Garstang ditch Lancashire League switch plan

Allan Cook
Allan Cook

Garstang Cricket Club are set to remain in the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield, club chairman Allan Cook has announced.

The Riversiders made headline news last year when they became the only club from their respective league to express an interest in joining an expanded and revamped Lancashire League from 2017 onwards.

Alongside 10 clubs from the Northern League and seven from the Ribblesdale League, Garstang applied to be part of the planned Lancashire League revolution, which would see two divisions created with promotion and relegation implemented.

Whether these proposals come to fruition or not is unclear as the expansion plan received the thumbs-down from the county’s governing body – Lancashire Cricket Board – in December.

Despite that, the Lancashire League’s member clubs have since voted to press ahead with the changes regardless.

But those changes will not include Garstang, who have now decided to remain part of the Palace Shield – for the foreseeable future at least.

“We did apply to join the Lancashire League,” Cook said.

“However, we have withdrawn our application.

“We decided to withdraw our application because when we found out a few more details, we decided it was not for us.

“There were a number of reasons why, but the biggest one is that the Lancashire League play the majority of their cricket on Sundays.

“That was not something our players wanted.

“There were other side issues, like the amount of travelling involved and so we decided that it was not for us at this moment.”

Garstang did not quite go as far as being interviewed by the Lancashire League, but they did hold informal discussions at their Riverside ground.

“We did not have a formal interview, but the president and the chairman of the Lancashire League came and had a look around our ground,” Cook said.

“We had a chat over a brew and I think they were impressed with our facilities.

“I think the Lancashire League got a bit delayed with their interviews and so we never got round to being interviewed.

“In the meantime, we had a club meeting about it and decided to withdraw.”

With the Lancashire League and the LCB at loggerheads over the proposals, Cook is unsure as to how the local cricketing landscape will look beyond 2017 .

“That is the worst thing about it,” Cook said. “Nobody really knows how it is going to work. The Lancashire League are going ahead with what they think is right, but the LCB is not going to support that.

“Nobody quite knows what is going to happen.”