St Annes skipper so pleased with first campaign: final weekend for Northern League cricket

Nathan Armstrong
Nathan Armstrong

St Annes Cricket Club are already sure to finish highest among the Fylde coast’s three Northern League clubs and can secure runners-up spot with victory at bottom club Lancaster in tomorrow’s final round of fixtures.

Nathan Armstrong replaced Matt Grindley as captain mid-season and hopes to continue in the role in 2018.

He told The Gazette: “It’s hard work but I’ve really enjoyed learning on the job. Unless I’m told otherwise, I’m looking forward to staying on next season.”

But with only three points separating the bottom three, Lancaster will be desperate to climb the table and stave off the threat of relegation to the Palace Shield.

St Annes will be without a professional following Matt Breetzke’s return to South Africa, though it is the young players’ development that his delighted Armstrong.

“Richard Staines and Tom Higson have really come on and Matt Yeadon has done a great job, opening the bowling in the last two games,” Armstrong (below) said.

The other Fylde coast clubs are at home, with Blackpool aiming to complete the double over runaway champions Netherfield.

Paul Danson’s side defeated them in Cumbria on the opening day back in April and Netherfield haven’t lost a league game since.

Fleetwood could finish in the top half if they defeat Chorley at Broadwater.

The Palace Shield season still has two weekends to go but Garstang could be crowned champions tomorrow with a home victory over Great Eccleston, but only if relegated Freckleton spring a surprise and avoid defeat at second-placed Fulwood and Broughton. The likelihood is that the race for the title and possible promotion to the Northern League will run another seven days.

Lytham also have two games to play in a disappointing season but end their home campaign against Bootle tomorrow.

Northern Premier League: Barrow v Morecambe, Blackpool v Netherfield, Fleetwood v Chorley, Kendal v Preston, Lancaster v St Annes, Penrith v Leyland

Liverpool Competition ECB premier league: Lytham v Bootle

Moore and Smalley Palace Shield premier division: Eccleston v Croston, Fulwood and Broughton v Freckleton, Garstang v Great Eccleston, Longridge v Thornton Cleveleys, Penwortham v Rufford, Vernon Carus v Torrisholme.

Division One: Fylde v Garstang 2, Hoghton v Whittingham and Goosnargh, Norcross v Vernon Carus 2, South Shore v New Longton, White Coppice v Fulwood and Broughton 2, Withnell Fold v Longridge 2

Division Two: Gregson Lane v Wrea Green, Kirkham and Wesham v Walton-le-Dale