A disappointing weekend saw Norden stumble in their climb up the Lancashire League table and bow out of the LCF Knockout at the quarter-final stage. The league action was on Saturday this week, and Norden welcomed Enfield to a very wet Stag Park. The game was delayed by just over 2 hours to allow conditions to dry out and the 32 overs-a-side contest started well for the visitors. Opener Lewis Wright and professional Pramod Maduwantha made light of testing batting conditions to put on 99 for the 2nd wicket and leave Enfield well positioned for a late onslaught at 125 for 2 with 7 overs left. It was hard to know what a par score was on a pitch offering assistance for all bowlers, but the 180 plus that looked on the cards would certainly have been well above. Norden fought back superbly with the ball, though, and managed to restrict Enfield to just 16 runs fromb those final 7 overs. Wickets fell regularly, with 5 of them going to Ashar Zaidi, and 140 for 7 was well short of what had been threatened. Wright made 66 and Maduwantha 57, but no other Enfield player managed double figures.
Unfortunately, the end of the first innings proved to be much more of a true reflection of how difficult it was to bat on this pitch than the start of it. Norden lost Josh Tolley early, edging to slip off Zaheer Abbas but Greg Butterworth and Alex Willis were able to dig in and add 60 to put Norden in an excellent position. Willis then gave his wicket away cheaply to the innocuous leg-spin of Yasir Ali and that triggered an almighty collapse. Butterworth drove loosely and was bowled, and Zaidi got a ball from Maduwantha that turned and bounced sharply to take his outside edge. Seemingly in the blink of an eye, 66 for 1 became 85 for 8, with Maduwantha now proving extremely difficult to play. Haris Hussain found the boundary on 3 occasions in a last-ditch attempt to get Norden close but he became another of Maduwantha’s 5 wickets as Norden were dismissed for 101 to take just 2 points from a match that they were expecting to win. With other results in the division going in their favour, Norden will see this as a real opportunity missed.
1st XI Scorecard: https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/5592501
1st XI Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jbs39qPBR8&feature=youtu.be
Sunday saw another long trip in the LCF Knockout, this time to Wigan. Norden were invited to bat first by the team from the Liverpool Competition and Tolley fell early for the 2nd time in the weekend. Opening partner Willis didn’t last much longer and Greg Butterworth and Zaidi were given the job of rebuilding. A stand of 103 meant that Norden were in a position to look beyond 200, but both set batters fell in quick succession and in similar vein to the leg-spin of Raheem Kasser. The Wigan spinners were then able to squeeze the Norden middle-order and boundaries became hard to come by. In fact, Norden only found the fence twice in the last 15 overs of their innings and they were only able to limp up to 182 for 9 from their 45 overs. With a sub-par score on the board, you have to make up for it in the field and Norden failed to do so. Home dangerman, John Richardson was dropped twice off the unfortunate Lukas Debnam before he had made 10 and he made Norden pay, alongside opener Charles Taylor. The pair were not troubled again in their partnership of 125, until a brief rain break seemed to add a little life to the pitch, and to Norden. Zaidi had Richardson caught behind and 3 more quick wickets fell to cause a few nerves in the home dressing room. Taylor held firm, though, and his unbeaten 84 took Wigan through to the semi-finals.
LCF Knockout Scorecard: https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/6012981
The 2nd team were unable to snap a run of defeats in the league as they went down to a good Enfield outfit on Saturday. A welcome return to form for Tom Booth saw him top-score with 38 in Norden’s innings, and there was a promising debut for Stan Kearns who made 19. Norden posted 149 for 9 from their reduced 38 overs but Enfield were too strong and got home comfortably with 9 overs left and only 3 wickets down.
2nd XI Scorecard: https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/5593297