Weekend cricket previews
Garstang CC captain Mark Walling wants his players to continue churning out the results as they approach the business-end of the season.
They are nine points clear of Fulwood and Broughton at the top of the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division with four games of the campaign remaining.
Thornton Cleveleys are their visitors on Saturday in Garstang’s first game since retaining the Meyler Cup with victory over Vernon Carus last Sunday.
Ten wins from their last 11 matches in league and cup have left them on the threshold of a league and cup double for 2017.
“We will go into the Thornton game and look to play like we have done in the last six to eight weeks,” Walling said.
“If we play good cricket then, hopefully, we will win again. We have got strength in depth and nearly every base is covered.
“Over the last few weeks, if someone hasn’t bowled well then someone else steps up. The same goes for the batting as well.”
Garstang had warmed up for the Meyler Cup showpiece with victory against Longridge in less-than-perfect conditions.
That was a third straight defeat for Longridge, who had gone into the month with genuine title hopes. They go into Saturday’s match with Torrisholme, hoping for a run of wins to close the campaign.
“We have to get back to winning ways on Saturday,” said skipper Kyle Helm.
“The lads are down and it’s up to me to get them back going.
“We don’t want the season to fizzle out – it’s a long time from the end of September to next April but it’s always in the back of your head.”
Derby clashes take centre stage on a bumper weekend of bank holiday cricket in the Northern Premier League.
Second-in-the-table Chorley will look to get the better of local rivals Leyland on Saturday but are likely to see their faint title hopes extinguished by the end of the day.
Champions-elect Netherfield make the short trip to struggling Kendal needing just three points to confirm the inevitable, the Cumbrians 58 points clear at the top having been closing in on the Division One title for some time.
Elsewhere Preston, eighth, welcome fourth-in-the- table St Annes to West Cliff.
The big battle at the bottom comes at Woodhill Lane as Morecambe, ninth but 25 points behind Preston, host bottom of the table Lancaster.
Four places but crucially just seven points separate the sides with Barrow, who visit Penrith, and Kendal sandwiched between them.
With four games to go two sides face the prospect of dropping into the Palace Shield in the first season of the link-up between the competitions.
Also on Saturday, Fleetwood host Blackpool in a meeting of Fylde coast rivals with the visitors set to have Leyland’s former Lancashire batsman Luis Reece acting as their sub professional.
Now with Derbyshire, he has had a good year since leaving Old Trafford, helping his new county into the quarter-finals of the T20 Blast.
The action continues on Monday, with Chorley visiting Blackpool’s Stanley Park in a game that could go some way to determining who is the best of the rest behind Netherfield.
Leyland, also with eyes on a strong finish, travel to face relegation-threatened Lancaster at Lune Road while St Annes make the trip up to Barrow.
Preston visit Fleetwood, Morecambe host Netherfield it what looks set to be a title part for the visitors and Kendal travel to Penrith.
Sandwiched in between the league double header are the semi-finals of the Benchmarx Kitchens and Joinery Trophy on Sunday.
Leyland host Netherfield and Morecambe visit Barrow in the 40-over competition.
All games start at 1pm.
NORTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE: Chorley v Leyland, Fleetwood v Blackpool, Kendal v Netherfield, Morecambe v Lancaster, Penrith v Barrow, Preston v St Annes
PALACE SHIELD PREMIER DIVISION: Eccleston v Freckleton, Fulwood and Broughton v Rufford, Garstang v Thornton Cleveleys, Longridge v Torrisholme, Penwortham v Croston, Vernon Carus v Great Eccleston