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Garstang Cricket Club to start Northern Premier League title defence

Garstang Cricket Club celebrating their league championship win last season

Defending champions Garstang Cricket Club start their sixth consecutive season in the Northern Premier Cricket League (NPCL) this Saturday.

The 1st XI take on Netherfield at The Riverside at 12.30pm.

Last year Garstang were crowned league champions.

Garstang found themselves in the NPCL at the start of the 2018 season after promotion as champions of the 2017 Palace Shield Competition’s Premier Division.

Garstang are currently the only North Lancashire team left in the division since both Lancaster and Morecambe’s relegation over the last two seasons.

In their first full season in the NPCL in 2018, Garstang’s 1sts finished in a respectable sixth place.

In the 2019 season they were unlucky not to take the crown, finishing in second place in the division and only 13 points behind eventual champions Leyland.

Due to COVID the 2020 NPCL season didn’t happen and it wasn’t until 2021 that the cricket got going again but their form slipped slightly as they finished in fifth place.

Last season the club started well and carried it on all through the season to take the title, finishing 27 points ahead of Blackpool who were favourites to win the division.

Professional player Punit Bisht was a key part of the title winning, side finishing the season with some quality statistics including scoring 1248 runs at an average of 56.73, including 3x100 and 7x50 in 28 innings, also taking 22 wickets.

He also played for Garstang in 2019 scoring 1228 runs at an average of 51.17 including 5x100 and 5x50 in 28 innings.

Punit has now left Garstang moving to Darwen Cricket Club in the Lancashire League for the 2023 season and will be a hard act to follow.

In the kind of coincidence only sport can serve up, Bisht will line up for Darwen to face Garstang in the first round of the 2023 Lancashire Knockout Cup competition on Sunday May 21 at Birch Hall.

However the club did not hang about after Bisht’s exit and have made a new professional signing in Indian professional Snehal Kauthankar for the 2023 season.

Snehal is a 27 year old top order batter who plays for Goa in India.

He has already amassed over 4000 first class runs in just 47 First Class games with seven hundreds, plus a further three List A hundreds.

He brings a wealth of experience, having played representative cricket through all the age groups, and now captains Goa.

Speaking on the club’s social media earlier this year, 1sts captain Daniel Gilbert said: "It is great to sign a quality player in Snehal as our new professional to start our title defence in 2023.

“After an extensive process, Snehal was identified as a clear favourite with his obvious batting capabilities, being captain of Goa, and his eagerness to get involved in the wider aspects of the club."

Garstang have seen a few players leave and arrive since last season at all different levels of the club.

Players arriving are Snehal Kauthankar, Hugo Croft (Longridge), Ashton Charles (St Annes), Neel Sonwalker (Leyland), Aditya Mathur and Aadit Arora (Fulwood & Broughton) and Gregour Carr (Withnell Fold).

Jared Maunder, the Australian overseas amateur from last season has also signed on for 2023 and will be a great addition to the 2nds.

Players leaving are Punit Bisht (Darwen), Rizwan Patel (Fleetwood) & Naqib Rahman (Preston).

Garstang 1sts have already had one victory this year in a 40 overs pre season away friendly win at Lytham on Sunday April 9.

The home friendly against Lowerhouse last Saturday (April 15) was postponed due to the wet outfield at The Riverside.

As well as league games, T20 and the usual cup competitions, the team have this year entered the ECB Royal London Club Championship for the national tournament, which sees them travel to New Brighton, who finished 10th in the Liverpool Competition last year, on Sunday April 30.

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