Garstang better final position as rain ruins derby

Michael Walling, with 1048 runs, 12 short of being the Palace Shield's leading run-scorer but setting a new club record.' 'Picture by Sir Robert Atkins
Michael Walling, with 1048 runs, 12 short of being the Palace Shield's leading run-scorer but setting a new club record.' 'Picture by Sir Robert Atkins
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THE eagerly-anticipated final day derby showdown between Garstang and Longridge was washed out without a ball being bowled, as Garstang had to settle for a fourth place finish, with Longridge finishing in seventh place.

For Garstang it was one higher than last year, which the club will see as a step in the right direction.

The rain, however, denied Garstang skipper Michael Walling the chance to overhaul the 12-run deficit he faced going into the game to claim the highest ever run total in the league’s history.

But despite the abandonment, Walling holds his head high, knowing that he has indeed broken both the club and league record, his 1,048 runs were an incredible achievement, which saw him average 58.22.

Elsewhere, 2010 league batting average winner Michael Wellings weighed in with 459 runs and Craig Bevan, in his debut season at Garstang, chipped in with 328.

On the bowling front, Ian Walling was the league’s highest wicket taker as he took 55 wickets during the season, 10 clear of his nearest rival. However, he fails to earn the league award with an inferior bowling average. He was well supported this season by teenage sensation Jake Smith, who, after only breaking into the first team this season, managed to claim 28 victims. A remarkable achievement for someone just 13 years of age.

Tyler Ibbotson also picked up 28 wickets, with Mark Hitchen claiming 19 in a good season for the young bowling line-up.

While not forgetting the fielding side, the man to benefit from the decent bowling performances was Mark Winstanley, who has won the 2011 league wicket keeping prize with 33 dismissals. Michael Walling pouched 14 catches himself, not forgetting his five as stand-in keeper against Thornton Cleveleys.

Elsewhere, Garstang’s second team finished in a respectable fifth position under captain Stephen Horn, and the third team avoided relegation with injuries playing havoc for captain Alisdair Egerton. Finally, the Sunday team, under Tyler Ibbotson managed to win the Sunday Division 1.

Overall, 2011 has been a very productive season for Garstang, who will look to go into the 2012 campaign even stronger.