Norden got their 2021 J.W. Lees Lancashire League campaign underway with an excellent away win against many people’s favourites for the title, Lowerhouse, on Sunday. After choosing to bat first, Norden openers Josh Tolley and Harvey Fitton put on 50 for the 1st wicket before Fitton was caught behind. The arrival of Stephen Pimm didn’t halt the progress, though, as he and Tolley combined for another half-century stand. When Pimm was trapped in front by home professional Stephen Parry it brought Norden’s new paid man, Ash Zaidi, to the crease and he proceeded to dominate the match from thereon in. Even though Tolley fell not long after bringing up his 50, a run-a-ball 68 from Zaidi and a useful cameo from Greg Butterworth meant Norden finished their allocated 50 overs on a very competitive looking 222 for 4.
After the break the Lowerhouse innings got off to a similar start and it needed the introduction of Zaidi to bring about the breakthrough, having Heap caught and bowled for 30. Wickets fell at pretty regular intervals after that with Butterworth picking up three and Waheed and Saeed one a piece. It was Zaidi who did the bulk of the damage, though, capping a fine individual performance with the outstanding figures of 5 for 29 from 13.3 overs of slow left arm spin. Norden went away with the maximum 12 points in the bag and the perfect start to the new season.
Norden 2nd XI also turned in a fine performance to take a 10 point victory from their home game against the same opposition. Chris Hartley marked his return to the club with 5 for 41 in helping limit the visitors to 182 for 9 off their 45 overs and skipper Phil Docker top-scored with the bat, making 49. It was the experienced heads of Greg Tattersall and Dean Lord who got their side over the line in the run chase, combining for an unbroken 6th wicket stand of 69.