An excellent all-round performance from Norden skipper, Greg Butterworth was not enough to prevent Walsden claiming the win and keeping themselves in with a chance of staying in division 1 on Sunday. Butterworth’s 54 was his highest score of the season and helped save Norden from again being dismissed for under 100. Lee Crabtree and Lukas Debnam were the only other Norden batters to make double figures as Joe Gale did the bulk of the damage for Walsden, taking 5 for 49. The fact that Norden managed to get up to 144 before being bowled out, was largely down to an 8th wicket partnership of 83 between Butterworth and Debnam. Unfortunately, when Butterworth was trapped in front by home professional, Sachin Jayewardena, the Norden tail could not hang around and Jake Hooson took the final two wickets quickly, leaving Debnam stranded and 11 overs unfaced.
The Stags have made defending low totals a bit of a specialty in recent weeks, and for most of Walsden’s reply it looked like they would do it again. Ashar Zaidi took the first 3 wickets with just 22 on the board and then Jack Taylor and Butterworth both joined the party on a pitch that was favouring spin. The experienced Walsden pair of Matt Dawson and Stevie Barker came together at 69 for 6 and moved the score on to 106 before Butterworth had Dawson LBW for 18. When Alfie Senior also fell to Butterworth and father Paul was caught by Taylor off Zaidi, Walsden still needed a further 22. Jamie Shackleton was the last man in and there were 5 overs to go. Crucially, though, only 2 of these could be bowled by Butterworth and Zaidi. Barker knew what he had to do; get through the overs of spin and attack against the returning Scott Butterworth. He did this to great effect and the 47th over bowled by Scott went for 9 runs and there were only 2 balls needed of the 49th as Barker went six, four to give Wasden the narrowest of wins.
Norden will close their season at Stag Park on Sunday, as leaders Darwen make the trip looking to secure back-to-back titles with a maximum-points victory. The Stags will be looking to spoil the party.
1st XI Scorecard: https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/5592557
The 2nd team game followed a very similar pattern. This time it was Usama Malik who put in the fine all-round showing and did not deserve to finish on the losing side. Norden batted first and did well to get up to 162 after being 99 for 7. Sami Waheed made an aggressive 39 and Malik and skipper Phil Docker added 55 for the 8th wicket before Docker fell to an outstanding diving catch from Andrew Hakin. Hakin had an excellent day in the field, taking 3 catches to go with his 2 wickets. Malik finished unbeaten on 25. The Colne reply was all-action to say the least. After 9 overs the score was 55 for 5 with Malik taking 3 wickets and Mo Munawar 2. Jake Greenbank then came in and smashed 40 from just 25 balls and when he was caught by Oli Yates to give Malik his fourth, skipper Martin Kegg and Matthew Clark took the game away from Norden with more aggressive batting. The margin of victory for Colne was just 3 wickets, remarkably with 20 overs still to go.
2nd XI Scorecard: https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/5593355
2nd XI Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxGJ1A2WAAA&feature=youtu.be
The real highlight for Norden at the back end of the season has been the improving form of the young 3rd XI. Another win on Saturday was secured with 8 junior players and the way in which they are adapting to senior cricket and putting in crucial individual performances has been great to see. The stars this week were Jake Hill with the ball, taking his second consecutive 4 wicket haul, and Harry Mason who made 30 under real pressure in the run-chase. Rishton’s 4th XI is a team of experienced over 35’s and they posted 143 thanks to an unbeaten 74 from former 1st teamer Stuart Roberts. Hill was well supported by brother Callum, Will Hindley and Oli Yates who all took wickets. Yates then made 34 opening the batting before Norden collapsed to 69 for 5. Mason joined Callum Hill and they put on 27 before skipper Jimmy Drury came in to replace Hill and he and Mason continued the good work. When Mason was run-out looking for an overly ambitious 2nd run, he left the field to a well-deserved warm applause. Theo Andrew joined Drury and two quicker runners between the wickets you will struggle to find. The pair ran their more senior opponents ragged and Norden reached their target with 9 balls to spare. Drury finished unbeaten on 30.
3rd XI Scorecard: https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/5616244
3rd XI Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO1uedm6Q6g