Garstang CC skipper gets set for cricket's return this weekend

Garstang CC captain Mark Walling is another player looking forward to the return of organised league cricket this weekend.

Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 12:30 pm

Garstang begin the Northern Premier Cricket League season with a trip to Leyland on Saturday, pitching the 2019 champions against the runners-up.

It will be the two clubs’ first NPCL match since then, the pandemic having meant a curtailed 2020 season with a competition for teams from the Northern League and Moore and Smalley Palace Shield.

Walling said: “Leyland are a good side and, over the last five or six years, they have either won it or been there or thereabouts.

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

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“I know they have lost a couple of players but they are going to be a strong side.

“It’s going to be an exciting game first up, so there’s a lot to play for and we’re going to be up for it.”

Like every club, Garstang go into the first game with only two-and-a-half weeks’ training behind them.

That, along with clubs having issues over the availability of professionals, means there could be some eye-catching results in the early stages.

“We’ve had a couple of friendlies to try and get up to speed as quickly as possible,” Walling said.

“I think everyone is going to be in the same boat going into Saturday when it will just be a case of getting out there and playing.

“The first few weeks, people won’t have had much preparation and I think it will be a bit of a step into the unknown.

“It will be interesting to see how teams do, especially this Saturday, because I think there could be some really close games.

“We will back ourselves and that’s all I can ask for as captain, for players to try and put themselves in the frame to win games of cricket.”

It might not have been the ideal build-up to the 2021 season but, as Walling admitted, training has been promising with players just glad to be out and about on the next step out of lockdown.

“It’s been going well,” he said.

“We’ve had good numbers down to training and a few new faces.

“It’s been a bit cold but it’s just been good to get outdoors and play sport again after being stuck inside for so long.”

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