Stags Set Up Final Day Excitement

Norden did what they had to do on Sunday at Stag Park which was to beat Todmorden and bowl their opponents out in the process to secure the maximum 12 points. The win sends the Lancashire League title race into a final day shootout between 3 clubs: Norden, Burnley and Darwen. More about the permutations for that day later, but firstly credit must be given for a hard-earned victory on Sunday where Norden were forced to dig deep on a couple of occasions before running out comfortable victors in the end. Todmorden won what looked to be a good toss and elected to bat on a flat, dry looking surface. Dom Humphreys provided the 2 early breakthroughs, firstly by bowling Bilal Abbas and secondly by running out the dangerous looking Noah Priestley in his follow-through. Ben Sutcliffe and professional Mani Murasingh then came together and started to make batting conditions look very friendly indeed. They put on 86 in 18 overs as all 4 Norden bowlers struggled to maintain any real control and a big total looked on the cards. It was Sami Waheed who stuck at his task and broke the partnership when Sutcliffe mis-timed to Greg Butterworth at mid-on for 40 and things happened very quickly thereafter. Waheed picked up his second with a fine yorker and Butterworth joined the party with 4 wickets, including the impressive Murasingh, who holed out for 70. Humphreys finished the job with 2 more for himself and Todmorden had collapsed from 123 for 2 to 154 all out. In contrast to last week, both Norden openers were back in the hutch early on as Josh Tolley was trapped in front playing back to a ball that kept a touch low and Hashum Malik was cleaned up by Matthew Collins. Very rarely do all of Norden’s top-order fail to fire, though and on this occasion it was Butterworth and Ash Zaidi who put their hands up with a stand of 117 that only contained one real scare when Zaidi looked fortunate to survive a run-out appeal when on 37. Butterworth fell for 40 looking to reach his half-century quickly but Zaidi was again in imperious form and ended on 84* as Norden needed only 30.5 overs to reach their target. Zaidi’s knock took him past 1000 league runs for the season, the only Division 1 player to reach that milestone so far. So to the final day; Norden travel to Burnley and must win the match. If they do so and take more points than Darwen manage against Colne they will be champions. If they score the same number of points as Darwen in victory then those 2 teams will play a play-off match for the title on the weekend of 18th/19th September. If Burnley beat Norden they will finish top no matter what Darwen do. It promises to be a fittingly exciting end to an enthralling season and everyone at the club can only wish Hashum and the boys the very best of luck.

The club will be putting on a free of charge coach for all supporters who wish to go to Burnley on Sunday. The coach will leave Stag Park at 11:30 and will depart 15 minutes after the conclusion of the game. Please message us on our socials, ring the club on 01706 645639 or put your name(s) on the sign up sheet in the foyer to reserve your place.

1st XI Scorecard:

1st XI Highlights: 1st XI vs Todmorden Highlights

The 2nd XI came off second-best in a tight encounter away at Todmorden. Mo Waheed took 4 for 25 and Martin Smith 3 for 38 but Todmorden still managed to get themselves up to 179 all out, thanks in the main to an unbeaten 44 from number 10 by Sam Dunkerley. Norden failed to find a meaningful partnership in reply and fell 18 runs short of victory despite 33 from Zeshan Anwar and 32 from Ahsan Tariq.

2nd XI Scorecard:

An exceptionally young 3rd XI put on a brave and enthusiastic display at Greenmount on Sunday. Missing all of the senior players usually available to them, the oldest member of the team was just 16 but that didn’t stop Adam Khawaja’s ‘men’ making a promising start with the ball as Alfie Radcliffe and Oliver Yates both impressed. Some much more experienced heads in the home side helped them up past 200 but the fielding and spirit throughout the 40 overs was great to watch. Whilst the target was never realistically within reach, Oliver Kirkby and Callum Hill in particular showed touches of real quality with the bat and, as the Greenmount skipper kindly commented, this young team will be a tough proposition for anybody in a few years’ time.

3rd XI Scorecard:

Stags back to second

The Norden first team turned up at Scott St full of confidence after last weekends victory over Crompton and with a rare toss win, Captain Malik opted to bat on what looked like a very good batting deck.  The decision proved to be a good one as Josh Tolley and his captain took it to the Walsden attack in the opening overs.  The intent was signalled when Malik sent a Josh Gayle delivery into the river in just the 3rd over of the game.  From that point on, there was no let up from the openers.  Norden found themselves on 78-0 off the first 10 and further lusty blows from Malik saw the rate steadily increase.  Both openers quickly earned half centuries as the runs were piled on and it looked like only a Josh Tolley nose bleed could stop them!

