Fleetwood Cricket Club creating pathway to the top for young players

Youth development at Fleetwood Cricket Club ultimately boosts Mat Clark's senior side
Youth development at Fleetwood Cricket Club ultimately boosts Mat Clark's senior side
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Fleetwood Cricket Club’s junior cricket chairman Jon Amor is proud that the club’s  youngsters have helped the first team to the top the Northern Premier League.

READ MORE: Fleetwood go top and win through to Twenty20 finals day
And he says it is no fluke, but rather the result of the club’s hard work to create a pathway.

Six of the first XI that beat Netherfield on Saturday to go top of the NPL are homegrown products.

James Gregson, Tom Wilson, Declan Clerkin, Mat Clark, Alex Ryder and James Amor have all come through the ranks.

And now Amor, who has been associated with the club for over 30 years, believes that winning the title would not just be beneficial to the club but to the whole town.

Amor too is playing a big role in the pathway as he captains the Sunday team that sees the youngest of the club’s players make that first step into senior cricket.

He told The Gazette: “Winning the league would not just mean a whole lot for the club – it would mean a lot for the town as an accolade.

“We have not won it for seven years, so to win it with mostly homegrown talent would mean the world to us.

“It would inspire more of the juniors to continue and stay in the sport.

“We are bucking the trend by retaining youth players in a sport that is showing declining numbers throughout the country.

“Our numbers have been increasing year on year for the past five years.

“As a club we are very proud to go against what is happening in the rest of the country.

It is not just this season – as a club we have a five-year plan.

“We have always had juniors playing senior cricket, and the benefit of cricket is that you can play at senior level from the age of 13.

“We have always done that but we have a more structured approach.

“We are bringing the 13-year-olds through with the Sunday team and blending them with the older players.

“That is an easier step up before they play Saturday league cricket.

“It is not an accident what is happening at Fleetwood. This plan has been structured together and it is all going well so far.”

The first team host Chorley tomorrow as they look to consolidate top spot in the league.

Chorley are the holders of the league’s Readers Twenty20 crown but have just been knocked out of the competition.

Fleetwood, though, are very much in the mix after winning the Fylde coast group with victory at Blackpool last weekend.

Leyland and Netherfield will also battle it out with hosts Garstang on finals day on July 7.

And for Amor, the short-over game is going from strength to strength in the junior section too.

He said: “I think the other three teams are very strong this season but it is another final we have got to.

“Our U19s defend the county championship, which we won last year.

“They will start that defence on Tuesday against St Annes.

“It is another very exciting brand of cricket, where the coloured clothing comes out and it is very exciting for our players to be part of that competition.”

It’s another double-header cricket weekend for two Fylde coast clubs as Blackpool face two away fixtures, while St Annes have home games on successive days.

Both clubs follow tomorrow’s league matches with third-round ties against Northern Premier League opposition in the Lancashire Federation Knockout.

St Annes will first be seeking a much-needed first league win against Garstang.

Three of the Fylde’s Palace Shield clubs are also in cup action on Sunday, when they bid to reach the semi-finals of the Meyler Cup.

TOMORROW’S FIXTURES

NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION: Fleetwood v Chorley, Fulwood and Broughton v Blackpool, St Annes v Garstang, Barrow v Penrith, Kendal v Netherfield, Longridge v Leyland

LIVERPOOL COMPETITION ECB PREMIER LEAGUE: New Brighton v Lytham

MOORE AND SMALLEY PALACE SHIELD: Great Eccleston v Eccleston, South Shore v Fylde, Croston v Standish, Morecambe v Vernon Varus, New Longton v Lancaster, Preston v Penwortham

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

SUNDAY

LCF KNOCKOUT THIRD ROUND: Leyland v Blackpool, St Annes v Barrow

MEYLER CUP QUARTER-FINALS: Mawdesley v Great Eccleston, South Shore v Lancaster, Thornton Cleveleysv Torrisholme, Croston v Penwortham