Gastang CC captain Mark Walling retains hope of an unlikely title victory

Mark Walling
Mark Walling

Garstang skipper Mark Walling retains hope they can defy the odds and lift the Northern Premier Cricket League title.

In their second season at that level, Walling’s players have fought tooth and nail with Leyland for the title.

It now comes down to the final day this weekend with Garstang hosting in-form St Annes, while Leyland are at home to Longridge.

Thirteen points separate the top two, meaning Garstang require maximum points from their game and need Longridge to do them a favour with victory.

“As long as there’s a chance then we’re going to go for it,” Walling said.

“It’s completely out of our hands so we just have to try and get 15 points but St Annes are the form team at the minute.

“They won the Berrys Beds 40-Over Cup final on Sunday and they aren’t just going to roll over.

“If we do get 15 points, then we just hope our near neighbours do us a favour by beating Leyland and restricting them to no points or one.

“Until we know Leyland have got the points they need, we’re going to go for it and, with social media, you pretty much know what’s going on around the grounds anyway.”

The deficit could have been more manageable had Garstang avoided shooting themselves in the foot last weekend.

Facing second-bottom Kendal, they were well in charge after dismissing them for 79 – only to be bowled out for 70 in reply.

That meant five points instead of the expected 15 and left the captain livid with their batting, especially given Leyland’s loss against Fulwood and Broughton.

“It’s really disappointing and it was our own fault,” he said.

“It had been on the cards for the last month or so with the batting performances but we had bowled really well.

“You’re thinking that, ‘We only need 70-odd to win’ but then we showed no application and we just gave our wickets away.

“The mood after the game wasn’t great but, hopefully, we can remember that feeling, learn from our mistakes and take it into the last game.”

For their part, Longridge are assured of sixth place following last weekend’s winning draw against Penrith.

While they cannot finish 
any higher or lower, Longridge’s Ian Simpson wants to finish the season on a high.

“If we can turn Leyland over and they have to cancel their celebrations then so be it but whoever is top on the last day deserves it,” he said.

“They have been the two outstanding sides all season and it’s only right that it should be decided on the last day.

“We’ll be going there, trying to upset the applecart, and it’s going to be a competitive game because we want to finish well.”