The Norden balcony erupted shortly after as they watched Captain Malik reach his first Lancashire League century off 72 balls with the score on 185.  He would fall shortly after to Pro Karunaratne but the opening partnership of 191 in 23 overs had put Norden in a commanding position.  Josh Tolley continued to bat superbly and soon after reached his century at quicker than a run a ball.  After a brief stay from Butterworth, the last man Walsden wanted to see walking out was Norden’s Pro Ash Zaidi.  He, and Tolley renewed what has been a successful partnership this year before Tolley fell for a superb 135 off 118 balls. At this point, Norden had amassed 309 runs and there were still 10 overs left in the innings.  Pro Zaidi made a solid 55 along with brief cameos from Fitton (22*) and Crabtree (9*) ensuring Norden set a huge 374-4 off their 50 overs.

Walsden had to start well, but in truth, the game was all over when Joe Gale found Dominic Humphreys after skewing a Greg Butterworth delivery skywards. This left Waslden on 51-4 after some great early bowling saw Humhpreys remove openers Gale and Hooson and Zaidi had taken the wicket of Hanson.

A solid partnership between the Pro Karunaratne and Nick Barker saw the Walsden score trickle upwards but when the magnificent Fitton had the former caught and bowled, Walsden went into survival mode.  With the league table being so tight, the extra 2 points Norden would receive for bowling Walsden out would be crucial and all attempts were made to stop this.  Butterworth bowled Barker for 72 and Harvey Fitton set about removing the tail.  It was the last partnership between Wheelwright and Shackleton which looked to frustrate Norden with overs running out and light fading, but up stepped the impressive Humphreys to knock over Shackeltons off stump in the penultimate over.  Walsden all out for 202 and a 172 run victory for the visitors, but more crucially a full 12 points ensures Nordens title hopes remain strong going into the last few weeks of the season.

Scorecard :

The 2nd XI suffered a heavy defeat at home in the reverse fixture, losing by 10 wickets thanks to another superb opening partnership on the day, this time between Aaran Lord and Leon Bailey. Norden batted first and struggled against the new ball pairing of Martin Harlow and James Stevens. After slipping to 89 for 7 it looked like a difficult task to even get to three figures but the experience of Mo Waheed and Greg Tattersall combined to put on 60 for the 8th wicket. The pair were both run-out, Waheed just 2 short of a half-century, but they had at least helped to give the home side something to bowl at when they closed on 170 for 9. It soon became clear, though, that this score was not going to be anywhere near enough as Bailey, and Lord in particular, set about taking the attack to the Norden bowlers. Skipper Tom Booth tried all his options but nobody escaped punishment and Walsden cruised home without losing a wicket and with over half their overs remaining. Lord brought up a fantastic century as he struck the winning runs and Bailey remained unbeaten on 57.

2nd XI Scorecard

2nd XI Highlights 2nd XI vs Walsden Highlights

There was a rare two-game weekend for the 3rd XI and mixed fortunes as they recorded a victory against Rishton’s 4th XI on Saturday but went down to Bacup’s 3rds on Monday. On Saturday, there was the rare occurrence of 7 different bowlers taking wickets for Norden as they bowled Rishton out for 130. Adam Khawaja was particularly impressive in taking 2 for 15. Norden were in trouble at 2 for 2 but first Stan Kearns, who was unfortunately run-out when looking good, and then Mo Munawar and Ahsan Tariq played well to get the home side up to near their target before some late wickets provided a bit of drama. Tariq, with help from Jonty Whitehead who defended solidly under pressure on his debut, eventually finished the job with Tariq making 52*. On Monday Norden posted 150 with Matt Findlow making 45 and Saad Malik 29 before Bacup opener Dominic Boardman made light work of the target with an unbeaten 91. Khawaja picked up 2 more scalps but Bacup ran out winners by 6 wickets.

3rd XI Saturday Scorecard

3rd XI Saturday Highlights 3rd XI vs Rishton Highlights

3rd XI Monday Scorecard

Saturday Frustration and Sunday Joy

When, at 4 o’clock on Saturday afternoon, the captains and umpires were shaking hands on a very damp pitch at Stag Park it looked like the points lost to the weather might have signalled the end of Norden’s Lancashire League title challenge. However, as the twists and turns of this season continued, by Sunday evening they were very much back in it after an impressive run-chase at home to Crompton and defeats for fellow title hopefuls Walsden and Clitheroe. Saturday’s re-arranged fixture against bottom side Colne looked like a great opportunity for maximum points but the heavy rain from the week and the on-and-off drizzle throughout the day meant that not a ball was bowled amid great frustration from the home side. Whilst most of the players had probably played in worse conditions, there were areas of the square that were of real concern to the umpires and their decision to call the game off was a fair one.

