Garstang CC skipper believes Northern League season will be too close to call

Three weeks into the new season and Garstang CC skipper Mark Walling admits he’s just happy to be playing cricket again this year.

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 8:00 am

Garstang are back on Northern Premier Cricket League duty for the first time since finishing as runners-up to Leyland in 2019.

Last year’s season was shortened as a result of the pandemic, meaning the Northern League sides joined forces with their Palace Shield counterparts for a one-off cup tournament.

It’s back to the status quo now, though preparations for that have hardly been ideal.

Garstang CC skipper Mark Walling Picture: Tim Gilbert/Preston Photographic Society

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Teams were only able to start training two-and-a-half weeks before the season started, while clubs with overseas professionals had visa applications and international travel restrictions to deal with.

“We’re just trying to get up to speed as quickly as possible,” Walling acknowledged.

“It looks like all the teams are going to be beating each other, so I think it’s going to be quite close and I can’t see much between everyone this year.

“It’s going to be an interesting season, everyone has had a rushed pre-season.

“The nice weather we had in April has helped the batsmen out because the wickets have been really good – which you can see in some of the early scores.”

Garstang could have also asked for an easier start to the season.

Defending champions Leyland were their opponents on the opening day, followed by Blackpool, Longridge and Saturday’s hosts, Fulwood and Broughton.

“We knew we had a tough start to the season,” Walling said.

“However, we have to play everyone twice so we have to get stuck in and play as well as we can.”

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