Weekend cricket preview: Walling's challenge to Garstang players
Mark Walling has challenged his Garstang team to finish strongly as they approach the end of the Northern Premier Cricket League season.
Twelve months on from lifting the Palace Shield title, Walling’s players are eighth in the 12-team division with four games remaining.
They are 29 points ahead of second-bottom Fulwood and Broughton and can effectively end any lingering relegation fears this weekend.
Barrow, who are one place ahead of them in the table, are Saturday’s visitors to the Riverside, before a trip to bottom side Preston on bank holiday Monday.
“The last couple of weeks have been difficult and we haven’t got what we’d have wanted from those games,” Walling said of their league defeats to Chorley and Fleetwood.
“We’ve dropped just below mid-table but, hopefully, a win on Saturday will put us back up to where we’ve been for most of the season.
“There are positives that we can take out of this season but I don’t just want it to fizzle out. I want us to finish strongly and win our remaining games.
“Barrow have been playing quite well so it will be a really competitive game but one we need to win just to get some points on the board – and we can leapfrog them in the table.
“Everyone knows what they need to do and we just have to put it all together.”
While Garstang’s league form has stuttered in the last couple of weeks, their cup results have been impressive.
Twenty-four hours on from their defeat to Fleetwood, they reached the final of the league’s Benchmarx Kitchens and Joinery Trophy.
An 18-over-a-side semi-final with Fulwood and Broughton saw Garstang victorious by nine wickets to set up a final with Netherfield.
Walling said: “It’s good to get into the final and it’s a really good achievement.
“It was a really good performance and a fantastic effort from the players.”
NORTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE: Blackpool v Preston, Chorley v Netherfield, Fleetwood v Penrith, Garstang v Barrow, Leyland v Fulwood and Broughton, St Annes v Morecambe.
MOORE AND SMALLEY PALACE SHIELD PREMIER DIVISION: Croston v Vernon Carus, Great Eccleston v Lancaster, New Longton v Eccleston, South Shore v Penwortham, Thornton Cleveleys v Longridge, Torrisholme v Kendal.