It was a tough day on the road for Norden on Sunday with an in-form Darwen side running out winners by 115 runs in a clash between the two closest challengers to leader, Walsden. It meant consecutive league defeats for The Stags for the first time this season and a drop to 4th place in the table with 6 games remaining. Missing 3 players, including 2 front-line bowlers, Norden still opted to bowl first but struggled to find consistency with the ball from the outset. Usama Malik did provide an early breakthrough but only he and Ashar Zaidi were able to give captain Hashum Malik any control. 7 bowlers were used in an innings that contained 39 extras, including 30 wides, and that lack of discipline will be punished at this level. There were half-centuries for Mark Friend and deputy professional Siddhesh Lad, who timed his innings nicely to be in and well-set for the acceleration in the last 15 overs. 243 for 8 was the final total and it felt like that would represent a very tough task for the visiting batsmen. That task became almost impossible within the first 2 overs as openers Malik and Josh Tolley both fell to Kamran Anwar. The cause was not helped by 3 run-outs, including Greg Butterworth’s unfortunate dismissal when he was left out of his ground backing up when Zaidi’s powerful drive was tipped onto the stumps by the bowler. Dean Lord provided some resistance alongside Zaidi but Norden were never in the hunt and in truth were well beaten by a side who were much stronger in all departments on the day. Whilst there can be no disguising the fact that the last few weeks have been disappointing, this side has played some excellent cricket this season and deservedly put themselves into a position to challenge for trophies on all fronts. The final 6 games represent an opportunity to regroup and focus on at least maintaining a Lancashire Cup spot for next season.
1st XI Scorecard https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/4549890
The 2nd XI fared much better at Stag Park in the reverse fixture with debut skipper Tom Booth leading the way in a 56-run win. After being put in, Norden’s top 4 all got themselves in and then got out but Booth anchored the innings and remained unbeaten on 65 when the innings closed on 211 for 8. There was also a nice cameo from Nick Brierley who was playing is first match for 3 years. Unfortunately, the innings was marred somewhat by the injury sustained by Oliver Kirkby who was struck on the toe from his first ball in 2nd team cricket and was unable to continue his innings. He will have many more opportunities at this level. Darwen were looking good for a successful chase when Zac Whalley and Chris Lowe took them to 123 for 2 but the experience of Melbourne Austin and Mo Waheed turned the game around and the final 8 wickets fell for just 32 runs. Waheed in particular was excellent and finished with 3 for 23 from 8 overs. A special thank you must go to Simon Wystawnoha who rushed home to get his whites and fielded for the entirety of Darwen’s innings.
2nd XI Scorecard https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/4550364
2nd XI Highlights 2nd XI v Darwen Highlights
The 3rds were beaten by a strong Littleborough side at Hare Hill on Saturday. Mo Waheed struck 46 for Norden and Michael Thorpe played a nice late-innings knock to push the score up to 167 for 6 from the 40 permitted overs. Jacob Kaye’s century in reply made for a comfortable run-chase with Littleborough getting home with just under 10 overs to spare.
3rd XI Scorecard https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/4789487