Wilkinson salutes his Longridge title winners

Longridge celebrate winning the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield
Longridge celebrate winning the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield

Longridge skipper Nick Wilkinson thanked his players after they finally lifted the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield at the weekend.

A four-wicket at New Longton handed Wilkinson’s men their 18th victory in 21 games and ensured they cannot be caught by second-placed Kendal going into Saturday’s final game of the season against South Shore.

It is the club’s first Palace Shield title in 14 years and comes in Wilkinson’s maiden season as first XI captain.

“It’s always nice to get it wrapped up with a game to spare because it means there’s no pressure on us,” the skipper said.

“It’s been a good season because everyone has performed well week in week out. All of the lads have chipped in and played their part.

“Kendal have been our bogey side if you like, seeing as they have beaten us twice in the league and once in the cup but that’s about it really.

“It’s been a real team effort this year with all of the lads wanting to do well and desperate to get into the Northern League next year.

“Everyone has raised their game, even those who have come into the team, and there’s a really good buzz around the club.”

Subject to final confirmation, the plan is for Longridge to follow Garstang and Fulwood and Broughton into the Northern Premier Cricket League for 2019.

The first year of movement between the two divisions saw Garstang finish in a very creditable sixth position.

Fulwood and Broughton, on the other hand, needed a final-day win to ensure they finished third-bottom, with Morecambe occupying the second relegation place.

“It’ll be tough but it’s good that Garstang and Fulwood and Broughton have 
stayed in that league and proven a point – hopefully we can do the same,” said Wilkinson.

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Palace Shield Premier Division: Eccleston v Croston, Kendal v Great Eccleston, Lancaster v Thornton Cleveleys, Longridge v South Shore, Penwortham v New Longton, Vernon Carus v Torrisholme