There are few prizes for guessing the match of the weekend in cricket’s Northern Premier League.
It’s tomorrow’s clash at Fox Lane between the top two as leaders Leyland play host to Fleetwood.
It won’t decide anything at this early stage of the season, but with Leyland holding a 12-point advantage over Fleetwood in the current standings, as visiting skipper Mat Clark remarked: “If Leyland do win, then they can certainly steal a march on us.”
Not that Clark’s thoughts are pointed in a negative direction and he is optimistic over the outcome, one of his main concerns being: “I hope that the weather doesn’t intervene.”
And he is well satisfied with the way the 2016 campaign is going, which is hardly surprising.
He explained: “We are still in contention for four trophies, and if we can win one of them before the end of the season it will build confidence and make sure we keep the momentum going in the league.
“It is a match that we are looking forward to and hope that the weather is favourable. We have a lot of respect for Leyland and we know what to expect from them.
“Dave Makinson (Leyland skipper) will have them playing with the attitude of ‘us against the world’.
The visitors are expected to make the solitary change – they will be without James Amor, who is involved in a schools fixture over the weekend.
Mark Wilkinson has been drafted in as replacement.
Explaining the reasons behind the move, Clark said: “They look as though they have had some some trouble with the wicket at Leyland, so runs could be at a premium tomorrow.
“The thinking for bringing Mark into the team is that he is an extra batsman.”
Fleetwood have finally got a date for when successful professional Travis Dean will bid his goodbyes to the Broadwater club to link up with the Australia A party.
He is due to leave these shores on August 20.
Clark said: “That date happens to be a blank Saturday for us.
“After that we will have four more matches left in the league, against Preston, Blackpool, St Annes and Lancaster.
“Obviously, Travis will be missed.
“But hopefully by the time he does go we will have done most of the hard work towards winning the league.”
It’s not only the top two who come into direct conflict in the Northern Premier League tomorrow – third plays fourth too in division one as Blackpool head to Barrow.
Anxious to return to winning ways after back-to-back draws, Blackpool sit a point behind Barrow and three behind Fleetwood.
There will be cricket at Stanley Park this evening, weather permitting, when the club’s Under-19 team, Blackpool Bullets, face Longridge in a T20 match from 6pm.
St Annes CC stages a beer festival over the weekend and the first XI hope to be the toast of the club with a home victory over Netherfield tomorrow.
The Cumbrians are two places above St Annes in sevenths, with a 12-point advantage over Matt Grindley’s side.
Neighbours Lytham are also at home tomorrow, welcoming Rainhill to Church Road in the Liverpool Competition.
Following last Saturday’s win at Rainford, it’s Lytham’s second successive clash with St Helens opposition.
Rainhill are directly below Lytham in eighth spot in the ECB premier league, and although 18 points separate the sides it’s 20 for a win in this competition.
The top two face off in the Palace Shield tomorrow, when Garstang head to premier division leaders Vernon Carus.
The Preston club go into the weekend with an eight-point lead.