Riversiders bounce back in cup after league agony

Michael Walling for Garstang
Michael Walling for Garstang
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All-rounder Michael Walling believes Garstang’s character was on full show at the weekend in the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield.

The Riversiders responded to the disappointment of being knocked off top spot in the Premier Division on Saturday, by moving through to the semi-finals of the Meyler Cup the following day.

It was Great Eccleston who sent Garstang to third in the table after a dramatic one-wicket victory at Highfield.

After posting 208-9, Walling and his team-mates looked on course for victory after reducing the home side to 130-7.

But a timely knock of 47 from No.9 batsman Joe 
Jeffries swung the match back in Great Ecc’s favour and they edged over the line in the 38th over.

The Riversiders picked themselves up off the floor a day later however to beat neighbours and title rivals Longridge at Chipping Road in a quarter-final tie.

Their 38-run victory owed much to Walling’s five wicket haul as Kyle Helm’s men were dismissed for 95 in reply to Garstang’s 133 all out.

“The loss to Great Eccleston was hard one to take,” said Walling.

“Great Eccleston are one of our big rivals. We felt we made a good score in getting over 200.

“They got off to a good start, but we managed to pull them back.

“They were 110-1 but we managed to get them to 130-7.

“But Joe Jeffries came in and took the game away from us a little but.

“We managed to take a couple of wickets, but they managed to get over the line with their last two batsmen at the crease.

“Sunday was very good. We bounced back well against Longridge.

“We made 133 which was a competitive score. We came out and bowled and fielded really well and kept up the pressure on them.”

Despite slipping to third in the table, Garstang are still handily placed just six points behind leaders Longridge and two away from reigning champions Fulwood and Broughton.

“I think we’re only six points behind Longridge and the lead seems to be changing hands every week,” 
Walling said.

“It would be great to win the league. We have been close to winning it a few times recently, but we’re not really thinking about that too much.

“We’re just taking each game as it comes.”

This weekend Garstang are at home to Croston.

On paper, it is a match which the Riversiders will be expecting to win, but their 
opponents have had some good wins this season and are in sixth spot in the table.

“Croston are a good side,” Walling said. “They have done well in a number of games this season.”

Garstang are expected to be at full strength squad-wise.