Perfect finish to season for champions Garstang

Garstang with the 2017 Moore and Smalley Palace Shield. Picture: Tim Gilbert/Preston Photographic Society
Garstang with the 2017 Moore and Smalley Palace Shield. Picture: Tim Gilbert/Preston Photographic Society

Garstang skipper Mark Walling believed last Saturday’s victory over Croston was the perfect way to finish this season’s Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division campaign.

The new champions, who lifted the title for the first time in the process, won by eight wickets after an utterly dominant performance with the ball.

Danny Gilbert led the way with seven wickets as Croston were shot out for only 63.

Although Garstang lost a couple of wickets in reply, the captain was there at the close and brought up victory with a six.

Victory in that manner was a suitably 
emphatic way to finish a season in which Walling’s players won 17 of their 19 completed matches with the other three abandoned, as well as retaining the Meyler Cup.

Walling said: “It was a good result in the end, a good game where we played really well and it’s what we have deserved all season.

“Danny has bowled really well all year and hasn’t taken the wickets that he’s deserved to.

“When he got the first six on Saturday I was wondering if he could get all 10 but seven was a good enough performance as it was.

“It was a bit of a green wicket but it wasn’t horrendous. Croston is usually a good batting wicket but, with the weather that we’d had last week, it spiced it up a bit.

“We bowled really well and then, when we batted, any nerves we might have had disappeared once we’d got a few runs on the board and the target got lower and lower.

“We got the scores level which was when they brought in the field so I just thought I’d try and end it in style – and fortunately I did.”

After winning the toss and asking their hosts to bat first, Garstang had early success with Gilbert (7-22) bowling Luke McQuade (0), which was the first of six consecutive wickets for the bowler as Croston were reduced to 40-6.

Coen Ooosthuysen (3-31) then bowled Jack Marsh (12), Tom Caunce was dismissed next ball before Gilbert bowled Jonathan Driver and Oosthuysen had Keith Marsh (0) stumped by Matthew Crowther to leave Croston 63 all out.

In reply, Garstang lost Allan Cook (0) and Michael Walling (26) but skipper Mark Walling struck two sixes in an undefeated 29 with Michael Wellings on six as Garstang secured victory on 69-2.

A top-two finish means the club is also eligible for promotion into the Northern League.

The club will hold a meeting next Monday with a view to making a decision for 2018.