy Singleton.
Singleton is hardly a new face at Broadwater, having been involved with the club for 30 years as player and coach, but he is relishing his new role at a challenging time.
He was particularly looking forward to welcoming professional Dyllan Matthews to Fleetwood last night after the South African all-rounder’s quarantine in Birmingham.
Singleton has seen many a fine pro at Broadwater, having joined the club from junior cricket at Thornton Cleveleys around the time of the New Zealand spin great Grant Bradburn, and he told The Gazette: “Dyllan will help to pull us along. We’ve had some good guest professionals this season but you need the shoulder of the club pro, who will support Adam Sharrocks (captain) in the field.”
The 24-year-old leg-break bowler arrives with First Class and List A experience in his homeland and joins a club buoyed by last Saturday’s first win of the Northern Premier League season.
The 51-run victory at Leyland followed defeats by early pacesetters Longridge and Netherfield, and Singleton added: “It was great to get a really good win over Leyland, who have been our nemesis.
“We were humbled by Blackpool in the 40-over Cup on Sunday but hopefully we are starting to turn the corner. In three of the first four games we have been batted out of it.
“We had just the two weeks of nets as opposed to the usual two months, which isn’t ideal. In the first game, Longridge had played some friendlies and it showed.”
Fleetwood-born Singleton hopes tomorrow’s first-team game at Broadwater will be the last behind closed doors, with a brighter future around the corner on and off the field.
He added: “The past year has been unprecedented for everyone but we have a great team behind the scenes and the committee have worked tirelessly. We weren’t able to work on the ground for a long time but it’s looking really good now.”
Like many clubs, Fleetwood have seen player numbers hit by the pandemic.
“We are struggling a bit,” Singleton said. “We have been very strong at Under-17 and Under-19 levels in recent years – the U19s won the county competition a couple of years ago – but a lot of those players didn’t play at all last year and they are coming back in dribs and drabs.
“Hopefully we will get more players back but we are struggling for depth in the squad. We can only get two teams out on a Saturday, so have had to drop the third team.”
Fleetwood hope to put a slow start behind them and Singleton knows all about making up for lost time, adding: “When I played for the first team, rugby was always my main sport. I played for Fleetwood RUFC for 17 years, so I started the cricket season late, but I was still playing for the seconds until a couple of years ago and I’ve coached the juniors for seven years.
“Hopefully we’ve had the trough already this season and we’ll soon start to peak and get consistency with bat and ball. We want to be competitive but the important thing is to get lads back enjoying the game.”
Blackpool are without a weekend fixture, having switched their game against Leyland to holiday Monday only to see it rained off. However, Blackpool 2 face a double-header weekend in the Palace Shield, whose cup competitions begin with preliminary round matches on Sunday.
Northern Premier League: Fleetwood v Lancaster, St Annes v Chorley.
Liverpool Competition first division: Lytham v Old Xaverians
Moore and Smalley Palace Shield premier division: Croston v Penwortham, Eccleston v Great Eccleston, Fylde v Barrow, Kirkham and Wesham v Vernon Carus, Preston v Penrith, South Shore v Thornton Cleveleys
Division 1B: Great Eccleston 2 v Morecambe 2, Kendal 2 v Blackpool 2, Leyland 2 v Fleetwood 2, Netherfield 2 v St Annes 2.
Division 2: Thornton Cleveleys 2 v Preston 2, Torrisholme 2 v Norcross, Wrea Green v Longridge 3.
Meyler Cup: Tarleton v Great Eccleston, Penrith v Thornton Cleveleys, Eccleston v South Shore, Standish v Fylde
Loxham Cup: Leyland 2 v Blackpool 2, Norcross v Fleetwood 2, Great Eccleston 2 v St Annes 2
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