Blackpool Cricket Club hope wait for pro won’t derail defence of title

Blackpool Cricket Club remain in their 'visa limbo' without a club professional and hope it won't cost them dear in their Northern Premier League title defence as a tough start to the season continues.

By Andy Moore
Friday, 6th May 2022, 4:45 pm

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All-rounder Naushad Shaikh remains at home in India waiting for his visa to come through and until it does the Stanley Park club are not allowed to engage a substitute pro.

The champions are yet to taste defeat this season but face tough test tomorrow with an all-amateur team against early pace-setters Garstang.

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2021 double winners Blackpool face a tough task to defend their Northern Premier League title

Captain Paul Danson told The Gazette: “We're in touch with the pro every day, and if we can provide evidence of the visa having come through before weekend we can at least get a sub, even though we couldn't fly Naushad over in time.

“His agent has been in touch with the Home Office, who say there are a lot of visa applications to process at the moment because of the Ukraine situation. We've done everything we can but it's very frustrating.

“The lads did well to beat Leyland in the first game without a pro and we were in a good position when we were rained off at Netherfield last weekend.”

Blackpool can again call on the services of Blackpool-born Lancashire seamer Richard Gleeson as a guest player at Stanley Park tomorrow, which would be as good as having a pro.

“Well, it would be if Lancashire let him bowl,” added Danson, “which they did last weekend but didn't against Leyland.

“Even if he isn't bowling, Richard is a great player and his experience in the field will always help us.

“We've got him for the first four games but then he has to focus on the T20s with Lancashire. If he does well, that could open up other avenues so we might get him back later in the season but we might not.”

Gleeson's bowling prowess would be a massive boost against Garstang, one of four clubs on maximum points after two games.

Danson said: “You look to your pro to win you games and Garstang have a good one (prolific Indian wicketkeeper/batsman Punit Bisht), who rarely misses out.

“I think the league is already splitting into two, and if we want to stay with the top group we don't want to be losing too much ground because we don't have a pro.”

TOMORROW’S FIXTURES

Northern Premier League (12.30): Blackpool v Garstang, St Annes v Longridge

Liverpool Competition First Division (12.0): Caldy v Lytham

Lytham 2 v Orrell Red Triangle (12.45)

Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division (1.0): Fleetwood v Preston, Great Eccleston v Croston, Thornton Cleveleys v Penwortham, Torrisholme v Kirkham and Wesham

Division 1A: Rufford v Fylde

Division 1B: Fulwood and Broughton 2 v Great Eccleston 2, Morecambe 2 v Thornton Cleveleys 2, Netherfield 2 v Fleetwood 2, Penwortham 2 v Blackpool 2

Division 2: Wrea Green v Norcross, Preston 2 v St Annes 2

SUNDAY

Readers T20: St Annes v Longridge (11.30), St Annes v Penrith (3.0), Kendal v Blackpool (3.0)

Tarleton Tornadoes v Blackpool Women (10.0)