Fylde coast cricket preview: Lytham welcome exciting new professional and St Annes enjoy first win in season with no pro

Lytham Cricket Club welcome their eagerly-awaited 2021 professional to Church Road tomorrow, while neighbours St Annes will battle through the season without one but have been boosted by their first league victory.

Friday, 4th June 2021, 12:30 pm

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Lytham Cricket Club welcome their eagerly-awaited 2021 professional to Church Road tomorrow, while neighbours St Annes will battle through the season without one but have been boosted by their first league victory.

After back-to-back defeats for Lytham in the Liverpool Competition, the arrival of spinner Zia-ur-Rehman Akbar for tomorrow’s home clash with division one leaders Highfield could hardly be more timely.

Alex Bradley gave the St Annes innings a solid start, helping them to their first win of the season against Garstang

The Afghan leg-spinner, 23, has completed his quarantine requirements and arrives with a growing reputation which has taken him to the brink of full international honours.

The signing is seen as a real coup for Lytham, who needed a late replacement for Aghar Salman of Pakistan.

St Annes, on the other hand, were unable to secure the services of a professional and the deadline for doing so has now passed.

Having not had a pro on their books for 2021, the Vernon Road club is ineligible to employ guest professionals on a match-by-match basis.

It made St Annes’ first win of the season, a six-wicket success over an in-form Garstang, all the more impressive – especially as two players who have come through the ranks in Nathan Bolus (84 not out) and Alex Bradley (63) provided the cornerstone of that victory.

Captain Tom Higson told The Gazette: “Everyone is pleased with the win against a good side.

“Alex and Nathan did really well, as did Nathan Armstrong getting us over the line.

“We missed the deadline for a pro and the league rules say we have to do without, though I don’t think we’ve played badly all season.

“We were definitely in three of the games but couldn’t get across the line.

“It should be a good game tomorrow at home to Kendal, who have started well, and it’s nice that we can have spectators in watching now. We’re not fully back to normal but it’s a good step forward.”

Someone who will continue to watch the side is Richard Dearden, though he is no longer the club’s cricket chairman as Russ Bradley assumes that role for the rest of the season.

Dearden told The Gazette: “A good team of amateurs got an excellent result last weekend and two local boys put in tremendous performances.

“Two years ago we started badly and I predicted we wouldn’t get relegated and would win the cup, and that’s what happened.

“I think St Annes have a good side again and they stood up for themselves tremendously against Garstang. I will definitely carry on watching them.”

SATURDAY CRICKET FIXTURES

Northern Premier League (12.30): Chorley v Blackburn, St Annes v Kendal, Garstang v Fleetwood, Fulwood and Broughton v Leyland, Longridge v Lancaster, Netherfield v Morecambe.

Liverpool Competition first division (12.0): Lytham v Highfield

Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division (1.30): Kirkham and Wesham v Barrow, Penrith v Fylde, Preston v Great Eccleston, South Shore v Penwortham, Thornton Cleveleys v Eccleston, Vernon Carus v Croston

Division 1B: Blackpool 2 v Garstang 2, Fleetwood 2 v Netherfield 2, Great Eccleston 2 v St Annes 2.

Division 2: Norcross v Thornton Cleveleys 2, Wrea Green v Gregson Lane.

SUNDAY

Palace Shield Meyler Cup round one (1.30): Great Eccleston v Kirkham and Wesham

Loxham Cup round one: Ingol v Blackpool 2, Chorley 2 v Norcross