In truth the ground was still pretty wet when it came to Sunday afternoon but a prompt start was possible and Crompton won the toss and chose to bat first. Greg Butterworth, taking the new ball in a change of tactics, took 2 early wickets but Crompton’s powerful middle-order came to the party and Denis Louis, Mohammed Jamal and sub-pro Amar Ullah all scored half-centuries at good rates to propel the visitors up to and beyond the 200 mark. When those three were going strong, 250 plus looked like a strong possibility but no other Crompton batsman made double-figures and Ashar Zaidi removed Louis and Jamal in the 50s, meaning Ullah was left to fight a lone battle. He was unbeaten on 83 when Carl Taylor became the last man out in the final over and Crompton had 244 on the board with Zaidi finishing with 5 for 65 for the hosts, taking his tally in the league this season to 50. Hashum Malik was trapped in front early by the impressive Adam Good and the pitch looked like it was suddenly starting to misbehave. Josh Tolley had a couple of deliveries to him rise sharply off a length and Butterworth was cleaned up by one that perhaps kept a touch low. Zaidi joined Tolley and he survived a couple of early scares when he edged Taylor low to slip and miscued to mid-on. Fortunately for Norden both chances were missed and the two form players in the home ranks went on to combine for a partnership of 189 before Tolley chipped one up to cover on 81 to give Good his 3rd wicket. What should have now been a comfortable finish became a little tense when Spencer Allen, Lee Crabtree and Stephen Pimm all came and went in quick time but Dom Humphreys provided the cool head alongside Zaidi to see Norden over the line. Zaidi finished on 98* and Good thoroughly deserved his 5 wickets for Crompton. Norden lie in 4th place in the table with 3 games to go but are only 8 points behind leaders Darwen and have games against 2 of the 3 sides above them still to come. Next Sunday’s trip to Walsden promises to be a fantastic match with so much at stake for both sides.

1st XI Scorecard

1st XI Table

1st XI Highlights 1st XI vs Crompton Highlights

The 2nds had an even more frustrating day at Colne on Saturday when their match fell 11 overs short of the minimum requirement for a result. Having posted 198 for 4 from their 34 overs, only 9 overs of Colne’s reply were possible. Melbourne Austin made 57*, his first half-century for Norden. On Sunday, in a game this time reduced to 35 overs per-side, Norden batted first but lost regular wickets on their way to 144 for 8. Mo Waheed top-sored with 39 and stand-in skipper Jack Harrison added a quickfire 35*. Crompton’s innings was anchored by Mark Woodward’s 69* but it was John Punchard’s 32 from 19 balls that was the difference and they got home with 6 wickets and 2 and a half overs to spare.

2nd XI Saturday Scorecard

2nd XI Sunday Scorecard

Tolley Keeps Norden in the Hunt

A century from opener Josh Tolley was the driving force behind Norden’s win at Ramsbottom on Saturday. It was a victory which keeps Norden very much in the 5-way Lancashire League title-race which promises to go right down to the wire. The 10 points Norden took from Acre Bottom leaves them 20 points behind leaders Walsden with a game in hand, against winless Colne, at home next week. Maximum points from that match would leave just 11 points between all 5 contenders and with those teams certain to take points off each other before the end of the season, it really is anybody’s title. Having been put in to bat on Saturday, Norden lost Hashum Malik for a duck before Tolley and Greg Butterworth combined for a partnership of 116 to lay the foundations for a good first innings total. Butterworth departed for a well-made 42 but that was the last breakthrough that Ramsbottom were able to find as Ash Zaidi joined Tolley for another century partnership, seeing Tolley past his century, Zaidi past his half-century and Norden past the 200 mark. Ramsbottom required 230 to win and found themselves in early trouble when Dom Humphreys removed both openers before there was 20 on the board. Skipper Kieren Grimshaw and professional Daryn Smit were able to regroup somewhat and they had added 58 before Zaidi bowled Grimshaw as the weather started to deteriorate. After just under 26 overs of the reply, the rain became too heavy and the umpires took the players from the field and they were unable to return. Ramsbottom’s score of 88 for 3 at that point was 15 runs behind the DLS par-score, giving Norden the victory by that margin. This Norden team know they have the talent and the firepower to beat any team on their day and with just 5 games to go there is no reason why they can’t challenge right up until the final weekend.

