When, at 4 o’clock on Saturday afternoon, the captains and umpires were shaking hands on a very damp pitch at Stag Park it looked like the points lost to the weather might have signalled the end of Norden’s Lancashire League title challenge. However, as the twists and turns of this season continued, by Sunday evening they were very much back in it after an impressive run-chase at home to Crompton and defeats for fellow title hopefuls Walsden and Clitheroe. Saturday’s re-arranged fixture against bottom side Colne looked like a great opportunity for maximum points but the heavy rain from the week and the on-and-off drizzle throughout the day meant that not a ball was bowled amid great frustration from the home side. Whilst most of the players had probably played in worse conditions, there were areas of the square that were of real concern to the umpires and their decision to call the game off was a fair one.
In truth the ground was still pretty wet when it came to Sunday afternoon but a prompt start was possible and Crompton won the toss and chose to bat first. Greg Butterworth, taking the new ball in a change of tactics, took 2 early wickets but Crompton’s powerful middle-order came to the party and Denis Louis, Mohammed Jamal and sub-pro Amar Ullah all scored half-centuries at good rates to propel the visitors up to and beyond the 200 mark. When those three were going strong, 250 plus looked like a strong possibility but no other Crompton batsman made double-figures and Ashar Zaidi removed Louis and Jamal in the 50s, meaning Ullah was left to fight a lone battle. He was unbeaten on 83 when Carl Taylor became the last man out in the final over and Crompton had 244 on the board with Zaidi finishing with 5 for 65 for the hosts, taking his tally in the league this season to 50. Hashum Malik was trapped in front early by the impressive Adam Good and the pitch looked like it was suddenly starting to misbehave. Josh Tolley had a couple of deliveries to him rise sharply off a length and Butterworth was cleaned up by one that perhaps kept a touch low. Zaidi joined Tolley and he survived a couple of early scares when he edged Taylor low to slip and miscued to mid-on. Fortunately for Norden both chances were missed and the two form players in the home ranks went on to combine for a partnership of 189 before Tolley chipped one up to cover on 81 to give Good his 3rd wicket. What should have now been a comfortable finish became a little tense when Spencer Allen, Lee Crabtree and Stephen Pimm all came and went in quick time but Dom Humphreys provided the cool head alongside Zaidi to see Norden over the line. Zaidi finished on 98* and Good thoroughly deserved his 5 wickets for Crompton. Norden lie in 4th place in the table with 3 games to go but are only 8 points behind leaders Darwen and have games against 2 of the 3 sides above them still to come. Next Sunday’s trip to Walsden promises to be a fantastic match with so much at stake for both sides.
1st XI Scorecard https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/4549909
1st XI Table https://www.play-cricket.com/website/division/87634
1st XI Highlights 1st XI vs Crompton Highlights
The 2nds had an even more frustrating day at Colne on Saturday when their match fell 11 overs short of the minimum requirement for a result. Having posted 198 for 4 from their 34 overs, only 9 overs of Colne’s reply were possible. Melbourne Austin made 57*, his first half-century for Norden. On Sunday, in a game this time reduced to 35 overs per-side, Norden batted first but lost regular wickets on their way to 144 for 8. Mo Waheed top-sored with 39 and stand-in skipper Jack Harrison added a quickfire 35*. Crompton’s innings was anchored by Mark Woodward’s 69* but it was John Punchard’s 32 from 19 balls that was the difference and they got home with 6 wickets and 2 and a half overs to spare.
2nd XI Saturday Scorecard https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/4550368
2nd XI Sunday Scorecard https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/4550381