Fleetwood pro sounds out warning to league

De Villiers - in form

De Villiers - in form

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Fleetwood Cricket Club embark on a busy bank holiday sharing top spot with Chorley in the Northern Premier Cricket League.

And ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Barrow and Monday’s visit of Leyland to Broadwater, Fleetwood’s hugely successful professional Jean De Villiers has fired out a warning to the rest of the league: “There’s more to come from us.”

Fleetwood suffered a setback in their title bid when losing by two wickets against Penrith last weekend, despite the fact that De Villiers registered his second century of the season, with five sixes and eight fours in only 103 balls.

The South African, who has also been successful with the ball, said: “There is very definitely room for improvement. I think some of our players have not been on fire yet and have not played their best cricket so far.

“But once everyone is firing it will come, and I feel that something good is just around the corner.”

Fleetwood have been more than happy with De Villiers’ contribution both on and off the field since his arrival.

He averages 64 with the bat, with a couple of centuries and two 50s, while his pace bowling has seen him garner 22 wickets.

De Villiers has adapted quickly to the demands of the game in England, which present new challenges.

He said: “I can’t bowl the normal length I am used to in South Africa.”

The 25-year-old has been suitably impressed by the warmth of the welcome he has received since his arrival at Broadwater.

He is living in a house in Cleveleys owned by the parents of one of the club’s junior players.

He said: “It has been brilliant and all the people here have made me feel very much at home. I have found it very easy to fit in.

“The social side is good and that certainly helps when it comes to team bonding.

“The main difference I have found between club cricket here and in South Africa is that there tends to be more strength in depth back home in South Africa.

“Over here, a lot of results are determined by the performances of the main five or six players.”

There has been plenty to do for De Villiers away from weekends plying his trade in Northern League competitions.

He has already been using his expertise in school visits, passing on his coaching knowledge to eager-to-learn youngsters at Cardinal Allen, Flakefeet and Rossall.

De Villiers has also been studying for a degree in investment management.

He explained: “I am already planning for life after cricket.

“You never really know how long your career will go on, so you have to have a plan B.”

During his short time at the club, he has already become a Fleetwood Town fan and was there at Highbury to see Town overcome York City to clinch a place in Monday’s League Two play-off final at Wembley.

He also admitted to sneaking a trip to Old Trafford to watch Manchester United beat Hull City 3-1 in an end-of-season Premier League match.

De Villiers said: “I have had a bit of banter with the other lads at the club about being a United fan.

“But it was good to go and watch Fleetwood against York with some of the players.

“I was very impressed with the atmosphere and the facilities.

“There was some talk that our skipper Mat Clark was trying to get the Leyland match on Monday postponed so we could make a trip to Wembley to watch Fleetwood. But he did not manage to persuade the league to do that.”