Fylde coast cricket preview: Fleetwood’s timely arrival as Blackpool look to bounce back

Fleetwood's Keegan Armstrong in action against Blackpool
Fleetwood's Keegan Armstrong in action against Blackpool
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Fleetwood Cricket Club skipper Mat Clark says overseas professional Neels Bergh will arrive in time for the weekend’s double-header against Garstang and Longridge.

Clark has officially resumed the captaincy at Broadwater, Dean Bell having moved on to Horwich.

And club stalwart Clark made the perfect return to captaincy as Fleetwood beat champions Blackpool by 36 runs on the opening day of the Northern Premier League season at Stanley Park

Sub professional Tyron Koen played a massive part, taking 5-32, but fellow South African Bergh will be back to start his third season with the club tomorrow.

The 25-year-old right-hand bat and leg-break bowler has just arrived back in the UK, having played for Gauteng in his homeland.

His season there only ended in February, so Clark hopes Bergh won’t have to blow away any cobwebs.

Clark said: “We are hoping Neels hits the ground running. He’s been great for us. He is a model professional and knows the club inside out.

“He is a big part of our coaching programme and a lot of our team have developed with him.

“That will help with our young team and it is good to have him back.”

Bergh scored 1,350 runs for Fleetwood last season and took 50 wickets.

Clark was happy to embark on another stint as captain. He said: “I took over halfway through last season, when Dean left. I did it for six years before Dean, so it was the natural step.

“We have a young squad this season. A lot of our Under-18s are coming through and we have a good group of lads this year.

“Our ambitions are to have a top-six finish and a good cup run.

“We wanted to hit the ground running and build momentum, and we’ve done that. Hopefully we can have a good season.”

Fleetwood visit NPL newcomers Longridge in the National Club Championship on Sunday.

In the same group, St Annes are at home to Spring View and Lytham visit Horwich. Blackpool have a first-round bye. The four Fylde coast teams cannot meet until the group semi-finals.

It’s a double-header weekend at Vernon Road, where St Annes stage their first league game of the season against Leyland tomorrow.

Blackpool bid to bounce back at Kendal, who made a winning return to the league against Leyland last weekend.

Saturday fixtures

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

Liverpool Competition ECB premier league: Southport and Birkdale v Lytham

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

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