D-Day looms for Pool’s pro verdict

Kiwi Daryl Mitchell

Kiwi Daryl Mitchell

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Blackpool Cricket Club hope to find out early next week if New Zealander Daryl Mitchell will return as professional at Stanley Park for the 2017 Northern Premier League season.

The Kiwi created a good impression at the club last season when Blackpool fought out a battle royal with Leyland for the title, only to fall at the final hurdle to their close rivals in a winner-takes-all match at Stanley Park.

Blackpool are keen to have him back for another campaign, but whether he does return hinges on a potential international call-up for the player.

He harbours hopes of earning a place in the Black Caps’ T20 squad for the summer.

Blackpool chairman, David Cresswell, said: “If Daryl gets a call-up, then he won’t be available for us.

“We should be in a position to know very soon, possibly as the start of next week.

“But if he is unable to join us again for the season, then he has recommended to us a player who he thinks will be able to do a good job for us.”

Mitchell is a top order batsman, who bowls medium-fast.

He has played for Northern Districts and Northern Knights in his native land and has also played for the New Zealand A team.

Decision day is coming for Blackpool on another pressing piece of business.

They are still waiting to hear which NatWest T20 Blast fixture they have been allocated in July.

It is one of two; either Lancashire Lightning v Leicestershire Foxes on July 9 or Lancashire v Derbyshire Falcons seven days later.

Creswell said: “We are hoping that a decision will be made by Lancashire very soon because there are things like sponsorship and hospitality that needs to be organised.”

There is another blank spot in the Lancashire fixtures calendar for 2017 and that is the Specsavers County Championship Division One clash against Hampshire on June 19.

However, Blackpool say that it is ‘unlikely’ they will get the call for that outstanding fixture, the feeling being that Lancashire have doubts about a strip’s readiness.

However, with a new wicket having been laid, there is optimism that four-day cricket will be back at Stanley Park in 2018.

Fleetwood have yet to finalise their new professional; St Annes have re-engaged Shadley Van Schalkwyk.