1st XI Scorecard

The 2nds hosted a young Ramsbottom side on Saturday and had got themselves into a good position to take maximum points but were unfortunately unable to get in enough overs in the 2nd innings to constitute a game. Batting first, Norden amassed an excellent 296 for 7 from their 45 overs with Zeshan Anwar scoring 85 and Spencer Allen 69. There was also an impressive innings from 13-year-old Jamie Taylor who struck 27 at just under a run-a-ball. Taylor then picked up 2 wickets from successive deliveries in the Ramsbottom innings to leave the visitors at 38 for 3 but despite the creditable efforts of the umpires to keep the players on the field, the rain meant they had no choice but to call a halt to proceedings 10 overs short of the minimum requirement. It was a credit to Ramsbottom that they were able to field a 2nd team at all given the number of absences and late withdrawals they had to deal with and they should be congratulated for doing so.

2nd XI Scorecard

2nd XI Highlights 2nd XI vs Ramsbottom Highlights

The 3rds travelled to Walsden for a friendly on Sunday and came away with a victory. Sami Waheed hit an unbeaten century and Mo Munawar 50 not out as Norden piled on 238 runs from their 40 overs. Under 15s opener Stan Kearns also played his part with 35 at the top of the order. Walsden fell short of their target with the wickets shared around, including scalps for junior players Muhammad Muddasser, Jake Hill, Will Hindley and Kearns.

3rd XI Scorecard

Darwen Prove Too Strong for Stags

It was a tough day on the road for Norden on Sunday with an in-form Darwen side running out winners by 115 runs in a clash between the two closest challengers to leader, Walsden. It meant consecutive league defeats for The Stags for the first time this season and a drop to 4th place in the table with 6 games remaining. Missing 3 players, including 2 front-line bowlers, Norden still opted to bowl first but struggled to find consistency with the ball from the outset. Usama Malik did provide an early breakthrough but only he and Ashar Zaidi were able to give captain Hashum Malik any control. 7 bowlers were used in an innings that contained 39 extras, including 30 wides, and that lack of discipline will be punished at this level. There were half-centuries for Mark Friend and deputy professional Siddhesh Lad, who timed his innings nicely to be in and well-set for the acceleration in the last 15 overs. 243 for 8 was the final total and it felt like that would represent a very tough task for the visiting batsmen. That task became almost impossible within the first 2 overs as openers Malik and Josh Tolley both fell to Kamran Anwar. The cause was not helped by 3 run-outs, including Greg Butterworth’s unfortunate dismissal when he was left out of his ground backing up when Zaidi’s powerful drive was tipped onto the stumps by the bowler. Dean Lord provided some resistance alongside Zaidi but Norden were never in the hunt and in truth were well beaten by a side who were much stronger in all departments on the day. Whilst there can be no disguising the fact that the last few weeks have been disappointing, this side has played some excellent cricket this season and deservedly put themselves into a position to challenge for trophies on all fronts. The final 6 games represent an opportunity to regroup and focus on at least maintaining a Lancashire Cup spot for next season.

1st XI Scorecard

The 2nd XI fared much better at Stag Park in the reverse fixture with debut skipper Tom Booth leading the way in a 56-run win. After being put in, Norden’s top 4 all got themselves in and then got out but Booth anchored the innings and remained unbeaten on 65 when the innings closed on 211 for 8. There was also a nice cameo from Nick Brierley who was playing is first match for 3 years. Unfortunately, the innings was marred somewhat by the injury sustained by Oliver Kirkby who was struck on the toe from his first ball in 2nd team cricket and was unable to continue his innings. He will have many more opportunities at this level. Darwen were looking good for a successful chase when Zac Whalley and Chris Lowe took them to 123 for 2 but the experience of Melbourne Austin and Mo Waheed turned the game around and the final 8 wickets fell for just 32 runs. Waheed in particular was excellent and finished with 3 for 23 from 8 overs. A special thank you must go to Simon Wystawnoha who rushed home to get his whites and fielded for the entirety of Darwen’s innings.

2nd XI Scorecard

2nd XI Highlights 2nd XI v Darwen Highlights

The 3rds were beaten by a strong Littleborough side at Hare Hill on Saturday. Mo Waheed struck 46 for Norden and Michael Thorpe played a nice late-innings knock to push the score up to 167 for 6 from the 40 permitted overs. Jacob Kaye’s century in reply made for a comfortable run-chase with Littleborough getting home with just under 10 overs to spare.

