Garstang will not get carried away

Garstang skipper Ian Walling is staying level headed despite his team's fine start to the season
Garstang skipper Ian Walling is staying level headed despite his team's fine start to the season
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GARSTANG captain Ian Walling has urged his men to keep their feet firmly on the ground despite their marvellous start to the new Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division season.

Shield Premier Division season.

The Riversiders have won their opening two games of the campaign against 
BAC/EE Preston and Thornton Cleveleys to soar to the top of the table.

They lead Freckleton and Penwortham – who are in second and third spot respectively – by a single point.

Although perennially a strong top-division outfit, Garstang have never quite managed to sustain a title challenge in recent seasons.

They have finished in fourth position three times out of the previous four summers – including last year.

But after victories on the opening two weekends of the season, fans of the club may be forgiven for thinking that this is the year they make a serious challenge for the title.

While thrilled with his team’s fine start, Walling – who replaced his brother Michael as skipper – is not getting too carried away.

“I am not going to say it’s our year,” he said.

“There’s a long way to go – we’re only two games into the new season.

“We have had a good start but there are a lot of good teams in the league.

“We will just keep plodding along and playing one game at a time – that’s all we’re concentrating on. We are not looking too far ahead.”

Garstang, like many other teams, have been buoyed by the poor start of Vernon Carus, who have been the dominant force in the division over the last few years.

The current reigning champions, Vernons have been crowned champions six times out of the last eight years.

However, they currently find themselves third from bottom after losing both of their opening two games.

“It’s surprising when you think that Vernons only lost two games all season last year,” said Walling.

“It just proves what can happen. We have had it a few times – I remember one year, we lost four out of our first five games and our season was over before it had barely begun.”

Walling still believes Vernons will mount a title challenge alongside teams such as Longridge and Great Eccleston.

“I think Longridge and Great Eccleston will be up there and Vernons, although they will have to put a few wins together.

“After that there’s Fulwood and Broughton, Penwortham and Thornton Cleveleys, who are all good sides, who will be thinking they have a chance before the start of the season.”

This weekend, Garstang have the opportunity to extend their winning run when face newly-promoted Croston at home, who have yet to register a win so far this season, but Walling will be far from complacent.

“Last weekend Hoghton hammered Great Eccleston and nobody expected that,” Walling said.

NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE: Barrow v Darwen, Chorley v Preston, Kendal v Leyland, Lancaster v Fleetwood, Penrith v Morecambe, St Annes v Blackpool.

PALACE SHIELD PREMIER DIVISION: BAC/EE Preston v Thornton Cleveleys, Fulwood and Broughton v Fylde, Garstang v Croston, Great Eccleston v Freckleton, Longridge v Hoghton, Vernon Carus v Penwortham.