Fylde coast cricket preview: Bergh feasts on second helpings at Fleetwood

Neels Bergh
Neels Bergh
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He’s the top run-scorer in the division, and for Fleetwood Cricket Club hotshot Neels Bergh the secret is a second term in the Northern Premier League and the recruitment of coach Liam Castellas.

The 25-year-old South African, who plays for Gauteng back home, has hit the top of the run charts with a century and four 50s helping him to an average of 58.

That form has helped Fleetwood to fifth in the table, 33 points behind leaders Blackpool.

Bergh says he is thriving due to the release of pressure in his second term at Broadwater and the impact of coach Castellas, allowing him to concentrate on enjoying his cricket as well as coaching the next generation on the Fylde coast.

Speaking ahead of their visit to Fulwood and Broughton, he told The Gazette: “It is going well so far. I cannot complain. I’ve got one century so far and I definitely hope there are more to come.

“40s and 50s seldom win games but 100s are normally match-winning scores.

“It is better in my second year because I don’t have to impress anyone.

“In my first year I didn’t really know anyone and it was about settling in, whereas this year I have just got straight into it, knowing everyone from the off.

“I have been enjoying my cricket and the new coach has helped. It has taken a bit of the pressure off me.

“Last year I had to run training sessions but Liam is doing that now, so I just help out with the individual stuff and don’t have to do the fielding drills.

“I’m still helping out every night with the junior sessions and oaching with Rossall.”

Bergh added: “Last year did not go to plan. Halfway through the season we were looking over our shoulders at relegation and in a lot of trouble. We have started a lot better this season. Hopefully we can end the first half of the season around the top four and push for the title.

“I think in this off-season they worked a lot harder with Liam coming in as a coach. A lot of work was done before the season and we are reaping the rewards.”

On Sunday Fleetwood won through to the semi-finals of the Readers T20, pipping Blackpool on net run rate to top the Fylde coast group.

Fleetwood face hosts Fulwood and Broughton on finals day, July 15.

The other semi-final is between Chorley and Netherfield, and Fleetwood have the chance to assess the Fulwood pitch tomorrow.

Bergh said: “We play F&B on finals day and it is always nice to see them before. It will be a good game.

“The T20 is always a bit of fun away from the long Saturday games. Last year we did not get to finals day, so it would be nice to keep improving this year.”

The last unbeaten record in the Northern Premier League goes on the line again tomorrow, when leaders Blackpool visit a Penrith side with only one league victory to their name.

St Annes are 12 points behind in second spot and also head to Cumbria to face Barrow, neither side having played last Saturday.

Fresh from toppling leaders Northern, Lytham will again have Steven Croft in their ranks as they bid for a third successive Liverpool Competition victory against second-bottom Rainford in St Helens.

In the Palace Shield, Thornton Cleveleys and South Shore visit last season’s relegated NPL clubs, Kendal and Lancaster. Kendal then entertain Kirkham and Wesham in the Meyler Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.

Freckleton go into their home game with BAC/EE Preston 10 points clear at the top of division 1A, while Norcross welcome Withnell Fold in a battle of the bottom two.

Northern Premier League first division: Barrow v St Annes, Fulwood and Broughton v Fleetwood, Morecambe v Chorley, Netherfield v Garstang, Penrith v Blackpool, Preston v Leyland

Liverpool Competition ECB premier league: Rainford v Lytham

Moore and Smalley Palace Shield premier division: Eccleston v Torrisholme, Kendal v Thornton Cleveleys, Lancaster v South Shore, Longridge v New Longton, Penwortham v Croston, Vernon Carus v Great Eccleston

Division 1A: Freckleton v BAC/EE Preston, Fylde v Tarleton, Grimsargh v Standish, Hoghton v Mawdesley, Norcross v Withnell Fold, Rufford v Kirkham and Wesham

Sunday

Palace Shield Meyler Cup: Kirkham and Wesham v Kendal