3rd XI Scorecard


After the agonising Worsley Cup semi-final defeat to Clitheroe a fortnight previously, Norden faced the Chatburn Road club once again in the league on Saturday and then again in the first semi-final of t20 finals day early on Sunday morning. Stag Park hosted the first of these two encounters and Clitheroe captain Peter Dibb opted to bat first on a track that looked like it had plenty of runs in it. Dom Humphreys was unfortunate that neither of the two outside edges he induced from opener Ali Ross early on went to hand, but after that it was hard-going for the home bowlers. Tom Lord played particularly aggressively and his half-century contained 4 sixes and 5 fours. He became the first wicket to fall when he miscued Dean Lord to point with the score on 98 and sub-pro Richard Levi joined Ross in taking the game to Norden. The pair added 87 in 15 overs with Ross looking in complete control and Levi punishing anything loose with his power. Ross looked a touch disappointed to be given out L.B.W. to Ashar Zaidi when a long way forward but his 77 had helped lay the perfect platform for what was to come. Jack Dewhurst more than played his part in a partnership of 101 with Levi, made in just 12 overs, but the paid man was now starting to make Stag Park look like a very small ground and he brought up his century from just 67 balls. There was no let-up even when Dewhurst was well-taken on the long-off boundary by Zaidi off Greg Butterworth, with a further 33 runs scored from the final 2 overs. The visitors closed on an imposing 320 for 3 with Levi unbeaten on 131 and this represented a record-score for Clitheroe in Lancashire League cricket. Hashum Malik and Josh Tolley soon made it clear that they believed it was not an insurmountable total and they once again got Norden off to an excellent start. Malik struck 3 sixes in his better than a run-a-ball 38 before the extra pace of Cole Hayman provided the breakthrough as the Norden skipper was bowled looking to give himself room to play through the off-side. The pitch was still playing truly and Butterworth and Tolley came together for a partnership that gave Norden real hope. At 190 for 1 with 20 overs remaining and Zaidi still to come, it would not have been unreasonable to consider the home side marginal favourites at that point, but Ross provided the over that turned the game back in Clitheroe’s favour when Butterworth chipped to mid-off from the 1st ball of the 32nd and from the final ball Tolley was caught behind from a ball that gripped slightly. Smart captaincy combined with tight bowling and fielding now started to make things difficult for Zaidi to keep the strike. With no set batsman at the other end, the Norden middle-order struggled to find the gaps to pick up singles and wickets started to fall regularly as frustration set in. 8 wickets were lost for the addition of just 42, 5 of them to Ross, with Zaidi watching helplessly from the non-striker’s end. When he finally managed to farm a period of strike, there was just 1 wicket to play with and despite a valiant effort of 57* it was not enough and Norden fell 44 runs short, picking up 1 point for their efforts. Zaidi faced just 33 balls of the Norden innings and The Stags were left wondering what might have been had that number been much higher.

Saturday Scorecard

Saturday Highlights 1st XI v Clitheroe Highlights

There was not much time for the disappointment of Saturday to subside as a 10am start at Crompton once again had Norden in the field first and a familiar foe in Levi striding to the crease to open the Clitheroe innings in the t20 semi-final. Unfortunately, it seemed like The Stags hadn’t fully woken up yet as dropped catches and misfields cost them in the early stages. Usama Malik picked up 2 wickets but Clitheroe had been allowed to get off to a fast start and Levi, after being given a life, was continuing his good work from the previous day and finding the boundary with regularity. When Zaidi had his professional counterpart trapped in front for 45 there was great relief amongst the Norden ranks and a potential score of around 200 now looked like it might be reduced to something more manageable. Zaidi, Butterworth and Mo Munawar bowled tidily but the mistakes in the field continued as the Clitheroe batsmen looked to put pressure on with aggressive running. Dibb took 15 from the first 4 balls of the penultimate over and that felt significant as it pushed Clitheroe over what looked to be a par score and it would be 180 to win for Norden. Malik went early this time but Zaidi looked to be taking out his frustration of Saturday and was quickly into his stride with 3 sixes to put Norden ahead of the rate. The key blow was dealt, though, when Zaidi had reached 42 and he skied a ball from Sam Halstead and was caught by the substitute fielder who had taken the field immediately after 50+ year-old bowler Marcus Sharp had finished his 4 over allocation. Norden were still in the game but much depended on Tolley and Butterworth. Unfortunately, Butterworth picked out the deep-midwicket fielder with a slog-sweep that came right out the middle of the bat with 58 still required and despite Tolley reaching his half-century and Lee Crabtree and Stephen Pimm briefly threatening to provide the necessary support, it was not to be and another Clitheroe victory was the outcome, this time by 15 runs. Darwen went on to lift the trophy after defeating hosts Crompton in the semi-final and Clitheroe in the final. A big thanks and congratulations should go to Crompton who did a magnificent job in hosting a thoroughly enjoyable day. T20 Scorecard

