Cricket champions Blackpool hope wait for first win ends at Garstang as Sri Lankan professional makes bright start

Blackpool were stunned by Fleetwood at Stanley Park and are still awaiting their first win of the season
Blackpool were stunned by Fleetwood at Stanley Park and are still awaiting their first win of the season
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Champions Blackpool Cricket Club seek their first win of the Northern Premier League season at the third attempt tomorrow boosted by the knowledge that their new exciting new professional is settling in well.

READ MORE Fylde coast cricket review: Northern Premier League, Palace Shield and National Club Championship action
Blackpool head to Garstang on the back of a 36-run home defeat by Fleetwood and last Saturday’s winning draw at Kendal, where the hosts’ final pair held out in a rain-affected match.

That clash in Cumbria also saw the debut of new pro Lahiru Madushanka, the Sri Lankan all-rounder who scored 58 on his first appearance in this country.

Captain Paul Danson told The Gazette: “We’re obviously disappointed not to have won yet. Against Fleetwood we were undercooked. We still should have won but we didn’t bat well.

“There was a downpour at Kendal and the ball was like a bar of soap for the final few overs. It was very difficult for the bowlers to grip the ball but a winning draw away from home is not a bad result,especially against a newly promoted team.”

And Lahiru, who played four ODIs in 2017, made a favourable first impression on his new skipper.

Danson added: “The pro looks a very good player and he plays with a smile on his face. He was unlucky with the ball and a 50 in his first match is a good sign.

“But you don’t necessarily want a pro who scores a stack of runs or takes a load of wickets – you want a pro who helps you to win. Morecambe’s pro scored 1,000 runs last season but they were relegated.

“It’s Lahiru’s first time in this country, so it’s a learning curve for him and the start of the season is full on.”

It’s another full-on weekend as Sunday brings an early chance of revenge against Fleetwood, when the Broadwater club stages the first of this season’s derby double-headers in the Readers T20.

First comes the league visit to Garstang, who have won one and tied the other to date.

Danson said: “Garstang held their own in their first season and have strengthened over the close-season. They are a well-balanced side and will be difficult to beat.”

SATURDAY’S FIXTURES

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

Liverpoool Competition ECB premier league: Lytham v Wallasey

Moore and Smalley Palace Shield premier division: Fylde v Eccleston Great Eccleston v Croston, Lancaster v Penwortham, Morcambe v New Longton, Preston v South Shore, Standish v Vernon Carus

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

SUNDAY

NPCL Readers T20: Fleetwood v St Annes (noon), Fleetwood v Blackpool (3.30)