Shield title rivals ready to do battle

Longridge batsman James Whitehead is the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield player of the month for June
Longridge batsman James Whitehead is the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield player of the month for June
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Great Eccleston and Garstang will battle it out for top spot of the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division on Saturday.

It is a battle of the top two, with Garstang heading to Hall Lane just a point ahead of Great Ecc at the summit.

However, it is far from being a title decider with seven weeks of the season left, such is the tight nature of the division.

Longridge are just 11 points behind the leaders and Freckleton 12 points shy.

Both will be looking to keep pace with the top two when they play home fixtures – Freck host Fylde, and Longridge welcome BAC/EE Preston to the Newsham Memorial Ground.

Someone who has played a key part in Longridge’s strong season is opening batsman James Whitehead.

He was this week named as the Palace Shield player of the month for June.

Whitehead scored 223 runs in four innings last month to earn the award.

The team event for June went to Great Ecc after four wins put them at the heart of the title battle.

Next week, young players from the Palace Shield will team-up to play a side from the MCC at BAC/EE Preston’s Riverside ground.

The game takes place on Wednesday (11am) and Sam Marsh from Croston CC will skipper the Under-21s side.

Meanwhile, there is league and cup action this weekend in the Northern League.

Division One leaders Morecambe head to Barrow tomorrow.

They hold a three-point advantage over Darwen, who go to third-placed Fleetwood.

Chorley, who host Netherfield at Windsor Park, are looking for a new overseas player after the exit of Australian amateur Brenton McDonald.

He refused to play in the Readers Cup fixture against Lancaster last weekend.

McDonald had left the area to represent Melbourne, his Australian club, in a fixture at Lord’s against the Marylebone Cricket Club on Tuesday, which Chorley officials were not aware of.

That was a breach of his contract and the club chose to release his registration after talks with the player’s agent.

A statement released by Chorley said: “It is with great disappointment that our overseas amateur Brenton McDonald has left the club.

“He has been in excellent form but due to the way matters evolved off the pitch, we felt it was impossible to retain his services.

“The club have made every effort to accommodate Brenton in his stay and we are disappointed with the way this situation has developed.

“This club has a long standing history of engaging overseas players and we do not want that to change.

“We are welcoming of any overseas players and we are already planning for next season.”

Leyland, without a league game tomorrow, play Fleetwood in the Readers Cup at Fox Lane on Sunday


NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE: Barrow v Morecambe, Chorley v Netherfield, Fleetwood v Darwen, Kendal v Blackpool, Lancaster v Preston, St Annes v Penrith. Leyland – no game.

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