Fylde coast cricket preview: St Annes ready for tough derby test against Blackpool and it's ladies' day at Fleetwood

There could be no better way for St Annes Cricket Club to kickstart their Northern Premier League season than with a derby win over Blackpool tomorrow, but new director of cricket Russ Bradley concedes it’s a tough challenge.

Friday, 25th June 2021, 8:00 am

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Unbeaten since the opening day, Blackpool are now sitting pretty at the top, while St Annes are second-bottom after winning two of their opening 10 games.

The season reaches its midway point with tomorrow’s match, switched to Vernon Road because Blackpool’s Stanley Park is not yet available after drainage work.

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Action from Vernon Road last weekend, when St Annes held out for a draw with Leyland

St Annes’ fortunes improved dramatically in the second half of the 2019 campaign and Bradley, who has replaced Richard Dearden in the director of cricket role for the rest of the season, hopes history can repeat itself.

He told The Gazette: “There’s no real change of approach with myself in the role and it’s really about seeing out the season. It is difficult without a professional but we have enough good players in the team to pick up the points we need.

“Blackpool are deservedly top and I’m not sure home advantage will count for much, but we will go into the game with confidence and you never know what will happen on the day.”

What matters most is that the club is rebuilding well at all levels and returning to normal after the disruption of 2020.

Bradley added; “Most of the junior teams are going well and win more than they lose. We have a lot of young players in the senior teams and our second XI is extremely young.

“We have a lot of good young players and it’s about bringing them through at the right speed and not pushing them too soon.”

At nearby Church Road, Lytham bid to halt a run of five straight defeats which has left them bottom of the Liverpool Competition’s first division. Visitors Northop Hall are four places above them but have only three points more.

FIXTURES FOR SATURDAY

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

Liverpool Competition first division (12.0): Lytham v Northop Hall

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

Division 1B: Chorley 2 v Great Eccleston 2, Longridge 2 v Blackpool 2.

Division 2: Preston 2 v Norcross, Thornton Cleveleys 2 v Torrisholme 2, Vernon Carus 2 v Wrea Green.

SUNDAY (1.30)

Meyler Cup quarter-final: Great Eccleston v Penrith

Loxham Cup quarter-final: Norcross v Blackpool 2

Crabtree Cup quarter-final: Wyre v Penwortham 3, Kirkham and Wesham 2 v Darwen 3

Palace Shield division 1B: St Annes 2 v Fleetwood 2

Fleetwood Cricket Club will mark Women’s Sport Month by staging its second ‘Prosecco’ event on Sunday.

The aim is to give women and girls a taste of the sport and a fun time at Broadwater.

There will be coaching and mini-matches from 11am to 5pm (or later), with the emphasis on having a laugh.

Anyone interested in taking part needs only to turn up on the day. No equipment is needed – plastic bats and resin balls will be provided.

FCC’s Jon Amor told The Gazette: “We’re hoping to break down a few barriers. The event is for anyone who fancies having a go, regardless of age or fitness.”

The Broadwater club’s women’s and girls’ section is growing.

Run by Jodie Riches, it offers recreational cricket in a fun environment.

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