Norden kept their faint title hopes alive with a comfortable home win against local rivals Rochdale on Sunday. At times this season, Hashum Malik’s team have been over-reliant on a few key players but this win demonstrated that there is much more depth to this side. After being asked to bat first by stand-in Rochdale skipper Steve Oddy, Norden were soon 2 down after a rare failure from Josh Tolley and a poor shot from Malik soon after. That brought the recently returned Harvey Fitton and professional Ashar Zaidi together and the two left-handers combined well until Zaidi top-edged a paddle-sweep off Ali Muzaffar for 30. Fitton was timing the ball well though and alongside Greg Butterworth, began to up the rate. The 2 put on 80 in 17 overs and Fitton reached a well-made half-century before running himself out looking for a second run that was never on. Butterworth continued to play positively, hitting the sweepers and finding the occasional boundary and he got excellent support from Lee Crabtree who made 30 from 25 balls including 3 fours and a six. Butterworth was the sixth man to fall for 68 and Norden were able to get up past the 250 mark, closing on 253 for 8 from their 50 overs.
Rochdale too lost an early wicket when Zimmy Khan was trapped in front by Butterworth, who took the new ball alongside brother Scott. The big wicket, though, was that of James Maurice-Scott who has been the scourge of Norden in recent times and who was looking in good touch again before he skewed a drive from Sami Waheed’s first ball and Dean Lord leapt one-handed at point to grab an excellent catch and break what was looking an ominous partnership for Norden. Waheed bowled with much greater control than we have seen from him recently and he picked up a deserved second wicket when he deceived Muzaffar with a slower ball. Of course Zaidi also got in on the act by dismissing his counterpart, Sean Whitehead, and Dean Lord followed Waheed at the Woodhouse Lane end to good effect. Lord has bowled well this season, often much better than his figures have shown, and he was rewarded on this occasion with 3 wickets including that of Jack Duffy who was taken superbly down the legside by a diving Crabtree. Zaidi finished with 3 for 29 as he wrapped things up for a comprehensive 86 run victory which sets Norden up nicely for their trip to Darwen next Saturday where they will face the league leaders who have won 10 matches on the bounce. A win for the Stags might just make things interesting for the run-in.
1st XI Scorecard:https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/5000216
1st XI Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoSzoJMrrFI
The 2nds also had a good win by a virtually identical margin. Norden’s 220 all-out included a fist Norden half-century for Saurabh Ahuja and good contributions from David Bebb and Jack Taylor. Ahuja’s 67 was made at better than a run-a-ball contained 9 boundaries. Rochdale never looked like getting close and Taylor was also to the fore with the ball, taking 4 for 30. He was well backed up by the ever-reliable Mo Waheed who took another 3 wickets, taking his season’s tally to 29.
2nd XI Scorecard: https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/5000447
The 3rds suffered defeat at home on Saturday to a strong Accrington side containing many 2nd team players. Accrington chose to bat first and their total of 170 for 8 from their 40 overs was mainly down to wicket-keeper Waleed Majeed who scored an unbeaten century. There were 2 wickets each for Saad Malik and Oli Yates for Norden. Yates then played a good hand with the bat and, despite wickets falling around him, batted for 36 overs to score his first senior 50, finishing uneaten on 61. Norden, though, fell 33 runs short of their target.
3rd XI Scorecard: https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/5000062