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: https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/5000213
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: https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/5000415
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: https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/5000066