Fleetwood CC skipper praises the family feeling ahead of new season

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New Fleetwood Cricket Club captain Declan Clerkin sees his step up as a natural progression and is confident the Broadwater team can continue their progress this year.

After a solid mid-table season in 2023, having returned to the Northern Premier League as Palace Shield champions, Clerkin is backed by some eye-catching new signings for 2024.

The all-rounder told The Gazette: “I think it has come about naturally. I was vice-captain last year and I was asked if I’d step forward.

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“We are a young side and I’m one of the more senior players.

Declan Clerkin (left) is Fleetwood CC's new captainDeclan Clerkin (left) is Fleetwood CC's new captain
Declan Clerkin (left) is Fleetwood CC's new captain
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“Adam (Sharrocks) is stepping aside but will still be playing and, fingers crossed, I can build on the foundations that have been laid.

“Everyone was pleased with where we finished (sixth) but there was a feeling that, with a bit more self-belief, we could have finished higher.

“There were some close games we should have won – and we could have won all of the last three – but it was a strong first year back and we are starting to see progress.”

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New professional, Vathsal Govind Sharma from Delhi, plays for Kerala in his Indian homeland.

The 24-year-old is familiar with conditions in the North West of England, having played for Egremont in the Cumbrian League last year.

Clerkin added: “We are going with a genuine batsman this year as pro, who bowls a bit of leg-spin.

“Having an Indian professional has worked well for other sides in this competition, so we’re going down that road and hopefully we’ve got a really good one.

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“He’ll be here in good time. We speak every few days and he seems a top guy.

“He had a really good year for Egremont. Matt Siddall played against him last year and heard a lot of good things.”

Cumbria bowler Siddall, the former Blackpool spinner who joins Fleetwood from Cockermouth, is another notable recruit at Broadwater.

Clerkin said: “Matt has always got wickets against us and is always a threat.

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“Left-arm spinners offer so much value if you can get one and we’ve got probably the best in the league.

“In Tom King (signed from Blackpool), we have a top-order batsman who has won this league a couple of times.”

However, it’s the family spirit – as much as talented individuals – which holds the key to success for Clerkin.

He explained: “There are quite a few of us in the team now who are Fleetwood lads and have come through the juniors.

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“As much as we want to win and see the club progress, it is a family at Fleetwood, and I’m proud and privileged to captain a team of my best mates.

“We want to be right in the mix at the end of the season. We’ve made good signings and have had players playing in Australia over the winter.

“We have players who are with each other 52 weeks of the year – not just during the cricket season – and that will hopefully help us through the close games.”

The season is due to get underway at Netherfield on April 27 after a delayed start.

The scheduled opener at home to champions Kendal has been rearranged for June 2.