Fylde coast cricket preview: St Annes seeking a change of fortune

St Annes' Nathan Armstrong
St Annes' Nathan Armstrong

St Annes Cricket Club will be looking to kickstart their season this weekend with an unusual double header.

The Vernon Park club’s only win so far has been in the National Club Championship.

A team targeting a title challenge when the Northern Premier League season got under way at Easter are currently third-bottom on 19 points, though one of their three fixtures was abandoned. They lost their Readers T20 group opener at Fleetwood last Sunday.

St Annes host Fulwood and Broughton in the league tomorrow before welcoming them on again on Sunday in the second round of the 40-over knockout competition.

Captain Nathan Armstrong told The Gazette: “We’ve not had the best of starts. It’s been a bit stop-start in some ways. We played quite well against Penrith in the opening game and had them nine down for a winning draw in a very close game.

“We felt like it was a good start to the season but then we had a disappointing weekend, when the Leyland game was abandoned and the other teams managing to get a game in.

“But we got a win in the cup on the Sunday, when we beat Spring View, only to follow that up with a very disappointing result against a good Kendal side last Saturday.

“The issue on that occasion was our batting (St Annes were dismissed for 86) but I don’t think that will happen every week. I’ve got belief in our batting order and in our players.

“I think it was just a blip in what will hopefully be a good season but Kendal played well. They had a gameplan and did a job on us really.”

Tomorrow’s opponents Fulwood and Broughton sit in mid-table after a win and two defeats, and Armstrong is expecting another tough test.

He said of the double-header: “I don’t think this has ever happened before during my time playing cricket but it’s quite good

“I think both sides will have a couple of changes for the Sunday game, so there will be a few differences but it’s always a novel thing.

“Fulwood are a very good team. We played them three times last season, including a cup game.

“They’ve got some good players, so we’ll have to stick to our gameplan but execute it better this week.

“If we do that hopefully we’ll get the 15 points but it’s by no means in the bag. We’ll definitely have to work hard.”

TOMORROW’S FIXTURES:

Northern Premier League: Blackpool v Leyland, Fleetwood v Kendal, Longridge v Barrow, Netherfield v Garstang, Penrith v Chorley, St Annes v Fulwood and Broughton

Liverpool Competition ECB Premier League: Ormskirk v Lytham

Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division: Croston v Morecambe, Eccleston v Standish, New Longton v Preston, Penwortham v Fylde, South Shore v Great Eccleston, Vernon Carus v Lancaster

Division 1A: Hoghton v Grimsargh, Kirkham and Wesham v Rufford, Tarleton v Withnell Fold, Thornton Cleveleys v Mawdesley, Whittle and Clayton-le-Woods v Torrisholme

SUNDAY

National Club Championship round two: Blackpool v Leyland, St Annes v Fulwood and Broughton