Champions Garstang make the break from Palace Shield

Garstang voted unanimously to join the Northern League after a Monday night meeting
Garstang voted unanimously to join the Northern League after a Monday night meeting

Garstang CC captain Mark Walling is looking forward to the challenge ahead after they decided to join the Northern League for 2018.

Having won this season’s Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division, Garstang – along with runners-up Fulwood and Broughton – were given the choice of switching competitions for next year.

It’s a option both clubs have taken up as they will swap places with Kendal and Lancaster for next season.

Garstang took the decision to move following a unanimous vote at a meeting on Monday night.

“All the players wanted to do it and the committee backed what they thought,” Walling said.

“We have done quite well over the past couple of years in the Palace Shield so we wanted to go and test ourselves in a different competition and it’s going to be a bit of a challenge for us.

“There aren’t going to be any easy games and we’re going to have to be on top of our game through the whole season.

“We have played a lot of the Northern League teams before in the Lancashire Cup as well as pre-season friendlies and competed quite well so, hopefully, that can be the case again.”

Moving into a different league brings other matters into consideration, not least whether to bring in a professional.

South African Coen Oosthuysen, who was the club’s overseas amateur in 2017, may make a return next season.

Walling said: “We don’t have to have a pro and, with our finances, I don’t think we’d be able to afford what some clubs pay.

“We may try to get Coen back for next year but he’s undecided because he might have to go to university.

“Maybe we could make one or two additions but we have a good core of players who are good enough to compete well.”