Stags Dig Deep for Two Big Wins

Norden notched up 2 hard-fought victories over the weekend to rise to 2nd in the Lancashire League and progress to the 2nd round of the LCF Knockout trophy. There were times in both games, though, when it looked as if Hashum Malik’s men would be on the wrong end of the results.

Saturday’s league fixture against local rivals Rochdale looked slightly easier on paper once it was confirmed that the hosts had been unable to find a deputy professional for the fixture. The events of the Rochdale innings did nothing to alter that view as they could muster only 130 all out on a good Redbrook surface. James Maurice-Scott and Declan Wilkinson had taken Rochdale to a solid position at 94 for 1 but a wonderful spell of slow left arm bowling from Norden professional Ashar Zaidi quickly turned the tide and the Rochdale batters had no answer. Zaidi finished with 7 for 33, his best-ever figures in the Lancashire League,  and it left Norden feeling confident of victory at the interval. Whilst Rochdale may not have had a professional to call upon, they did have the experience and class of Steven Oddy and he had both Norden openers back in the shed in quick time. Greg Butterworth and Zaidi were left with the repair job and they did it well until Zaidi had a rush of blood to the head and holed out to long-off off Ali Muzaffer. Nick Brierley as run-out backing up at the non-striker’s end and the game was in the balance at 60 for 4. Butterworth became Oddy’s 3rd victim and Norden’s lower-middle order could offer no resistance as the veteran seamer looked like he might match Zaidi’s 7 wicket haul from earlier. When Scott Butterworth was the 9th man out with 34 still required, all seemed lost but the final wicket air of Sami Waheed and Usama Malik played positively and soon the runs required looked within reach. Malik scooped and paddled and Waheed played straight and confidently in a high-pressure situation. With 4 needed, Malik walked across his stumps and got enough bat on it to send the ball to the fine-leg boundary and the job was done. Oddy’s spell of 6 for 40 should have won the game for his side and despite taking the maximum 12 points, Norden know that they were fortunate to come away with the win.

1st XI vs Rochdale Scorecard:

Sunday saw the start of the 2022 LCF Knockout trophy with Norden hosting Heysham CC of the Westmorland League. For the 2nd successive day, Norden were in trouble with the bat as Josh Tolley stood and watched the other members of the top 6 fall in quick succession. The Stags were wobbling at 57 for 5 when Tolley finally found an able partner in Alex Willis. Willis’ start in Norden colours had been difficult up to this point but here he played with intent and intelligence in rotating the strike and defending solidly when required. Tolley himself had been dropped on 0 and he was in no mood to offer any more chances. The pair combined for a partnership of 114 which took Norden most of the way to their final total of 187. Tolley finally fell for 83 and Willis fell agonisingly one short of what would have been a richly deserved half-century when he seemed unfortunate to be given out L.B.W.

 In reply, Heysham got off to a flyer and raced to 50 without loss. As so often with this Norden side, though, things changed with the introduction of spin and Zaidi was soon back in the wickets. The run-rate required started to increase slowly and after a tight spell from Sami Waheed, Dean Lord reminded everyone of what a talented bowler he is and he picked up 3 wickets, including 2 in 2 balls. Greg Butterworth joined the party and finished with 4 for 24 as Heysham subsided to 123 all out. Tougher tests will soon follow in this competition.

1st XI vs Heysham Scorecard:

Highlights: 1st XI v Heysham LCF Knockout Round 1 Highlights

The 2nds got back on track with a good home performance against Rochdale. Kabir Ahmed made a superb 85 against his former side as Norden racked up 199 for 8 from their 45 overs. Zishan Zahid then took 2 early wickets and it was left to Harry Butterworth to fight a lone hand for Rochdale. He made 63 but when he was trapped in front by the excellent Oli Holt it was effectively game over. Kafeel Ali took 3 for 33 to add to his late cameo of 21 with the bat.

2nd XI Scorecard:

The 3rds rounded off a perfect weekend with a win of their own. Oli Kirkby again impressed, this time with the ball as he took 4 for 8 in Lowerhouse’s 136 all out. Saad Malik was the star of the show with the bat, finishing with an unbeaten 56 as Norden chased down the runs for the loss of just 3 wickets.

