Cricket leagues ready to start

New Preston professional Sajid Patel

New Preston professional Sajid Patel

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Wickets will be pitched for the new season in both the Northern Premier League and Moore and Smalley Palace Shield tomorrow.

In the Palace Shield, Vernon Carus start the defence of their Premier League title with a visit to Fulwood and Broughton.

Newly-promoted Croston start at home against Thornton Cleveleys.

Longridge, who enjoyed a strong season last summer, make the trip to Great Eccleston – both sides are expected to be in title contention this term.

Freckleton host Hoghton, Fylde are home to Penwortham, while Garstang start off against BAE/CC Preston at the Riverside.

There have plenty of changes in the Northern League in terms of clubs changing professionals.

In terms of team numbers, there will be no Lancashire Colts this season, with it a 13-team league.

Defending champions Blackpool have a home start against Netherfield at Stanley Park.

They have kept hold of pro Christi Viljeon who played such a key role in last summer’s title charge.

Leyland, runners-up last year and champions in 2013, have a derby clash to start off with. They make the trip to Windsor Park to take on Chorley.

South African batsman Richardt Frenz will be Leyland’s new pro this season.

Chorley, who did so well in the National Knockout in 2014, have Australian Brenton McDonald as their overseas amateur player.

After a pretty miserable season last year, Preston will be hoping for better over the coming months.

Yasin Patel is their new skipper, with Sajid Patel the professional.

They have a trip to Cumbria to start with, Penrith their hosts tomorrow.

Lancaster go north up the M6 to Kendal – the hosts have recruited former Preston skipper Saeed Bariwala over the debut.

St Annes welcome Darwen to Vernon Road, the home side having brought in Zander Pitchers to replace Toby Bulcock as professional.

Tomorrow’s Northern League games all have a 1pm start.