The Norden first team turned up at Scott St full of confidence after last weekends victory over Crompton and with a rare toss win, Captain Malik opted to bat on what looked like a very good batting deck. The decision proved to be a good one as Josh Tolley and his captain took it to the Walsden attack in the opening overs. The intent was signalled when Malik sent a Josh Gayle delivery into the river in just the 3rd over of the game. From that point on, there was no let up from the openers. Norden found themselves on 78-0 off the first 10 and further lusty blows from Malik saw the rate steadily increase. Both openers quickly earned half centuries as the runs were piled on and it looked like only a Josh Tolley nose bleed could stop them!
The Norden balcony erupted shortly after as they watched Captain Malik reach his first Lancashire League century off 72 balls with the score on 185. He would fall shortly after to Pro Karunaratne but the opening partnership of 191 in 23 overs had put Norden in a commanding position. Josh Tolley continued to bat superbly and soon after reached his century at quicker than a run a ball. After a brief stay from Butterworth, the last man Walsden wanted to see walking out was Norden’s Pro Ash Zaidi. He, and Tolley renewed what has been a successful partnership this year before Tolley fell for a superb 135 off 118 balls. At this point, Norden had amassed 309 runs and there were still 10 overs left in the innings. Pro Zaidi made a solid 55 along with brief cameos from Fitton (22*) and Crabtree (9*) ensuring Norden set a huge 374-4 off their 50 overs.
Walsden had to start well, but in truth, the game was all over when Joe Gale found Dominic Humphreys after skewing a Greg Butterworth delivery skywards. This left Waslden on 51-4 after some great early bowling saw Humhpreys remove openers Gale and Hooson and Zaidi had taken the wicket of Hanson.
A solid partnership between the Pro Karunaratne and Nick Barker saw the Walsden score trickle upwards but when the magnificent Fitton had the former caught and bowled, Walsden went into survival mode. With the league table being so tight, the extra 2 points Norden would receive for bowling Walsden out would be crucial and all attempts were made to stop this. Butterworth bowled Barker for 72 and Harvey Fitton set about removing the tail. It was the last partnership between Wheelwright and Shackleton which looked to frustrate Norden with overs running out and light fading, but up stepped the impressive Humphreys to knock over Shackeltons off stump in the penultimate over. Walsden all out for 202 and a 172 run victory for the visitors, but more crucially a full 12 points ensures Nordens title hopes remain strong going into the last few weeks of the season.
The 2nd XI suffered a heavy defeat at home in the reverse fixture, losing by 10 wickets thanks to another superb opening partnership on the day, this time between Aaran Lord and Leon Bailey. Norden batted first and struggled against the new ball pairing of Martin Harlow and James Stevens. After slipping to 89 for 7 it looked like a difficult task to even get to three figures but the experience of Mo Waheed and Greg Tattersall combined to put on 60 for the 8th wicket. The pair were both run-out, Waheed just 2 short of a half-century, but they had at least helped to give the home side something to bowl at when they closed on 170 for 9. It soon became clear, though, that this score was not going to be anywhere near enough as Bailey, and Lord in particular, set about taking the attack to the Norden bowlers. Skipper Tom Booth tried all his options but nobody escaped punishment and Walsden cruised home without losing a wicket and with over half their overs remaining. Lord brought up a fantastic century as he struck the winning runs and Bailey remained unbeaten on 57.
2nd XI Scorecard https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/4550387
2nd XI Highlights 2nd XI vs Walsden Highlights
There was a rare two-game weekend for the 3rd XI and mixed fortunes as they recorded a victory against Rishton’s 4th XI on Saturday but went down to Bacup’s 3rds on Monday. On Saturday, there was the rare occurrence of 7 different bowlers taking wickets for Norden as they bowled Rishton out for 130. Adam Khawaja was particularly impressive in taking 2 for 15. Norden were in trouble at 2 for 2 but first Stan Kearns, who was unfortunately run-out when looking good, and then Mo Munawar and Ahsan Tariq played well to get the home side up to near their target before some late wickets provided a bit of drama. Tariq, with help from Jonty Whitehead who defended solidly under pressure on his debut, eventually finished the job with Tariq making 52*. On Monday Norden posted 150 with Matt Findlow making 45 and Saad Malik 29 before Bacup opener Dominic Boardman made light work of the target with an unbeaten 91. Khawaja picked up 2 more scalps but Bacup ran out winners by 6 wickets.
3rd XI Saturday Scorecard https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/4789480
3rd XI Saturday Highlights 3rd XI vs Rishton Highlights
3rd XI Monday Scorecard https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/4789471