Walling hits 91 but Garstang fall short

Photo: David Hurst'Fulwood and Broughton CC V Garstang CC 'Mark Hitchen bowls to Fulwood and Broughton's Graham Smith
Photo: David Hurst'Fulwood and Broughton CC V Garstang CC 'Mark Hitchen bowls to Fulwood and Broughton's Graham Smith
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Premier Division

Garstang 172

Fulwood and Broughton 175-3

(Match reduced to 40 overs per side)

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HEAVY overnight and morning rain threatened to produce the first washout of the 2011 cricket season but Fulwood’s Highfield ground took the water and resulted in only a 30-minute delay with a 40 over game.

With unsettled weather, Mark Smith asked Garstang to bat first.

Once again, Michael Walling raced out of the traps.

Emphatically he hit 12 boundaries in the first seven overs alone which left Garstang at 50-0 and enforced Fulwood into using four different bowlers.

A change in the batting line-up had seen Allan Cook open with Walling and incredibly he didn’t score before falling to a cracking one-handed catch in the covers from Arbab Munir off Matthew Smith, (1-27).

Michael Wellings failed to trouble the scorers either as he came and went as Garstang stumbled.

However, a partnership was formed when Craig Bevan assisted Walling as the pair cruised along. Bevan began to score fluently before sacrificing his wicket when Walling called him through for a single that probably never was. Bevan contributed 29 and left Garstang comfortable at 130-3 looking to post a good total.

Fulwood turned to spinners Chris Gunn and Matthew Rossiter to take the pace off the ball and try to stall the Garstang progress.

It was a tactic that worked, with Gunn picking up the big wicket of Walling who fell short of another deserved century. Gunn’s sharp caught and bowled saw Walling trudge off having made 91 from just 64 balls with 14 fours and two sixes.

From here, the innings collapsed. Only Miles Mollinga, (30) made it to double figures as Garstang crumbled to the spin. It left them with an under par 172 all out from just 34.1 overs, handing the home side an extra 5 overs to complete the task. Gunn, (29-4) and Rossiter, (33-3) bowled the home side into an excellent position.

After the break Garstang made a dream start with a third-ball breakthrough when Mark Smith’s leading edge was pouched by Wellings off Ian Walling, (1-45). The new ball was swinging and Mark Hitchen got his reward when Ben Fitch, (9) was snaffled at gully leaving the home side 23-2.

Graham Smith and Richard Turner began re-building the innings. They did so at ease, with too many four balls delivered from the bowlers. Despite a couple of rain breaks, Fulwood coasted towards the total. Hitchen, (2-36) was brought back and did manage to get through Turner’s resistance as he fell for a decent 57 from 86 balls.

Smith though, produced a gem of an innings for his side and kept his head to the end. Fittingly, he finished the match and in doing so recorded a brilliant unbeaten 100 not out from 116 balls with 13 fours and three sixes as Fulwood eased home.