Fylde coast cricket preview: Fleetwood aim to stay in title race as St Annes face a crucial Saturday

Fleetwood CC skipper Mat Clark is looking forward to the Northern League title run-in
Fleetwood CC skipper Mat Clark is looking forward to the Northern League title run-in

With just seven games to go of the cricket season Fleetwood CC still have it all to play for.

Fleetwood are currently third in the Northern Premier Division One table, sitting just 18 points off league leaders Leyland.

They’ll be looking to make up that gap at Longridge this weekend after last week’s game at Kendal fell foul to the weather.

“The season has been a success so far,” captain Mat Clark said.

“We wanted a top-four finish and maybe win a trophy and we obviously managed to get to the final of the Twenty20, where we fell at the last hurdle.

“But we’re in with a chance of winning the league with seven to go, which we’ve got to be happy with.

“Leyland are the favourites, they’re a very strong side.

“But we shall see how the chaps cope because we’ve got a young team, so it will interesting how they handle the last few games.

“We still have to play Leyland so, potentially, one slip-up and it could all be in our hands. Beating them would be a tough ask but it’s all to play for.

“It’s good we’re going into this final part of the season and still challenging for honours, because there’s probably a lot of teams who have nothing left to play for, but we’re at the right end of the table.

“Things can change very quickly, especially when you look at Leyland’s run-in which looks tough on paper. If they lose one or two it could be wide open.”

Last week’s postponement was especially frustrating as Clark saw the game as a big opportunity to make up some points.

“It was disappointing for us because the four teams around us in the league table were all playing each other, so it was one weekend we particularly didn’t want to be rained off,” the skipper added.

“But you can’t do much about the weather once it comes.

“It was a long trip to Kendal but we didn’t even get the kit out of the van, so hopefully the weather will be better this weekend and we get back to playing some cricket.

“It was potentially a game we could have picked up some points but you can’t take anything for granted, especially as they beat us at home.

“We were just hoping some of the other teams would knock some points off each other.

“But we’ve only lost one game to the weather all year so far so we can’t complain too much.”

St Annes can give their hopes of survival a real boost if they win the battle of the bottom two at basement side Barrow.

Defending champions Blackpool need a win if they are to reach the top four – and they travel to a Netherfield side sitting in fourth.

Twenty-four hours later and Northern League sides are on 40 Over Cup duty with Blackpool at Barrow and St Annes hosting Penrith.

Lytham’s search for a first win of the season in the Liverpool Competition takes them to Wallasey.

Tomorrow’s fixtures

Northern Premier Cricket League: Chorley v Leyland, Fulwood and Broughton v Kendal, Longridge v Fleetwood, Netherfield v Blackpool, Penrith v Garstang, St Annes v Barrow.

Liverpool Competition ECB premier league: Wallasey v Lytham.

Moore and Smalley Palace Shield premier league: Croston v New Longton, Great Eccleston v Preston, Lancaster v Standish, Penwortham v Eccleston, South Shore v Morecambe, Vernon Carus v Fylde.

Division 1A: Grimsargh v Mawdesley, Hoghton v Norcross, Tarleton v Torrisholme, Whittle and Clayton-le-Woods v Kirkham and Wesham, Withnell Fold v Rufford.

Sunday’s fixtures

Berry Beds 40 Over Cup: Barrow v Blackpool, Garstang v Kendal, Leyland v Fulwood and Broughton, Longridge v Chorley, St Annes v Penrith.