3rd XI Scorecard:

Stags Hit Their Stride

When Todmorden were well set on 104 for 2 at just over the half-way mark in their innings at Stag Park on Sunday it was looking like it could be a tough afternoon for Norden. What followed, though, was 50 overs of superb cricket with ball and then bat that produced a second successive maximum point victory.

Andrew Sutcliffe and then Noah Priestley and professional Will Bosisto had set the platform for Tod but Norden’s ever-consistent spin pairing of Ashar Zaidi and Greg Butterworth were able to peg things back with Zaidi claiming the wickets of Sutcliffe and Priestley and then Butterworth picking up the key scalp when Bosisto couldn’t quite clear the other Butterworth at long-on. It was a shot out of keeping with the rest of the Tod paid man’s innings, as he had looked in complete control without taking any chances up until that point. Perhaps the reason for the extra aggression became clear soon after when the Todmorden lower-order collapsed without much of a fight. There were 4 wickets each for the spinners and also a first wicket of the season for Dean Lord in a good spell late-on.

The target of 145 was a modest one and a quick cameo from Hashum Malik had it within reach in short time. His 31 came from just 20 balls and Josh Tolley was looking in fine touch at the other end. Tolleyt had made 38 when he chipped a return catch to Bosisto but that brought Zaidi to the crease and he was in no mood to drag things out. His was an ultra-aggressive knock including four sixes in one over from Bosisto, and was very different from most we have seen since he has been at Norden. He carried the Stags over the line with over half of their overs to spare and ended with 56* from 40 balls. It was fitting that he and Butterworth were together when the match was won as Butterworth hit a straight six of his own to bring an end to proceedings.

Two busy weeks of league and cup action are coming up and Norden will feel confident going into those games.

1st XI Scorecard:

1st XI Highlights: 1st XI vs Todmorden Highlights 15/5/22

The 2nds fell to a frustrating loss at Enfield. There were 5 wickets for Oli Holt as the hosts posted 190 for 9 from their 45 overs. Tom Booth’s men looked to be cruising home at 106 for 1 but despite half centuries from Spencer Allen and Kabir Ahmed, the middle order failed to fire and Enfield were able to up the pressure and take the win by 17 runs.
2nd XI Scorecard :

It was back to winning ways for Jimmy Drury’s 3rd XI as they registered a comfortable 7 wicket win at home to Rawtenstall on Saturday. The wickets were shared around as Rawtenstall were bowled out for just 98 batting first. Saad Malik finished with the impressive figures of 3 for 1 and Matthew Findlow impressed on his first appearance of the season. Malik also chipped in with 15* with the bat but it was Oli Kirkby who was the star of that particular show as he batted through the innings to finish on 47* as the Stags took all 12 points.
3rd XI Scorecard :

Norden Get Back to Winning Ways

After consecutive defeats, Norden got their season back on track on Saturday with a comfortable 7 wicket win at 1st division newcomers Greenmount. Some probing new ball bowling from Scott Butterworth and Usama Malik kept things tight early on after skipper Hashum Malik had chosen to bowl first and it was Malik who got the breakthrough when Jack Harrison chipped to Greg Butterworth at mid-off. Home professional Chesney Hughes was uncharacteristically subdued early on and, after being dropped on 1, he struggled his way to 14 from 47 balls before falling to an inside edge from an excellent delivery from Sami Waheed and an even better catch from Lee Crabtree. Waheed’s spell of 2 for 14 from 7 overs was excellent and there was no let-up from the visiting attack. Andrew Kerr was the leading light in the Greenmount batting performance but he didn’t manage to find any real support and wickets continued to fall regularly. There were 3 for Greg Butterworth, 2 for Ashar Zaidi and Scott Butterworth came back and picked up 1 for himself, the least he deserved for 2 good spells. Kerr was the 9th man out for a classy 81 but 163 all-out felt well below par on a such a small ground.

