Ash Shows His Class

A superb weekend for Norden professional, Ashar Zaidi, kept the Stags on top of the Lancashire League table and put them into the semi-finals of the Worsley Cup for the first time. On Saturday he made his first century of the season to set up a total of 254 for 5 after winning the toss at Todmorden. After losing the top 3 cheaply, Zaidi found more than able support in the form of Lee Crabtree and the pair combined for a partnership of 127 with Crabtree making 55 before falling to Andrew Sutcliffe. His dismissal did not halt Zaidi’s progress though as the paid man struck 17 fours and 3 sixes in his knock of 138 not out from 140 deliveries. Todmorden were never really in the hunt and lost wickets regularly in reply. Zaidi picked up 4 for himself to cap a magnificent performance and there was one each for Humphreys, Waheed, Malik and Butterworth. The only downside for the visitors was that Todmorden’s last pair put on an unbeaten 42 to deny Norden the 2 bowling bonus points.

Saturday Scorecard

On Sunday Hashum Malik’s men made the short trip to Redbrook to face local rivals Rochdale in the quarter-final of the Worsley Cup. Rochdale elected to bat first but lost James Maurice-Scott, who had struck a century at Stag Park earlier in the season, early to Dom Humphreys. Andrew Dawson was joined by home professional Sean Whitehead and they put on 80 for the 2nd wicket, but at a pace that suggested Rochdale were looking to post a score of around 200 rather than set their sights higher. Dawson went on to a half-century before becoming one of Zaidi’s 3 wickets and Norden managed to halt any acceleration with tight bowling from all 5 bowlers used and some excellent fielding, including a direct hit from the boundary by Butterworth to run out Jack Duffy. Rochdale closed on 198 for 7, certainly enough to be competitive on a large ground, but no more than that. As it turned out, it was nowhere near enough as, despite Aaron Brown picking up Harvey Fitton and Butterworth in quick succession, Josh Tolley continued his fine recent form and Zaidi joined him to put on a century stand and have the Stags well ahead of the rate at all times. Crabtree and Zaidi saw Norden over the line with more than 10 overs to spare for a comprehensive 7 wicket win. Zaidi finished unbeaten on 88 to take his weekend tally to 226 runs without being dismissed. Norden will host Clitheroe in the semi-finals with the winners to stage the final.

Sunday Scorecard

The 2nds had a narrow victory against Todmorden on Saturday. It was a struggle for the Stags batting first as the two Todmorden spinners, Stuart Priestley and Hamza Ali, combined for 5 for 59 from their 24 permitted overs. James O’Neill and Phil Docker were in recovery mode when they came together at 86 for 6 and they were able to see off the remaining overs of spin to allow Chris Hartley to come in against the returning seamers and hit a quickfire 27* to get Norden up to 160 for 7 from their 45. Hartley then removed both visiting openers in between a 13 ball over and pulling his hamstring, and Mo Munawar picked up 4 wickets to leave Tod languishing on 70 for 7. Some aggressive hitting from Kai Abbas made things interesting but Dean Lord found the bowling rhythm he has been searching for this season to take 2 wickets, including that of Abbas, and Melbourne Austin finished the job to give Norden the maximum 12 points and keep them in the hunt near the top of the Division 1 table.

2nds Scorecard

2nds Highlights 2nd XI vs Todmorden Highlights