Leaders Chorley face stiff test
Blackpool's Richard Gleeson- 18 wickets so far
Chorley face an early test of their leadership credentials when they face a tough task against- visitors Blackpool at Windsor Park on Saturday in the match of the day in the Furness Building Society Northern Premier League (in association with 3D Sports).
Jack Catterall's men took advantage of the inactivity of St Annes to leapfrog Andy Kellett's side by virtue of a convincing win at Darwen. Their biggest worry was the weather as rain forced a frustrating delay with Chorley in sight of their victory target before the elements relented.
Chorley's Queensland wicket-keeping batsman Chris Hartley is settling in well and has impressed everyone at the club with his talent and application.
Catterall has an enviable range of amateur bowling talent at his disposal and the likes of Bill Smith, Nigel Eastham, Rex Purnell, Ian Oakes, Kieran McCullagh, Jim Lee and Matthew Parry have taken it in turns to produce match-winning performances.
Leg-spinner Oakes came to the fore over the Bank Holiday weekend with a total of nine wickets and some useful runs.
But Blackpool have arguably the league's best amateur bowler in opener Richard Gleeson who has taken 18 wickets at a shade over 11 so far. Andy Hogarth is emerging as an all-rounder while Palace Shield recruits John Mounsey and Andy Furniss are adapting well in their first season in the Northern League.
But Blackpool have lost left arm spinner Ashit Jariwala who has returned to his old club Penwortham in the Palace Shield.
St Annes will be eager to get back into action and they face a tough test against reigning champions Netherfield at Vernon Road.
Stephen Twist, Atiq Uz-Zaman and wicket-keeping batsman Duncan Whalley are three of the league's most accomplished amateurs while youngsters Zafir Patel and Nick Jones have cemented their first team spots. When Michael Baer returns from university commitments St Annes will look a formidable force especially as pro Dinuk Hettiarachchi is such a consistent performer.
A comprehensive win in the Kendal derby on Monday may have kick-started Netherfield's season after they again have begun slowly, just as they did last year.
In skipper Chris Parry and Craig Walmsley they have two of the best batsmen in the league but top opening bowler Scott Clement's recurring groin injury is a worry. Spinners Chris Miller and Marc Hadwin help give them one of the best balanced attacks in the league.
Bilal Asad, the league's outstanding performer so far
Leyland clung on for a draw in an engrossing derby with Preston as skipper David Makinson gave the younger members of his side a lesson in application, toughing it out against the inspired bowling of Bilal Asad. Makinson was not impressed that five of his batsmen were clean bowled and will demand greater application to match the undoubted talents of the likes of Luis Reece, Karl Cross and Chris Parkinson. Pro Ameer Khan has also made a slow start but has shown better form in his sub-pro commitments in the Ribblesdale and Lancashire Leagues.
Last season's Leyland player of the year Peter Cummings remains a key man for Makinson's side. Following a simple formula of bowling wicket to wicket the no-nonsense Cummings took 4 for 0 in the win over Barrow
Netherfield's Craig Walmsley 203 runs in 2009
Leyland are at Darwen whose pro David Wiese announced himself with a towering 88 off 77 balls on debut against Netherfield. The talented South Africa A player looks a top class all-rounder who will surely become a Birch Hall favourite once he adjusts to the different climactic conditions from those back home. Darwen's top six batsmen have had precious little time in the middle after a number of abandoned games and as captain Andrew Cook is currently sidelined with a rib injury Chris Lowe has taken over the reins temporarily.
Kendal professional and captain Ross McMillan is hoping to make a delayed seasonal debut against Preston and his side badly need his inspirational approach and all round skills after a disappointing start. McMillan is due to fly in from South Africa on Friday morning.
Preston's captain and professional Bilal Asad has had a wonderful season so far and leads the league runs and wickets tables with 275 runs at 55 and 28 wickets at 6. Potentially Preston have four of the league's top amateurs in their ranks in Adam Parker, Lukman Vahaluwala, Darren Nelson and Sajid Patel, but they will need to perform more consistently to support their professional if Preston are to mount a title challenge. The highly-rated Jonty McDonald showed glimpses of his batting talent at Leyland and his many admirers will be hoping he succeeds in moving up a level this season.
Fleetwood look a better balanced side now that West Indies U19 all rounder Chesney Hughes has joined them.The opening bat and left-arm spinner has made an impressive start and in conjunction with 20-year-old South African professional Henrik van der Dusson gives Fleetwood one of the best opening partnerships in the league.Youngsters Adam Breakall and Tom Wilson have also caught the eye and James Ellis's side will be hoping to continue their improvement.
Fleetwood's Chesney Hughes, a West Indies U19s representative
Bottom-placed Barrow visit Broadwater in determined mood after captain Daryl Wearing gave an object lesson in leadership against Carnforth on Monday.
The highly respected Barrow captain hit 70 opening the innings and followed up with a match-winning spell of 6 for 20. With pro Pasan Wanasinghe back at Ernest Pass and a clutch of the county's top amateur talent in Jon Miles, Chris D'Leny and Liam Livingstone Barrow should be far stronger if their players follow their captain's lead.
Carnforth's left arm spinner and trainee stockbroker Warren Quinn has impressed many good judges so far this season and opening batsman and wicket-keeper Ryan Nelson is another consistent and classy performer. With skipper Darren Moore settling into his role and opening bat, Robert Parker having the season's highest score and opening bowler Adam Cowperthwaite having already added to his Cumberland call-ups Carnforth should lack nothing in ability but seem to lack consistency and self belief at times. Their home game against Lancaster at Lodge Quarry gives both sides a chance of a morale-boosting win and the visitors are hoping that South African professional Mario Olivier will be catching the same flight as McMillan to make his long-awaited debut.
DIVISION ONE FIXTURES
SATURDAY 30th MAY 2009 (1-00pm)
Furness Building Society Northern Premier Cricket League (incorporating 3D Sports)
Carnforth v Lancaster
Chorley v Blackpool
Darwen v Leyland
Fleetwood v Barrow
Kendal v Preston
St Annes v Netherfield
Morecambe no game
Division Two (2nd XI)- fixtures reversed
Twenty20 games to be finalised
The league's Twenty20 fixtures must be finalised in time for the next league meeting on Monday week at Netherfield CC. To date only one of the four group stages have finalised their games.
The South Area Twenty20 fixtures have been confirmed and are as follows:
Tuesday 9th June - Leyland vs Chorley
Tuesday 16th June - Chorley vs Leyland
Friday 19th June - Darwen vs Chorley
Tuesday 23rd June - Leyland vs Darwen
Friday 26th June - Darwen vs Leyland
Friday 3rd July - Chorley vs Darwen
News of other competitions:
Last Sunday Leyland progressed in the ECB National KO Cup with a three wickets win at Barrow while Chorley beat Preston in the same competition at Windsor Park by six wickets. In the Lancashire Cup St Annes defeated Kendal by nine wickets.