Norden Finish on a High

Another season is in the books and Norden finished with a win away at Walsden which cemented a 4th place finish and a spot in next season’s Lancashire Knockout. Whilst there is no doubt that the Stags went into the season hoping for much more, this was at least some consolation and rewards for their efforts in a long season which also included a run to the Worsley Cup semi-finals and the t20 quarter-finals. Sunday saw an unusually low-scoring game at Scott Street on a difficult surface that offered plenty for the bowlers. In stark contrast to the run-fest between these two teams at Stag Park earlier in the season, Walsden were forced to battle hard for every run as they looked to post a target with very little idea of what would constitute a good score. Nick Barker and professional Jomel Warrican put on 58 in 25 overs for the 3rd wicket, with Ashar Zaidi bowling his 15 over spell for the cost of just 16 runs. There was turn and bounce for the spinners and once Zaidi bowled Warrican for a remarkably patient 17, Greg Butterworth stepped up and took 5 of the final 7 wickets to fall. Walsden were bowled out with just over an over left in their innings, with Barker making 61, and a target of 161 for Norden felt to some observers like it may be too many. Norden opener Josh Tolley soon made a mockery of that theory by somehow making the pitch look like an easy one to bat on as he tore into the Walsden attack. He put on 42 for the opening wicket with Hashum Malik and when Malik fell, Harvey Fitton joined in the fun as he too was able to score at a run-a-ball in a stand of 96. Both reached their half-centuries and in doing so Tolley passed 1,000 league runs for the season to finish as the leading run-scorer amongst all players, both professional and amateur. Even though there was a slight wobble as 3 wickets fell quickly, Zaidi and first-team debutant Joe Gordon were able to finish the job with just over half the overs remaining. This was a remarkable contrast from what we had seen in the first innings, and huge credit should go to Tolley and Fitton in particular for making a tricky chase so comfortable. On an individual note, as well as Tolley’s efforts, Ashar Zaidi finished as the league’s leading professional run-scorer and the leading wicket taker amongst all players. Greg Butterworth’s 57 wickets in all competitions are also worthy of a mention.
1st XI Scorecard:

The 2nds also finished with a win which meant a 5th place finish and also consigned Walsden to division 2 cricket next season. After being asked to bat first, Phil Docker and Kabir Ahmed were once again the mainstays of the home team’s batting effort. Another century partnership between the pair was the foundation for a total of 249 for 7 from their 45 overs. Docker made 80 and Ahmed 40 before good contributions from Oli Kirkby, Greg Tattersall and Mo Munawar, as well as 54 extras, got the total up to a very challenging one. Munawar also did his job with the ball, taking 3 wickets, and Mo Waheed chipped in with 4 for himself as Walsden struggled. Ash Colclough was not going down without a fight though, and he smashed 38 from 19 balls, including 3 consecutive sixes. Docker, short of bowling options, turned to young Oli Yates with the game starting to get tight, and the youngster came up trumps. Colclough was superbly stumped by Danny Devine looking to launch another shot out of the ground and two balls later Yates finished the match as he cleaned up opposition skipper James Stevens. There were some fine individual seasons in the 2nds, especially Kabir Ahmed who finished nearly 300 runs ahead of anybody else in the division 1 run-scoring charts. The two veteran seamers, Munawar and Waheed were also excellent and took 36 and 33 wickets respectively.

2nd XI Scorecard:
2nd XI Highlights:

The 3rds, with a game still to play at home to Todmorden next week, secured a 2nd place finish with a good win at Nelson on Saturday. Zishan Zahid took the remarkable figures of 5 for 8 as Nelson were bowled out for 71. He then scored 22 with the bat, as did Oli Kirkby, as Norden had no problems in knocking off the runs.
3rd XI Scorecard: