Garstang must be alert to the threat of strugglers Penrith

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Garstang skipper Danny Gilbert has warned his men of the dangers of complacency when they head to Penrith this weekend.

The Riversiders have enjoyed a bright start to the new Northern League season.

After four games of the summer, they find themselves in fourth spot in the table after wins over Netherfield and Vernon Carus.

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Last weekend they produced a dominant display against Chorley and they were only denied an outright win by a stubborn final wicket partnership from the visitors.

Garstang skipper Danny Gilbert (photo: Tim Gilbert/Preston Photographic Society)Garstang skipper Danny Gilbert (photo: Tim Gilbert/Preston Photographic Society)
Garstang skipper Danny Gilbert (photo: Tim Gilbert/Preston Photographic Society)

The only blot on the copybook is a defeat away to reigning champions Blackpool, where they were on the receiving end of a virtuoso spell of bowling from Jamie Thomson who took 7-8.

By contrast, Penrith have endured a wretched first month of the summer. They have lost all of their games so far and sit second bottom of the table.

However, Gilbert reckon the Cumbrians will be like a wounded animal after failing to pick up a single victory.

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He believes they have the quality to turn things around and is certainly not taking them lightly.

"We are excited for the trip, but it’s going to be a tough game nonetheless,” said Gilbert.

"I think they can move up the table. Every team in this league is dangerous and have dangerous players.

"You only have to look at our defeat to Blackpool. Their bowler Jamie Thomas has not really taken loads of wickets at this level but he had a day-out against us and bowled really well, took 7-8.

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"So we know that if we come into this game, not switched on and not ready to fight, then anyone can have a good day.

"Penrith are down there and struggling at the minute, but we have just got to play our game and take every game which comes on its merits.”

Gilbert – who has taken over the captaincy from Mark Walling – admits there were feelings of frustration that they failed by one wicket to get the victory against Chorley last weekend.

However, now the dust has settled, he believes his team can draw great confidence from coming within a whisker of beating the team which had the led the division with three wins out of three heading into the fixture.

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"Chorley were at the top of pile but we pretty much dominated them in all aspects,” said Gilbert.

"So it was a really good bounce back after the disappointment of the defeat to Blackpool. The Blackpool game was unfortunate.

"It was a difficult wicket and I wouldn’t say we played particularly badly, it was just one of those days where one of their bowlers was exceptional.

"Obviously the conditions were the same for both teams and they just bowled that little bit better than us even though we did bowl well.

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"But other than that, we have done really well. The first game of the season against Netherfield was good.

"They are always there or thereabouts at the top, but we did well in chasing down a score of 180-odd for the loss of four wickets.

"Then we had a decent run-out against Vernons where we chased 150 for just two wickets down.”

Penwortham will be hoping to make it four league wins on the spin this weekend in the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division.

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Ashley Billington’s men have recovered handsomely after a poor loss to Croston on the opening day of the season to secure victories over Euxton, Thornton Cleveleys and last weekend’s emphatic win against Torrisholme.

Those results have seen them rise to third in the league table but they face a stiff test tomorrow when they welcome Morecambe to Middleforth Green.

Morecambe slipped from top to fifth last weekend after a particularly heavy defeat at home to Thornton Cleveleys, but previous to that they had won their first three games.

Penwortham will be eager to make up for being dumped out of the Meyler Cup on Sunday. In a preliminary tie at Division One side Mawdesley, Pen lost by 27 runs. Half-centuries from Ben Munslow and Christopher Andrews, coupled with an unbeaten 41 from Jon Stone, enabled the home side to 227-6.

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In reply, pen closed on 200-8 with Sam Ryding hitting 50 and Jack Dillon 34. David Lovell took 3-43.

This weekend’s fixtures are: Northern League: Blackpool v Chorley, Lancaster v Kendal, Leyland v Vernon Carus, Longridge v Fulwood & Broughton, Penrith v Garstang, St Annes v Netherfield.

Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division: Croston v Preston, Euxton v Fleetwood, Great Eccleston v Barrow, Penwortham v Morecambe, Thornton Cleveleys v Kirkham & Wesham, Torrisholme v Eccleston.