Norden got off to a much better start in reply than they had managed in the previous 2 weeks and it was only an injury to captain Malik’s ankle that broke the opening partnership between he and Josh Tolley. That moment was about as concerning as it got for the Stags as Tolley and firstly Greg Butterworth and then Zaidi, raced toward the target and a beautiful straight 6 from Tolley finished the job with just over half of the 50 over allocation gone. Tolley ended on 69* and the 12 points were in the bag.

1st XI Scorecard:

The 2nds also notched up a maximum point victory, defeating Colne by 3 wickets at Stag Park. Zishan Zahid picked up his first wickets for the club as Colne’s innings never really got going. Kafeel Ali took 3 for 18, Mo Munawar 3 for 38 and Oli Holt 2 for 18 to bowl the visitors out for 133. The chase was far from straightforward though as a collapse meant 40 without loss quickly became 56 for 5. An aggressive 25 from Mohammed Omar swung the momentum back to Norden and after he was dismissed, the experience of Holt got Norden close and Ali gave him the support he needed to finish the job. Holt finished 32* to finish a good all-round day for him. 2nd XI Scorecard:

Batting Frailties Prove Costly Again For Norden

As the final two Norden batters trudged from the Stag Park field on Sunday afternoon, alongside a buoyant Lowerhouse team, it was clear what had been the difference between the two sides. Lowerhouse had shown great depth in their batting in recovering from 58 for 5 to score 200 for 6 after opting to bat first. By stark contrast, Norden collapsed for the second week running and fell from a comfortable looking 82 for 2 to 150 all out despite a valiant 71 from professional Ashar Zaidi.

Three weeks into the season and no player batting 6 or lower for Norden has managed to make double figures, and the over-reliance on Josh Tolley and Zaidi in particular must be addressed soon if they are to be as competitive in all competitions as they were last year. The absence of Nick Brierley in the last two games has not helped but there is far too much talent in the Norden ranks for the level of return we are seeing at the moment.

The home team should really have won this game having got themselves into a great position to do so twice. Huge credit must go to the Lowerhouse middle order of Frankie Haasbroek, Henri Cottam and Dean Barlow who combined in recovering what looked like a pretty desperate situation as the Butterworth brothers and Zaidi, with both ball and a run-out, had sent half the side back to the pavilion in short time. Haasbroek and Cottam showed patience and resilience in their partnership of 57 before Barlow came in and added real impetus to the innings with a better than a run-a-ball half century. Captain Hashum Malik shuffled his bowling pack, including the returning Oliver Makin, but somehow left two overs from the excellent Greg Butterworth unbowled and the momentum was definitely with the visitors at the tea interval.

This carried on into the chase as Tolley and Malik fell early. Zaidi and Greg Butterworth steadied the ship with a partnership of 68, though and Norden were in the driving seat before the batting frailty reared its head again. Substitute professional Ruhan Pretorius was the pick of the attack, finishing with 5 for 54. Although a couple of nice shots apiece from numbers 10 and 11, Dean Lord and Sami Waheed, at least got Norden a solitary bonus point it was scant consolation after such a good start to the game. 

1st XI Scorecard:

1st XI Highlights: 1st XI vs Lowerhouse 1/5/22 Highlights

The 2nds also suffered defeat to a strong Lowerhouse team. Stand-in skipper David Bebb top-scored with 72 as Norden posted 189 for 8 from their 45 overs. After being 99 without loss this felt like a few runs short of where they should have finished up. As it happened, though, any extra runs would probably not have made much of a difference as the home side chased their target down in just 27 overs. Jonathan Finch hit an impressive 92* from just 84 balls.

2nd XI Scorecard:

The 3rd XI were involved in another nail-biter at home to Nelson on Saturday. Unfortunately, after last week’s win at Greenmount, they came out on the wrong side of this one despite Will Hindley’s heroics with the ball. He took 5 for 19 as Jimmy Drury’s team made an admirable attempt to defend a well under-par 99 all out. At 47 for 7, Nelson looked to have it all to do but an unbroken stand of 53 between Junaid Rashid and Zeeshan Ashraf saw the over the line. Hindley’s control and prodigious in-swing was great to watch for someone so young and Oliver Yates again impressed with his 26 in Norden’s innings.

3rd XI Scorecard:

Stags Start With the Perfect Weekend

Norden kicked off the 2022 season with wins for all 3 senior teams over a weekend that saw some familiar faces, and a couple of new ones, come to the fore.

The 1st XI faced Middleton at Stag Park and opted to bowl first but a familiar problem from last season soon returned as Keelan Shipley was allowed to get the visitors off to a flying start. Scott Butterworth struggled to find his length on his Norden debut but Usama Malik had more control and he picked up the wicket of Leighton Le Carpentier with a ball that nipped away off the seam. At 50 for 1 from just 9 overs, it looked like a good platform was being set and when Shipley chipped tamely to mid-on off Malik it brought visiting professional James Price to the crease and the key part of the game was on. Ashar Zaidi came into the attack and Price, along with former Stag Rehan Udwadia, pushed the score along to 90 before Price looked to turn Zaidi into the leg-side and was trapped LBW for 22. It felt like a crucial moment and although Middleton battled hard to get up to their eventual total of 174 all out, their chances of posting a really challenging total disappeared at the fall of Price’s wicket. Josh Tolley, filling in as the 2nd spinner in the absence of Greg Butterworth, picked up 4 of the remaining wickets and Zaidi claimed 4 of his own.

The same 2 players were also to the fore in Norden’s chase. Hashum Malik went early, bowled looking to hit Tom Rutter into the village, and that brought the welcome sight of Nick Brierley walking to the crease on his return to the side after a prolonged period of injury and illness. There were several glimpses of Brierley’s class in his 26 before he was yorked by Udwadia, and after that it was all too easy for the home side. Tolley and Zaidi were never troubled by a bowling attack that failed to offer control or a consistent threat and the margin of victory of 8 wickets with 20 overs to spare underlined the gulf in quality between the 2 sides on the day. Tolley finished with 79* and Zaidi 54*. Bigger challenges will come soon enough.

1st XI Scorecard:

The real excitement of the weekend came at Glebe Street where the 2nds won a low-scoring nail-biter against Crompton. Kafeel Ali took 4 for 24 on his first appearance in Norden colours as the home side were bowled out for just 115 and at 70 for 3 a routine win looked on the cards. Veteran John Punchard had other ideas, though, and he took 3 wickets, including that of Kabir Ahmed, another debutant, for a well-made 38. When Ross Collin and Ali fell in quick succession, Norden somehow found themselves 9 down with 21 still required. Fortunately, it was the 2 experienced heads of Phil Docker and Mo Munawar who were left and they got within sight of the win before Docker appeared to have holed out to long-on. Luckily the catch went down and Crompton were left to rue the missed opportunity.

2nd XI Scorecard:

It was the 3rd XI who kicked off the competitive season on Saturday with a home game against Ramsbottom. Two youthful sides produced a good game of cricket with the standout performance being a superb unbeaten century from Mohammed Omar as Norden posted 200 for 4 on a good early-season surface. Omar made 101* from just 86 balls and was well supported by Oliver Yates in a partnership of 81 that injected some impetus into Norden’s innings. Michael Thorpe added some lusty late blows and a solid bowling performance meant that Ramsbottom never threatened to get close. Yates, along with fellow teenagers Oliver Kirkby, Adam Khawaja, Muhammed Muddasser and Jo Golden, all made good contributions with the ball.  

3rd XI Scorecard:


On behalf of the Committee, players and social members it is with great sadness that we report the passing of Les Barlow (affectionally known as “Scoop”) a long standing stalwart of Norden Cricket Club. Les originally became a supporter in his capacity as cricket reporter for the Rochdale Observer and went on to serve as Statistician, committee member and more latterly as Secretary before stepping down due to ill health.

His contribution to the success of the club both on and off the field cannot be overstated and he will be sadly missed by his friends and colleagues at the club and in the wider cricketing community. Our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to his family and loved ones at this very sad time.

Fireworks Display

Fireworks, Fair and loads of Family Fun. It’s all systems go at Norden Cricket Club on the 6th November.
Norden Cricket Club is pleased to announce we will be celebrating Bonfire night on the 6th November with an amazing Fireworks display as well as all the usual fairground rides, food and drinks available.
Due to circumstances beyond our control we are not able to have a Bonfire but don’t worry this won’t spoil what promises to be a brilliant family night out. We will have amazing virtual bonfire on the big screen! Safer, greener and way more spectacular! Come on down! 🔥.
Tickets are available now on-line or from Friday the 15th of October behind the bar.

Norden Fall Short as Burnley Crowned Champions

Norden started the day as third-favourites in the three-horse race for the Lancashire League title and finished it in third place as Burnley ran out winners by 56 runs at Turf Moor to secure consecutive title wins. Having lost an important toss and having to field first, things were made even tougher for Hashum Malik’s men as they knew that not only did they need to win the game they also had to take all 10 Burnley wickets to give themselves a realistic chance of finishing at the top of the table come the end of the day. Things started well as Dom Humphreys bowled with pace and accuracy from the football ground end, deservedly picking up the wicket of Mathew Roberts, and Sami Waheed had Joe Marshall taken at square leg in hist first over to leave the hosts on 14 for 2. Had Malik been able to cling on to a tough slip catch to remove Chris Holt early on, Norden would have really fancied their chances of making things interesting, but from that moment Burnley batted smartly and skillfully to not only build an excellent first innings score on a low-scoring ground, but also to frustrate the visitors in their hunt for wickets. Holt did fall to Ash Zaidi as Norden’s professional returned for a second spell, but that brought wicket-keeper Chris Burton to the crease and he and home professional Ockert Erasmus made Norden toil in the field for the second time this season. Burton played well square of the wicket on both sides and Erasmus never looked troubled as the pair added 85. There was frustration at times amongst the Norden supporters at the absence of attacking fielders and there should probably have been occasions when Zaidi and Greg Butterworth bowled with more men around the bat, but credit should be given to Burnley and Erasmus in particular who know how to go about setting a target on their home ground. They closed on 206 for 5 with Erasmus unbeaten on 86 and as news of Darwen’s early maximum point victory over Colne came in, Norden knew that they were out of the title race and the second innings would be about whether Burnley could defend their total and take the spoils. It became clear that they would do just that from early on as Norden fell to 40 for 3 when Zaidi was taken at slip off Bharat Tripathi sparking huge celebrations from the home team. Josh Tolley made 35 and Harvey Fitton provided middle-order resistance with 46, but Burnley were not to be denied and it was Erasmus, fittingly, who took the final catch at long-on to secure the win. Congratulations to Burnley who are deserved champions, and congratulations too to a Norden side that have played some excellent cricket throughout the season and should feel extremely proud of taking their challenge to the final day.

1st XI Scorecard:

The 2nd XI finished their season in disappointing fashion on Saturday as Burnley won the match at Stag Park by 151 runs. Mo Waheed took 4 for 29 before adding 33 with the bat and Usama Malik picked up 3 for 46, but Burnley were far too strong on the day as their 228 all-out proved to be well beyond Norden’s reach.   2nd XI Scorecard:

Zaidi Back For 2022

Norden are delighted to announce that professional Ashar Zaidi has re-signed with the club for the 2022 season. The former Pakistan A all-rounder has had a superb season with both bat and ball and at time of writing has scored 1591 runs and taken 68 wickets in all competitions. In the league, Ashar’s batting record this season has been remarkable; he has been dismissed only 9 times in 19 innings and averages 112 whilst being the only player in the top division to have passed the 1000 run mark.

From left to right; Stuart Hunt (Club Chairman) Ashar Zaidi (Club professional) and Rob Greenwood (Cricket Chairman)

His 51 league wickets have come at 13 runs apiece and his economy rate of less than 3 runs per over with a home ground as small as Stag Park is outstanding. Ashar will continue his coaching role with the senior squad over the winter and the cricket committee have no doubts that his re-signing will help the club continue to compete for silverware again in the 2022 season.    