T20 Scorecard :

The 2nd XI made the long trip to Clitheroe and returned empty-handed after a 64- run defeat.  There were 4 wickets for Oli holt as the hosts posted 194 for 9, as well as a first 2nd XI wicket for 13-year-old Jamie Taylor. Norden looked to be in good shape to chase it down at 60 without loss but that quickly became 69 for 5 and despite a good effort from James O’Neill, they could not recover.

2nd XI Scorecard

The one highlight of the weekend was provided by a young 3rd XI on Sunday afternoon. Steve Colmer led the side for the first time against a Lowerhouse 4th XI made up entirely of juniors. It was the slightly more experienced pair of Colmer and Ahsan Tariq who scored the bulk of the Norden runs, Tariq making an excellent 85, and Jimmy Drury provided a flourish at the death to take Norden to 237 for 7 from their 40 overs. Lowerhouse never threatened to get close and a fine spell of off-spin from Charlie Gooding brought him a first senior 5 for. There were 4 junior bowlers used and Alfie Radcliffe picked up a wicket with Will Hindley also impressing with his first spell in senior cricket.

3rd XI Scorecard

Stags Cruise Home at Towncroft

The combination of beautiful weather, the customary fine batting surface at Middleton’s Towncroft ground and two outstanding batting professionals always suggested a high-scoring encounter on Saturday and that indeed proved to be the case. Middleton elected to take first use of the pitch and it was clear from the opening overs that it was going to be a tough afternoon for the bowlers. Spin, in the form of Jack Taylor and Ash Zaidi, was introduced early but the Middleton openers Keelan Shipley and George Walker moved the score past 50. Zaidi bowled Walker with the score on 67 to bring Middleton professional and the Lancashire League’s leading run-scorer for the season, James Price, to the crease and the home support knew that a big score from him would be required if the home side were to post a total that would challenge the title-chasing visitors. Shipley fell just short of his half-century and Rehan Udwadia joined Price to provide the big partnership the innings required. Price was the main aggressor whilst Udwadia looked to accumulate steadily and the partnership had reached 123 when Price picked out Greg Butterworth on the long-off boundary off Taylor for 79 as he was really looking to open his shoulders with 5 overs remaining. Udwadia completed his own half-century, finishing unbeaten on 60, and Middleton closed on 237 for 4. Hashum Malik and Josh Tolley had Norden well ahead of the rate early on and although both fell to Thomas Rutter in relatively quick succession, this only served to bring Zaidi to the crease and Norden’s paid man looked in superb touch from the outset. He and Butterworth added 64 in 13 overs before Butterworth was cleaned up by Price and the equation for the visitors looked a comfortable one as long as Zaidi remained, needing 110 with half the overs remaining. That wicket, just the 7th to fall in the day, proved to be the final one as Harvey Fitton rediscovered his early season form and the two left-handers required just another 15 overs to get Norden past their victory target. Zaidi’s run-a-ball knock of 95* contained 17 boundaries and Fitton’s 55* included eight 4s and a 6. Norden remain in 2nd place in the table, 4 points behind Walsden and with Darwen, Burnley and Clitheroe not far behind it looks like an exciting title-race in prospect.

1st XI Scorecard

The 2nd XI hosted long-time league leaders Haslingden in the glorious sunshine at Stag Park and having lost the toss it would have been easy for Phil Docker’s team to resign themselves to a long afternoon in the field. The opening overs quickly showed that that was not their intention as a fantastic start with the ball and in the field resulted in Haslingden quickly being reduced to 7 for 3. When Oli Holt took the big wicket of Leighton Friend, the visitors were languishing on 60 for 5 but they showed why they are strong contenders for the 2nd XI title with a determined lower order fightback. Wicket-keeper Leon Brennan led it with 32 and Haslingden were able to creep up to 163 before losing their final wicket in the last over. Holt finished with 3 for 36 and there were 3 more wickets for Mo Munawar to take his season’s tally past 40 in all competitions. Jack Harrison and Zeshan Anwar fell early in the reply but Docker and Spencer Allen rebuilt initially before kicking on. This was not this pair’s first big partnership of the season and they took the game away from Haslingden with a century stand. Allen made 53 to take his 2nd XI total past 300 for the season at an average of over 43, once again showing his remarkable temperament for a player of his age and Docker finished unbeaten on 75 to guide his side to a 7 wicket win. This was high-quality, hard-fought 2nd team cricket which ended with the great sight of both teams sharing a beer on the outfield at its conclusion.

