Norden sit at the top of the Lancashire League table after a comprehensive victory over previous leaders Darwen at Stag Park. It was undoubtedly the Stags’ best performance of the season so far, beating a very good side by 7 wickets with just 56 overs of cricket needed.
It didn’t take long for the home bowlers to make inroads after Hashum Malik had elected to bowl first on a dampish pitch. Mark Friend, a centurion for Darwen in the cup the previous day, fell first ball as he edged Ashar Zaidi to Josh Tolley at slip. The Norden professional, taking the new ball in the absence of Usama Malik, looked nigh-on unplayable and he also removed his counterpart, Siddhesh Lad without scoring. Either side of those wickets, Scott Butterworth also got in on the act. Playing with a badly injured thumb, Butterworth was a threat from the start and cleaned up John Painter and had John Cordingley trapped plumb in front. When Reece Davies chipped to Tolley at cover and then Dave Bowden fell to a hack at Zaidi, Darwen were floundering on 27 for 6 and an extremely early finish looked on the cards. Some determination from Sam Painter and Chris Lowe briefly threatened to take the total up to something respectable but Greg Butterworth came into the attack and picked up the last 3 wickets and Darwen were all out for just 86. Zaidi ended with 4 for 15, Scott 3 for 43 and Greg 3 for 9.
The home team were never likely to be challenged by such a small target and so it proved. A few lusty blows from the skipper and Norden were at 47 before they lost their first wicket. Despite another couple falling, Zaidi and Nick Brierley finished the job. With more big games against teams at the top end of the table coming up, Norden will be buoyed by this win and full of confidence heading into those fixtures.
1st XI Sunday Scorecard:https://lancashireleague.play-cricket.com/website/results/5000210
It was Worsley Cup 2nd round action at Stag Park on Saturday. After receiving a bye in round 1, Norden welcomed old rivals Littleborough who are going very well at the top of Division 2. Norden opted to bowl and Usama Malik picked up the key early wicket of Boro professional Travis Townsend, caught superbly by Zaidi in the gully. The father and son Perren pairing of Zac and Clint were moving the score along steadily and without looking in any trouble when Zac was unfortunate to be caught down the leg-side from Sami Waheed’s first delivery. Ryan Miskella was run-out by Dean Lord but Matty Hernon was able to give the elder Perren some support. At 93 for 3, Littleborough looked like they might have a platform to push on to a score approaching 200 but Norden’s two slow left armers bowled their combined allocations of 20 overs for just 40 runs, adding 3 wickets in the process and the acceleration never really came on a slow pitch. Perren was 9th man out for a cautious 60 and Littleborough were all out from the last ball of the innings for 159. Despite the difficult nature of the pitch, scores of this size are rarely enough on a small ground like Stag Park and it felt like 40/50 short at the break. Things soon had a very different look to them, though, as Lewis Willman and Miskella had the Norden top 3 back in the dressing room with just 18 on the board. It was game on but Norden had Zaidi at the crease and he found the partner he required in Nick Brierley. Brierley hasn’t been at his best since his return from long-term injury but this was much more like his old self, solid in defense and quick to punish anything over-pitched. Their partnership of 98 looked to have set up the game but both were dismissed in pretty quick succession and when Alex Willis followed shortly afterwards, Boro felt they had a sniff once again. Hamza Ali was bowling an impressive spell of slow left arm from the scorebox end and it required cool heads from Lee Crabtree and Sami Waheed to finish the job. A quarter-final awaits for Norden, and it looks highly likely that this local fixture will be back on the calendar in the league next season.
Worsley Cup Scorecard:https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/5438434
Friday night saw the start of the 2022 t20 competition and Norden got off to a winning start away to Ramsbottom. Dean Lord was the star of the show with the ball, taking 3 for 10 in his 4 overs as Ramsbottom struggled to 103 all out. A half-century from Zaidi was the main contribution in the run-chase and, despite a few late wickets, the Stags got home comfortably and took the 2 points.
T20 Scorecard and Highlights: https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/4999626
The 2nds had mixed fortunes over the weekend; unfortunately going out of the Junior Cup at Burnley on Saturday, but bouncing back with a good win at Bacup on Sunday to keep the pressure on the leaders at the top of the league table. Dropped catches cost Phil Docker’s men in the cup game, allowing Burnley to score at least 50 more than they should have as they racked up 279 for 5 in their 50 overs. A special mention should be given to young Jamie Taylor, whose figures of 1 for 28 from 10 overs were outstanding in the context of that score. Norden were well in it at 100 for 2 with Kabir Ahmed and Tom Booth going well but they both fell to spinner Ben Sutcliffe and with them went Norden’s hopes of an unlikely chase.
Junior Cup Scorecard: https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/5438441
Sunday was a different story with a hundred from Kabir Ahmed and a 5 wicket haul from Mo Munawar leading the way to a 130 run victory at Bacup.