Vernon Carus 204-5
Vernon Carus won by 19 runs
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Reigning champions Vernon Carus took another giant step towards back to back titles with a win against an in-form Garstang side that slipped back to fourth place despite a close run chase.
Ian Dunn won the toss and asked to bat first on the same track as last week Garstang knew they’d have to bowl well. Michael Walling sprung the first surprise of the day though opting to open the bowling against Dunn, where perhaps spin being his weakness early doors.
Two balls in, Walling thought his plan has worked to perfection as Dunn played around a straight one only to survive the loud appeal. From here, Ian Walling and Jim Procter took over the workload in an encouraging opening spell without reward.
During this time, wicket keeper Mark Winstanley left the field with a back injury with substitute Rhys Wakefield enjoying a spell of fielding in the first team.
Dunn and Wes Royle patiently built the innings with a platform of substance. They reached 74-0 at the halfway stage before upping the pace. Both passed 50 and looked to kick on as Walling chopped and changed his bowlers.
But still, at 38 overs, Garstang had not made a breakthrough as the openers made hay on a summer’s day. Ian Walling returned and finally got the first wicket with Royle looking to hit him out of the ground, Curtis Morris took a solid catch at long off as Royle departed having made a fluent 71.
This left the visitors 162-1 with big hitters to come. Walling ousted captain Dunn, (86) with a fine bouncer, and a very good catch from fellow opening bowler Procter at fine leg as Dunn went just 14 runs short of a deserved century.
Christian Ash failed to trouble the scorers as Procter picked up the third wicket and he also accounted for Craig Cameron, (9) as the runs slowed up. Andrew Norris took a good catch in the deep to remove Paul Richardson, (9) to ensure Garstang took 5 wickers to gain one bowling point.
This left Vernons with 204-5 from their 45 overs, Ian Walling, (3-49) and Procter, (2-42) collecting the wickets to fall.
In reply, Michael Walling hit three boundaries in the very first over but this was all he was going to score as Paul Richardson sent the fielders into jubilation as he bowled the Garstang skipper off his pad, then elbow, and onto the stumps.
Curtis Morris soon joined Walling back in the changing rooms as Richardson picked up his second, leaving Garstang 25-2. Allan Cook and a promoted Ian Walling led the fight back with some clinical shots and the duo progressed the innings to 71-2 before the latter hit a short ball straight to midwicket and departed having made 17.
Alex Rawlinson was next in, taking his time to weigh up the opponents. But, he soon did just so and picked up where he left off last week with some eye catching shots. Meanwhile, Allan Cook was doing a great job at the other end as he quietly built up a healthy score.
But having made 41, Cook picked out cow corner and off he trudged with Garstang now 105-4. Tyler Ibbotson was next and he and Rawlinson built a nice partnership with Rawlinson hitting the boundaries and Ibbotson working the ball for ones and twos.
Garstang were creeping closer and although over a run a ball required the two men in were looking good. Rawlinson reached a second successive half century as Garstang were within 60 with 8 overs left.
One big shot though from Ibbotson saw him depart having made 11 and at this time, Winstanley walked gingerly to the wicket with Ian Walling allowed to run for him.
Knight though, got rid of danger man Rawlinson who departed having made another classy 59. Walling was then run out, so off Winstanley, (4) went too and so it was left to Dan Curwen and Norris to attempt victory.
Plenty of ones and twos were taken but when going to clear the rope, Curwen, (13) was caught. Norris, (6 not out) and Stephen Horn, (9 not out) saw Garstang to the close and despite being 19 runs short, gave a great effort and still picked up three maximum batting points.
Knight, (4-53) did the main damage in a 15 over spell but Richardson, (2-22) was equally effective up top. Joe Allen, (1-45) picked up the other wicket to fall as Vernons marched on.
n This Sunday, August 11, Garstang play in the Lancashire Cup Quarter Final against Northern at the Riverside, Garstang.
Stumps pitched at 1pm and the match sees a match up between Garstang duo Michael and Ian Walling against their younger brother, Mark, who now plays for Northern in the Liverpool League.
After last rounds shock result against Bootle, Garstang will hope to keep the giant killing run going.