2nd XI Scorecard

2nd XI Highlights 2nd XI vs Haslingden Highlights

The Ecstasy and the Agony

Rarely, if ever, can Norden have been involved in two such dramatic games in succession as they were at the weekend. A short trip to Rochdale in the league and a Worsley Cup semi-final at home to Clitheroe always looked like it would make for an exciting double-header and so it proved.

On Saturday, Redbrook was the venue for a game that swung one way then the other pretty much throughout. Norden were put in and were going well at 106 for 2 with Josh Tolley and Ash Zaidi at the crease and 18 overs remaining. However, a collapse inspired by the excellent slow-left-arm of Rochdale professional Sean Whitehead, resulted in the visitors losing their final 8 wickets for just 34 runs. The pitch was certainly offering something for the spinners and Whitehead was ably supported by youngster Jacob Pauline in exploiting that and causing problems for all the Norden batsmen. Once Tolley had been bowled by Whitehead when just one run short of his half-century, the wickets fell with alarming regularity and seemingly in a blink of an eye Norden had been dismissed for just 140 and were facing an uphill task to take anything from the game. Whitehead returned the superb figures of 6 for 32 and Pauline 3 for 25, including the big scalp of Zaidi. In reply, Rochdale found things difficult from the start and were unable to put together a significant partnership. Zaidi was quickly into the action with the ball, removing Jack Duffy and Whitehead in his opening spell. Greg Butterworth and Sami Waheed also chipped in with wickets and the crowd were ‘treated’ to the little-seen off-breaks of Josh Tolley as skipper Malik looked for the extra spin-bowling option. At 83 for 7 the game looked up for Rochdale but Ali Muzaffar was still there having played resolutely at one end as wickets tumbled around him. He found an ally in home captain Jamie Roche and they put on 30 for the 8th wicket to put the game back in the balance. Zaidi returned to bowl Roche for 15 and followed up having Casey Roche caught at slip leaving 28 still to win from 4 overs as last man Steve Oddy joined Muzaffar in the middle. The set batsman now started to open his shoulders and took 13 from a Tolley and 6 singles from the next 2 overs left the equation at 9 runs required from the final over and Muzaffar to face Zaidi. A dot ball was followed by Muzaffar launching the ball over the ropes for 6 and bringing Rochdale to within touching distance but incredibly Zaidi was able to respond with 3 further dot balls and with 3, or more realistically a boundary, needed off the final ball Muzaffar danced down the track but missed and was stumped giving Norden not only the victory but also the maximum 12 points. Zaidi finished with the match-winning figures of 6 for 35.

Saturday Scorecard:

If the players and spectators had recovered from the previous day’s nerve-wracking encounter, they were not given much respite as Clitheroe came to Stag Park for a cup semi-final with both clubs knowing that a win would result in the honour of them hosting the final. Usama Malik could not have given Norden a much better start when he dismissed opener Thomas Lord and stand-in professional Kohli (not that one) in the 2nd over of the game. Ali Ross and Jack Dewhurst set about the rebuild and it wasn’t until the 23rd over that the next wicket fell when Waheed bowled Dewhurst. Ross chipped a return catch to Butterworth for a patient 38 before Sam Mulligan and skipper Peter Dibb were able to add some impetus to the Clitheroe innings but the Norden bowlers were able to keep things under control. Butterworth’s 10 overs yielded 4 wickets for just 17 runs and Jack Taylor continued his extremely promising start to his first-team career with 2 more wickets. Waheed returned to take the final wicket and Clitheroe had to make do with the below-par looking 177. Hashum Malik promoted himself to the top of the order and it looked an inspired move as he got off to a flying start despite Tolley and Harvey Fitton falling cheaply at the other end. Zaidi joined the skipper and at 90 for 2 inside 20 overs, things looked good for the home side. Zaidi might have considered himself a touch unfortunate to pick out the only man on the leg-side boundary when looking to take on a short ball from Kohli and when Malik missed a sweep on 55, Clitheroe could sense an opportunity. Butterworth had looked in no trouble in making 18 before he chipped up a tame catch in the ring but Stephen Pimm and Lee Crabtree seemed to have taken the heat out of the situation in reducing the target to just 24 with the run-rate never a problem and 5 wickets remaining. Sam Halstead returned from the Woodhouse Lane end after receiving some harsh treatment from Malik with the new ball and he provided the spark for Clitheroe which turned the match on its head. Pimm misjudged a ball that nipped back and was bowled shouldering arms before Dom Humphreys and Taylor committed the cardinal sin of going back to full balls at Stag Park and were trapped in front from consecutive deliveries. Waheed joined Crabtree and they were given no let-up by some excellent Clitheroe bowling. The pressure was mounting by the ball and with 9 needed Waheed was bowled by a fine delivery from Dewhurst and the tension was unbearable. Last man Usama Malik came to the crease and Crabtree decided he had to take on the small boundary after Halstead had finished his spell. He aimed for the garage at straight midwicket but failed to make contact to a straight ball from Cole Hayman and the death rattle followed by whooping cheers from the Clitheroe players and their sizeable travelling crowd sounded the end of Norden’s Worsley Cup hopes.

