Fleetwood Cricket Club have been boosted by the return of overseas professional Neels Bergh after a dislocated finger as Blackpool head to Broadwater for tomorrow’s Northern League derby without their pro Lahiru Madushanka.
Fourth-placed Fleetwood beat champions Blackpool on the opening day of the season. They are seven points above Paul Danson’s side and just seven adrift of leaders Leyland.
South African professional Bergh returned last week to feature in their eight-wicket victory at Penrith.
Bergh sustained his finger injury playing as a sub-pro for Haslingden in the Lancashire League.
Fleetwood skipper Mat Clark says that is part and parcel of the game but he is pleased to have Bergh back as Fleetwood eye the double over Blackpool.
Fleetwood then seek their first silverware of the season on Sunday, when they head to Garstang for Readers T20 finals day. They face Netherfield in the second semi-final at 2pm, the winners to face the hosts or Leyland.
Clark said of Bergh: “Last weekend was his first game after a few weeks out with a dislocated finger.
“It is frustrating but part of the deal when they come over is that we find them sub- pro jobs.
“It keeps them in cricket, used to wickets and earns them some money.
“We’ve used sub-pros ourselves but Neels is back now and raring to go.”
Clark feels the loss of Madushanka to the Emerging Sri Lanka squad has impacted the balance of Blackpool’s squad, though he says tomorrow’s opponents remain a strong outfit.
He said: “Blackpool will always get good sub-pro but Madushanka is a class act.
“I think they are missing him but also what he brought – an opening bowler who can bat at four. You cannot always find that replacement.
“You can find a good player but not always someone who can combine those roles. That is what Danno brought to build his team around.
“In the last few weeks they have played with three spinners and one seamer, which probably upset their balance.
“But they played away to a full-strength Leyland team and knocked them out of the Lancashire Cup, so they are a really good side on their day and it will be a really good game.”
St Annes Cricket Club will be going all out to achieve an overdue first win of the season at Vernon Road tomorrow.
The visitors are Penrith, who stand immediately above them in the Northern Premier League with only two wins themselves.
The Cumbrians lost by eight wickets at home to Fleetwood last weekend.
It certainly won’t be easy for St Annes’ neighbours Lytham to record an elusive first victory as they visit a Bootle team who are 26 points clear at the top of the Liverpool Competition’s ECB premier league.
Also facing the competition leaders are Great Eccleston, who welcome Lancaster in the Palace Shield tomorrow.
The other premier division match on the Fylde coast is a mid-table clash between South Shore and Vernon Carus. Shore could leapfrog their opponents and Ecc with a victory.
An eye-catching top-of-the-table derby contest in division 1A sees Thornton Cleveleys welcome Kirkham and Wesham.
The hosts are two points clear of Rufford at the top, while K&W are themselves only nine points off the pace in fourth.
Northern Premier League: Fleetwood v Blackpool, St Annes v Penrith, Barrow v Garsang, Fulwood and Broughton v Chorley, Kendal v Leyland, Longridge v Netherfield
Liverpool Competition ECB premier league: Bootle v Lytham
Moore and Smalley Palace Shield: Great Eccleston v Lancaster, Morecambe v Fylde, South Shore v Vernon Carus, Croston v Penwortham,New Longton v Eccleston, Preston v Standish,
Division 1A: Thornton Cleveleys v Kirkham and Wesham, Norcross v Torrisholme, Grimsargh v Withnell Fold, Hoghton v Tarleton, Mawdesley v Rufford.