Unfancied Longridge target a cup upset

Moore and Smalley director Judith Dugdale  presents Garstang's Ian Walling with his award
Moore and Smalley director Judith Dugdale presents Garstang's Ian Walling with his award
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Leyland and Longridge will go again this weekend as they bid to progress through to the last 16 of the prestigious ECB National Knockout.

The pair will face each other in the regional final of the competition for a second time on Sunday, after last weekend’s tie at Fox Lane was abandoned because of the weather.

Longridge had been asked to bat first by home skipper David Makinson, before the rain caused a premature end to proceedings.

Very much the underdogs against their Northern League Division One counterparts, Longridge – of the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division – will be hoping to keep their fine run in the competition going.

So far they have knocked out Morecambe and Chorley – and will be aiming to make Leyland their third Northern League scalp of the season.

However, the men from Fox Lane know what it takes to beat teams from the Palace Shield, having got the better of Garstang in the last round.

They will also have good memories from last season when they ended Longridge’s interest in the competition thanks to a convincing 52-run win.

While Kyle Helm’s men have had an inconsistent start to their respective league season, Leyland are currently bang in form.

They lead the Division One table by nine points from second-placed Blackpool, having lost just once all season.

They secured a winning draw last Saturday in a high-scoring game against Penrith to secure 11 points. Longridge, on the other hand, were well beaten by Vernon Carus.

“We were in control when the rain started against Longridge but I am confident we can get the right result on Sunday,” said Makinson.

Both teams will be motivated to progress in the competition – the prize for the finalists is a day out at Wantage Road – the home of Northamptonshire – on Sunday, September 18.

Meanwhile, Garstang will be hoping star bowler Ian Walling can continue his fine form over the remainder of the season.

His wickets have been a major factor in their rise to third in the Palace Shield Premier Division table and it also saw him win the league’s player-of-the-month award.

In the six games during the April and May period, Walling took 29 wickets at an average of just 7.62.

His record also included a nine-wicket haul against Longridge and an ‘eight-for’ against Freckleton.

Meanwhile, the Palace Shield’s team of the month award for the same period was handed Ingol’s first XI.

They had a perfect return in Division Four with six wins and the maximum available points of 72.

To mark the award, the winners were presented with prize by Moore and Smalley’s director Judith Dugdale.