Darwen Too Strong for Stags

Norden’s Lancashire League title challenge took a hit on Sunday with a heavy defeat to fellow title hopefuls, Darwen. The seemingly never-ending rain meant conditions were damp, but play started on time and the home side won what felt like an important toss and predictably asked Norden to bat first. Lee Crabtree could not continue his good form from last week, and he was the first wicket to fall, trapped LBW by Reece Davies without scoring. Mitchell Owen was not going to let conditions alter his ultra-aggressive style and he had 19 of the 21 runs on the board when he fell the same way as Crabtree. Jack Taylor and Josh Tolley dug in to try and establish a foothold in the game, but another member of the Davies family, Jack, was introduced into the attack to good effect and he dismissed both Norden batters before the total had reached 50. In conditions like these, one of the last bowlers in the Lancashire League you want to be up against is Dave Bowden, and he got in on the act by clean bowling Greg Butterworth and then having Nick Brierley adjudged LBW the very next ball. Norden were now reeling on 48 for 6, but there was some lower-order resistance. Alex Willis rarely gives his wicket away easily and, alongside first Oli Holt and then Scott Butterworth, he helped get Norden up over 100. A last wicket stand of 22 between Oli Kirkby and Dean Lord ended when Kirkby became Jack Davies’ fourth victim and Darwen were to be chasing 128 to win.

Norden could not have got off to a better start with the ball as Scott Butterworth knocked over home captain, Scott Friend, with the first ball of the reply. Unfortunately for Norden, no other bowler could find the same consistency. Darwen professional, Punit Bisht, was in no mood to hang around and wait for a ball with his name on it and with only 6 overs gone both Owen and Greg Butterworth had been hit out of the attack. The partnership between Bisht and Reece Davies continued to blossom and Bisht got to his half-century in 58 balls. Taylor, introduced into the attack late for Norden, was able to break the partnership by bowling Davies for 41, but it was much too late and a very comfortable win for the home side was wrapped up with just 2 wickets down and 24 overs remaining. Norden remain in 3rd in the table, with Darwen leap-frogging Burnley to go top of the pile.
1st XI Scorecard: https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/6107839

Norden’s poor run of form in the t20 competition continued on Friday with a 3rd straight defeat, this time at the hands of Crompton. Dennis Louis and Mohammed Jamal got Crompton off to a flying start and they raced to 79 from 6 overs before Jamal was caught in the deep off Sami Waheed. Norden were able to capitalise and picked up 6 wickets quickly, but Hassan Fazal and Mohammed Hamzah hit 5 sixes between them to boost the Crompton innings at the end. They finished on 174 for 8 from their 20 overs, with Waheed picking up 3 for 33 for Norden. The Stags were never able to get up with the rate in their reply, and despite only losing 5 wickets, they fell 27 runs short of their target to remain bottom of the group.
T20 Scorecard: https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/6099232

Unfortunately, Friday saw the only cricket to be played at Stag Park over the weekend, with both 2nd team games called off without a ball bowled. The Junior Cup quarter-final against Littleborough will now be played on Saturday the 22nd of June, with the 3rd team fixture on that day being played away at Greenmount.