Fylde coast cricket preview: Trio of clubs hope to return after Covid call-offs
Fleetwood, St Annes and Lytham cricket clubs are all hopeful of a return to action tomorrow after Covid outbreaks halted their season.
Fleetwood and St Annes were both forced to call off their Northern Premier League fixtures last Saturday and their Readers T20 ties the following day, while coronavirus in the Church Road camp has resulted in two blank weekends for Lytham in the Liverpool and District Competition.
The enforced breaks could hardly have come at a worse time for all three clubs, who now find themselves in the relegation zone in their respective competitions.
Fleetwood and St Annes occupy the bottom two places in the NPCL first division, while Lytham are second-bottom of the Liverpool Comp’s second tier.
At least all three clubs have the chance to claw back the points as league rules allow games cancelled because of Covid to be rearranged.
However, the Fylde coast trio return to action in an even more precarious league position, adding to the pressure going into crunch clashes tomorrow.
St Annes visit a Chorley side who jumped off the bottom courtesy of a win at Fulwood and Broughton last weekend, while Lytham head to Liverpool to face Old Xaverians, who are a point and a place above them in the first division relegation fight.
Fleetwood are bound for Lancaster but expect to make the trip without influential professional Dyllan Matthews.
The South African is among the players to have tested positive and is unlikely to be available.
Fleetwood director of cricket Andy Singleton told The Gazette: “We should be good for Lancaster but we’ll have to see who is available. It looks like we’ll be without the pro and one or two other first-team players have Covid too.
“We are getting players back but Covid isn’t helping and a lot of players have been affected.
“The league position is a concern but, at the end of the day, we believe we have enough in the squad to get out of it.
“The pro has made the difference in some games and we’re hoping the best of Dyllan is yet to come.”
One familiar face who has come to the club’s aid is prolific batsman Adam Parker.
The Broadwater stalwart made his first appearance for four years in Fleetwood’s latest league match against Netherfield a fortnight ago, helping the club to a vital win.
In the interim, Parker has again linked up with his first club, Vernon Carus, in the Palace Shield but he is always welcome at Fleetwood.
“Adam is just getting back into it and wants to help out,”added Singleton. “Hopefully he’ll get involved again over the coming weeks.”
Fleetwood hope to play last weekend’s postponed home game against Leyland a week on Sunday.
Tomorrow, Leyland host Blackpool, who have none of the problems facing the Fylde coast’s other senior sides.
Forty points clear at the top of the league, Paul Danson’s side host Chorley on Sunday in the NPCL’s 40-over Cup final (1pm).
It will be only the second game of the season at Stanley Park, following last weekend’s league thumping of Kendal.
The Fylde coast derby in the top flight of the Palace Shield tomorrow is at Illawalla, where bottom club South Shore are the visitors to Thornton Cleveleys.
Daniel Howard’s hosts hope to return to the top half of the premier division with victory.
Northern Premier Cricket League (12.30): Chorley v St Annes, Garstang v Fulwood and Broughton, Kendal v Morecambe, Lancaster v Fleetwood, Leyland v Blackpool, Netherfield v Longridge.
Liverpool Competition first division (noon): Old Xaverians v Lytham.
Moore and Smalley Palace Shield premier division (1.30): Barrow v Fylde, Great Eccleston v Eccleston, Penrith v Preston, Penwortham v Croston, Thornton Cleveleys v South Shore, Vernon Carus v Kirkham and Wesham.
Division 1B: Blackpool 2 v Kendal 2, Fleetwood 2 v Leyland 2, St Annes 2v Netherfield 2.
Division 2: Longridge 3 v Wrea Green, Norcross v Torrisholme 2, Preston 2 v Thornton Cleveleys 2.
40 Over Cup final (1pm): Blackpool v Chorley.
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