Sunday Scorecard:

A fine bowling display gave the 2nds a comfortable victory on Saturday. Norden’s innings was a case of batsmen getting in and getting out with 4 of the top 5 falling for scores between 18 and 29. Some useful lower-order runs from Mo Munawar and Usama Malik helped the Stags up to 166 all out with veteran Robin Jackson the man who inflicted most of the damage, taking 5 for 26. Malik and Munawar then turned their attention to their main job with the ball and they proved far too good for the visiting batsmen, sharing 7 wickets for just 54 runs in superb opening spells. Melbourne Austin finished a good day for the older generation with the final 3 wickets to bowl Rochdale out for 57 and complete a 109 run victory.

2nd XI Scorecard:

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

Ormskirk CC – Visitors Guidance

We look forward to welcoming you to our club on Sunday 4 July. Please find below the specific plans and guidance we have in place to try and ensure all our players, spectators and volunteers remain safe, in line with the ECB’s Step 3 guidance:

Symptoms – Please remind all your players/spectators not to attend if they display any symptoms or are required to isolate. If symptoms develop during the game, then please follow published guidelines.

Track & trace – The Club is obliged to maintain a track and trace record of all persons visiting the Club. This will be done by use of QR code or a written register (kept for 21 days).

Parking – The entrance and exit to the car park are the same. It is not possible to organise a separate entrance and exit. Please bear this in mind when arriving/leaving.

Changing Rooms – These can now be used and your team will directed to the room/s available. Signage will indicate maximum capacity for each room and for use of the showers. All rooms will have been cleaned after last use. Windows and doors should be kept open when occupied to allow ventilation. Sanitiser will be available.

Kit – Whilst the game is progressing, players can leave their kit in the outdoor marquee or in the changing room/s allocated. Changing rooms may be locked when not occupied. The Club accepts no responsibility for any valuables that are left with kit or unattended.

Hand Sanitisation – Players must ensure they bring their own personal hand sanitiser for the game.

Bar – Our bar will be open and staff will be serving drinks for seated indoor and outdoor consumption in accordance with current Guidance and subject to capacity. Please do not approach the bar and follow any instructions given by staff.

Food – The Club caterer, Square Leg, will be open and offering food for seated indoor and outdoor consumption in accordance with current Guidance and also a takeaway service. You will be served at your table.

Spectators – Spectators are now permitted but we ask that spectators maintain social distancing and do not spectate from the outdoor hospitality area unless consuming food/drink purchased from the Club.

Hospitality – Food and drink can now be served inside and outside. You must be seated – NO SEAT NO SERVICE. Please remind all visitors coming from your Club to use OCC hospitality to observe the RULE OF 6/2 HOUSEHOLD RULE and to not touch the ball at any time. Patrons can park in the Club car park. Please remind them to bring their own supply of sanitiser.

Match Manager – the Club will appoint a Match Manager for your game. The Match Manager for your game will be Bill Rankin unless notified otherwise.

Inclement Weather – In the event of rain interruptions players and spectators can shelter under the balcony of the new build or return to their cars. The changing rooms will be available for players but we encourage them to continue to avoid doing so.

Conduct – Please ask all players and spectators to respect the above points and comply with our test and trace procedure. If anybody (from either side) does not comply with our guidance they may be asked to leave the club.

If you have any questions prior to your visit, please visit where you can find a copy of the Club’s Risk Assessments or contact the Club on:

Best Wishes

Dave Croft

Club Secretary