Dream start for Lytham Cricket Club gets better with arrival of professional Akash Vashist

Lytham Cricket Club hope to welcome their new Indian professional for tomorrow’s home game against Spring View but have fared admirably without him.

By Andy Moore
Friday, 20th May 2022, 12:30 pm

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The Church Road club are top of the Liverpool Competition First Division, having won all of their first four games, and will be further boosted by the expected arrival of all-rounder Akash Vashist today.

The 27-year-old left-hand batsman and leg-spinner is among many players from the sub-continent whose arrival has been delayed by visa issues – Blackpool are still without t heir Indian pro, Naushad Shaikh.

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Tom Jefferson was outstanding for Lytham in the win at Fleetwood Hesketh

Lytham captain Matt Taaffe is looking forward to welcoming Akash and told The Gazette: “I did see a ridiculous stat that around 60 clubs in the North West alone are still waiting for their pro but, all being well, Akash will be available for Saturday.

“We haven’t had a pro so far but couldn’t have asked for a better start. Rainford are the only other club in our division to have won four out of four and Wallasey are the only 100 per cent club in the premier division.”

Tom Jefferson starred with 6-34 from 13 overs in last Saturday’s 36-run win over bottom club Fleetwood Hesketh, Josh Holden having led the way with a five-for in the previous 63-run success over Caldy.

Taaffe said “We’ve spoken about individuals stepping up and giving matchwinning performances.

“Already five or six players have done that and we aren’t relying on the same players each week.”

Lytham found their feet in the competition’s second tier last season following relegation and Taaffe added: “Last season stood us in good stead but the main thing is that we’re building momentum and confidence, which is permeating the whole club.

“The three senior teams are all top of their league and between them have only lost two games out of 12.”

Lytham’s first team did suffer their first loss of the season on Tuesday, exiting the ECB Club T20 with a 36-run defeat at Ormskirk.

“We gave a good performance with the ball and fielded well but the batting came up short,” admitted Taaffe.

“We got the worst of the conditions after putting them in and I couldn’t believe we got a full game in.

“It rained during the first innings, then went pitch black and it was dark at the end (Lytham could only reach 114-8 chasing 156-6 despite Toby Lester’s 44).

“It would have Wallasey away in the next round and another Tuesday night because there are so many cup competitions on Sundays.”

As for tomorrow’s visitors from Wigan, Taaffe said: “Spring View have won two and lost two, so they could be a banana skin but we just have to keep our standards up and I'd always back our bowlers.”

Besides Akash, the club’s professional ranks could soon be boosted further by Lancashire’s Lytham-based Steven Croft.

Taaffe explained: “After this weekend, there’s a block when Steven could be available on Saturdays.

“We don’t know Lancashire’s travel and training arrangements, though, so we’re waiting for Steven to get back to us.”

TOMORROW'S FIXTURES:

Northern Premier League (12.30): Blackpool v Chorley, St Annes v Netherfield

Liverpool Competition First division (12.0): Lytham v Spring View (Newton-le-Willows 2 v Lytham 2)

Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division (1.30): Thornton Cleveleys v Kirkham and Wesham, Euxton v Fleetwood, Great Eccleston v Barrow.

Division 1A (1.30): Tarleton v Fylde

Division 1B (1.30): Fleetwood 2 v Leyland 2, Chorley 2 v Blackpool 2, Garstang 2 v Thornton Cleveleys 2, Netherfield 2 v Great Eccleston 2

Division 2 (1.30): Wrea Green v Gregson Lane, Longridge 3 v St Annes 2.