Fylde coast cricket preview: Blackpool CC professional will be thrown in at the deep end

Straight out of quarantine and into a Blackpool Cricket Club triple-header – it will be quite an introduction to English cricket for the club’s new professional, Shivam Chauhan.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 4:45 pm

Blackpool captain Paul Danson told The Gazette: “It’s going to be a baptism of fire for Shiv after he’s been locked up for 10 days .... but what a way to get to know your teammates!”

The 23-year-old Indian all-rounder’s new club plays on three successive days over the Bank Holiday weekend and Chauhan will hopefully be available, having been in isolation since arriving in the country last week.

Tomorrow’s Northern Premier League visit to unbeaten Kendal is followed by Sunday’s first Fylde coast derby of the season at Fleetwood in the quarter-finals of the 40-over cup (2pm).

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The league game scheduled for Leyland next weekend has been moved to Bank Holiday Monday (12.30pm) because the Stanning Memorial Ground would not be available on the Saturday.

Danson added: “We’re just waiting for Shiv to come out of quarantine and hopefully he can play over the weekend.

“We can’t wait because the pro gives you continuity and we believe we’ve signed a good player.”

Having made his first-class debut for Haryana in 2016, Chauhan also represents his state team in List A and T20 cricket as a right-hand bat and medium-pace seamer.

His countryman, Sagar Trivedi, has filled the breach as guest pro in Blackpool’s first two games, with contrasting fortunes.

Beaten by 134 runs in their first game at Fulwood and Broughton, Blackpool bounced back with a 33-run win at Garstang last weekend.

The difference a pro can make was clear to see in that opener at Fulwood, where Abhay Negi, another Indian, scored 120 and then took five wickets as Blackpool were skittled out for 96.

Danson said of the up and down – or rather down and up – start: “We were obviously disappointed about the first game at Fulwood but that can happen with a really good pro. He played the conditions well, made the most of a small ground and we have no complaints. We were second best on the day.

“We’d had the one friendly at Lowerhouse and were not as well drilled or up to speed as in previous seasons. Having to net on plastic rather than grass does not help but we just have to get on with it.

“We had a chat after the Fulwood game about not giving our wickets away and we moved on. We adapted, reacted and bounced back with a much better performance at Garstang. That first win will hopefully kickstart our season.”

Blackpool are netting on an artificial surface and playing all matches away until late June as drainage work is completed at Stanley Park.

Danson has mixed feelings, saying: “It’s a challenge but in some respects I’m not too concerned. We are blessed to have such a fantastic ground but other teams love to play there and raise their game against us.

“It can also be a graveyard for bowlers because it’s difficult to bowl sides out, so starting the season on a lot of result wickets is an opportunity to pick up some wins.”

That success at Garstang is the only NPCL victory so far recorded by a Fylde coast club in 2021. St Annes head to Netherfield after two draws, while Fleetwood visit Leyland on the back of two defeats.

Saturday fixtures

Northern Premier League (all 12.30): Chorley v Fulwood and Broughton, Garstang v Longridge, Kendal v Blackpool, Lancaster v Morecambe, Leyland v Fleetwood, Netherfield v St Annes.

Liverpool Competition first division: Liverpool v Lytham (12.0)

Moore and Smalley Palace Shield premier division (all 1.30): Barrow v Croston, Great Eccleston v Fylde, Penrith v Kirkham and Wesham, Penwortham v Eccleston, Thornton Cleveleys v Preston, Vernon Carus v South Shore

Division 1B: Blackpool 2 v Leyland 2, Fleetwood 2 v Great Eccleston 2, Fulwood and Broughton 2 v Garstang 2, Longridge 2 v Netherfield 2, Morecambe 2 v Kendal 2, St Annes 2 v Chorley 2.

Division 2: Eccleston 2 v Wrea Green, Norcross v Penwortham 2, Whittingham and Goosnargh v Thornton Cleveleys 2

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