Stags Keep Treble Hopes Alive

Norden went into a tough 3 game weekend with 4 trophies still to play for and finished it with the possibility of a Lancashire League treble still intact. The league title push had taken a hit last week but Norden bounced back in fine style with a maximum point home victory over Lowerhouse, who themselves had hopes of forcing themselves up into the group of contenders. Hashum Malik opted to bowl first in a match reduced to 36 overs a side but the Lowerhouse opening pair got off to a fine start and added 50 within the first 9 overs. As so often, it was Ash Zaidi who provided the breakthrough and once he had the home side were able to calm the run-rate by picking up wickets at regular intervals. Sami Waheed had visiting professional Stephen Parry caught behind and Dom Humphreys, although wicketless with the ball, provided the spark in the field with 2 run-outs and an outstanding catch at long-on to dismiss the dangerous Francois Haasbroek. A total that had looked like being in the region of 200 early on ended up at 158 all-out with 2 crucial overs left unfaced and Norden appeared to be favourites at half-way. Malik and Josh Tolley started in similar vein to their counterparts so when Malik skied to long-on off Parry it allowed Greg Butterworth to join Tolley and play risk-free cricket. Their partnership broke the back of the run chase and totalled 85 when Butterworth was bowled on the sweep for 39. Some tight bowling from the visitors meant that when Tolley was dismissed for a fine 67 looking to hit a decisive boundary, there were still 10 runs needed from 11 balls. Lee Crabtree looked to have decided things with a straight 6 but apparently the Lowerhouse fielder at long-on could not tell if his spiked cricket boots were in contact with concrete or grass as he palmed the ball back into play from beyond the rope and after an initial signal of 6 the umpires decided that they didn’t have a clear enough view and such awarded just a single. Norden were not to be denied though, and 2 boundaries from Zaidi finished the job. The match saw Norden professional, Ashar Zaidi, pass the milestones of 1000 runs and 50 wickets for the season in all competitions; a superb effort with nearly half the season still to come.

Saturday Scorecard

Saturday Highlights 1st XI v Lowerhouse Highlights

Friday night saw a trip to Scott Street to face Walsden in the t20 quarter-finals. Excellent bowling from Butterworth, Humphreys and Zaidi in particular restricted the home side to 163 for 6, with Joe Gale and Umesh Karunaratne both making half-centuries. Hashum Malik showed yet again why he is still such a destructive player, particularly in this format, with a rapid 36 from just 12 balls and this set the platform for a masterclass from Zaidi. His unbeaten 81 from 56 balls was made without breaking sweat and the Stags will head to Crompton for finals day on the 25th of July.

Friday Scorecard

Unfortunately, Norden’s hold on the LCFKO trophy came to an end on Sunday afternoon. A tough draw away to Ormskirk saw Norden once again bowling first and the hosts looked on course to post a sizeable first innings score when well set on 97 for 1 with 20 overs gone. The Stags battled hard, though, and dragged themselves back into the game. 16-year-old Jack Taylor was particularly impressive with figures of 3 for 34 from 8 overs and Ormskirk had to settle for 202 for 9 from their 45. With rain on the way, a DLS calculation looked inevitable at some stage but a disastrous flurry of early wickets meant that Norden were never going to be on the right side of it and when the heavens opened after 8.3 overs of the reply it was Ormskirk who deservedly took their place in the semi-finals.

Sunday Scorecard

The 2nds, again missing a number of players, had their game at Lowerhouse reduced to 25 overs-a-side. The home side looked to be falling short at 100 for 8 but an unbeaten 9th wicket partnership of 65 meant that the chase looked to be a tough one. Alfie Radcliffe bowled a superb spell on his debut, taking 4 for 26 for the Stags who fell 27 runs shy of their target despite a half-century from skipper Phil Docker and 40 from Spencer Allen

2nd XI Scorecard