Norden started the day as third-favourites in the three-horse race for the Lancashire League title and finished it in third place as Burnley ran out winners by 56 runs at Turf Moor to secure consecutive title wins. Having lost an important toss and having to field first, things were made even tougher for Hashum Malik’s men as they knew that not only did they need to win the game they also had to take all 10 Burnley wickets to give themselves a realistic chance of finishing at the top of the table come the end of the day. Things started well as Dom Humphreys bowled with pace and accuracy from the football ground end, deservedly picking up the wicket of Mathew Roberts, and Sami Waheed had Joe Marshall taken at square leg in hist first over to leave the hosts on 14 for 2. Had Malik been able to cling on to a tough slip catch to remove Chris Holt early on, Norden would have really fancied their chances of making things interesting, but from that moment Burnley batted smartly and skillfully to not only build an excellent first innings score on a low-scoring ground, but also to frustrate the visitors in their hunt for wickets. Holt did fall to Ash Zaidi as Norden’s professional returned for a second spell, but that brought wicket-keeper Chris Burton to the crease and he and home professional Ockert Erasmus made Norden toil in the field for the second time this season. Burton played well square of the wicket on both sides and Erasmus never looked troubled as the pair added 85. There was frustration at times amongst the Norden supporters at the absence of attacking fielders and there should probably have been occasions when Zaidi and Greg Butterworth bowled with more men around the bat, but credit should be given to Burnley and Erasmus in particular who know how to go about setting a target on their home ground. They closed on 206 for 5 with Erasmus unbeaten on 86 and as news of Darwen’s early maximum point victory over Colne came in, Norden knew that they were out of the title race and the second innings would be about whether Burnley could defend their total and take the spoils. It became clear that they would do just that from early on as Norden fell to 40 for 3 when Zaidi was taken at slip off Bharat Tripathi sparking huge celebrations from the home team. Josh Tolley made 35 and Harvey Fitton provided middle-order resistance with 46, but Burnley were not to be denied and it was Erasmus, fittingly, who took the final catch at long-on to secure the win. Congratulations to Burnley who are deserved champions, and congratulations too to a Norden side that have played some excellent cricket throughout the season and should feel extremely proud of taking their challenge to the final day.
1st XI Scorecard: https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/4549924
The 2nd XI finished their season in disappointing fashion on Saturday as Burnley won the match at Stag Park by 151 runs. Mo Waheed took 4 for 29 before adding 33 with the bat and Usama Malik picked up 3 for 46, but Burnley were far too strong on the day as their 228 all-out proved to be well beyond Norden’s reach. 2nd XI Scorecard: https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/4550399