Stags Set Up Final Day Excitement

Norden did what they had to do on Sunday at Stag Park which was to beat Todmorden and bowl their opponents out in the process to secure the maximum 12 points. The win sends the Lancashire League title race into a final day shootout between 3 clubs: Norden, Burnley and Darwen. More about the permutations for that day later, but firstly credit must be given for a hard-earned victory on Sunday where Norden were forced to dig deep on a couple of occasions before running out comfortable victors in the end. Todmorden won what looked to be a good toss and elected to bat on a flat, dry looking surface. Dom Humphreys provided the 2 early breakthroughs, firstly by bowling Bilal Abbas and secondly by running out the dangerous looking Noah Priestley in his follow-through. Ben Sutcliffe and professional Mani Murasingh then came together and started to make batting conditions look very friendly indeed. They put on 86 in 18 overs as all 4 Norden bowlers struggled to maintain any real control and a big total looked on the cards. It was Sami Waheed who stuck at his task and broke the partnership when Sutcliffe mis-timed to Greg Butterworth at mid-on for 40 and things happened very quickly thereafter. Waheed picked up his second with a fine yorker and Butterworth joined the party with 4 wickets, including the impressive Murasingh, who holed out for 70. Humphreys finished the job with 2 more for himself and Todmorden had collapsed from 123 for 2 to 154 all out. In contrast to last week, both Norden openers were back in the hutch early on as Josh Tolley was trapped in front playing back to a ball that kept a touch low and Hashum Malik was cleaned up by Matthew Collins. Very rarely do all of Norden’s top-order fail to fire, though and on this occasion it was Butterworth and Ash Zaidi who put their hands up with a stand of 117 that only contained one real scare when Zaidi looked fortunate to survive a run-out appeal when on 37. Butterworth fell for 40 looking to reach his half-century quickly but Zaidi was again in imperious form and ended on 84* as Norden needed only 30.5 overs to reach their target. Zaidi’s knock took him past 1000 league runs for the season, the only Division 1 player to reach that milestone so far. So to the final day; Norden travel to Burnley and must win the match. If they do so and take more points than Darwen manage against Colne they will be champions. If they score the same number of points as Darwen in victory then those 2 teams will play a play-off match for the title on the weekend of 18th/19th September. If Burnley beat Norden they will finish top no matter what Darwen do. It promises to be a fittingly exciting end to an enthralling season and everyone at the club can only wish Hashum and the boys the very best of luck.

The club will be putting on a free of charge coach for all supporters who wish to go to Burnley on Sunday. The coach will leave Stag Park at 11:30 and will depart 15 minutes after the conclusion of the game. Please message us on our socials, ring the club on 01706 645639 or put your name(s) on the sign up sheet in the foyer to reserve your place.

1st XI Scorecard:

1st XI Highlights: 1st XI vs Todmorden Highlights

The 2nd XI came off second-best in a tight encounter away at Todmorden. Mo Waheed took 4 for 25 and Martin Smith 3 for 38 but Todmorden still managed to get themselves up to 179 all out, thanks in the main to an unbeaten 44 from number 10 by Sam Dunkerley. Norden failed to find a meaningful partnership in reply and fell 18 runs short of victory despite 33 from Zeshan Anwar and 32 from Ahsan Tariq.

2nd XI Scorecard:

An exceptionally young 3rd XI put on a brave and enthusiastic display at Greenmount on Sunday. Missing all of the senior players usually available to them, the oldest member of the team was just 16 but that didn’t stop Adam Khawaja’s ‘men’ making a promising start with the ball as Alfie Radcliffe and Oliver Yates both impressed. Some much more experienced heads in the home side helped them up past 200 but the fielding and spirit throughout the 40 overs was great to watch. Whilst the target was never realistically within reach, Oliver Kirkby and Callum Hill in particular showed touches of real quality with the bat and, as the Greenmount skipper kindly commented, this young team will be a tough proposition for anybody in a few years’ time.

3rd XI Scorecard: