League and cup challenge for Walling's outfit

A big weekend in the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield sees key games in the title race and the Meyler Cup.

Palace Shield action this weekend
Palace Shield action this weekend

Sunday sees the Meyler Cup reach its semi-final stage, with Vernon Carus at home to Croston, while Garstang face Thornton Cleveleys.

The final is being played at Penwortham’s Middleforth ground on August 20.

Garstang and Vernons are handily placed in the Premier Division title mix too, with them sitting third and fourth respectively.

It is league action which comes first tomorrow.

League leaders Fulwood and Broughton host Croston at Highfield.

Longridge, in second place, host Great Eccleston, with Garstang welcoming Torrisholme to Riverside.

At Factory Lane, Vernons meet Thornton.

Focusing on Garstang’s league game, their skipper Mark Walling said: “I think we have a few games coming up that we should be winning.

“We have to try and keep getting maximum points from as many games as we can to try and close the gap on the leaders.”

The battle at the summit is developing nicely, Fulwood and Broughton heading into the weekend four points clear of Longridge.

Kyle Helm’s Longridge have a six-point advantage over Garstang who in turn are six ahead of Vernons.

So plenty can change in one set of fixtures.

Longridge skipper Helm was pleased with his side’s win at Rufford last week which kept them on F&B’s shoulder.

Two stand-out displays in that victory came from Matt Greenall and Tom Howarth.

Greenall took 7-45 and Howarth scored 54 not out.

Helm said: “The track suited Matt – it was a quick deck and the ball was coming through to me quite sharply.

“If I’m honest then I’ve got to say that’s the best I’ve seen him bowl for Longridge.

“For them to get to 140 was probably 30 runs too many in my eyes but you can’t take that away from them.

“James Whitehead got out in the first over of our reply to a good ball from Richard Lyon, who is a good bowler so it was a case of seeing him off and getting runs from the other end.

“As soon as the change bowlers came on, that was when Tom and Josh McDowell made hay; it was good to see Tom in the runs for us batting at number six.”

Tomorrow’s game against Great Eccleston is a reverse of the fixtures on the second weekend of the season.

Longridge won that one by eight wickets but Helm knows Great Ecc will be tough opponents.

Said Helm: “Fulwood and Broughton beat them last weekend but Great Eccleston are a dangerous side and you can never take any side lightly in this competition.

“It is another big game and hopefully we can get a good run of form going.”