Norden sit pretty at the top of the Lancashire League First Division table after victory over Middleton on Sunday. It was a win that came despite a frustrating batting performance after winning the toss. Harvey Fitton and Josh Tolley found the boundary regularly early on with Fitton picking up where he left off from last week and looking in superb touch. With 50 reached inside 8 overs, it was a shock to see Fitton mistime an aggressive stroke and chip to mid-on. Middleton introduced their professional, James Price, and former Stag, Rehan Udwadia, into their attack and they picked up an early wicket apiece with Price dismissing Stephen Pimm and Udwadia claiming the big wicket of Tolley with the first ball of his spell. The bright start gave plenty of time for a re-build, however, and Ash Zaidi and Lee Crabtree gave themselves time to get in before Crabtree looked to push things on. Their stand of 57 had the home support again expecting a score of around 250 but after Crabtree fell to an excellent catch running back by wicket-keeper Shipley, the home side lost 3 further wickets for just 12 runs. It was Udwadia who did the damage, having left-handers Zaidi and Joe Humphreys both caught off the outside edge and Dom Humphreys bowled neck and crop. With sights re-adjusted to seeing out the overs, Greg Butterworth and Hashum Malik batted sensibly to take the total past 200 but the temptation to push for extra late runs proved too much and Norden were dismissed for 212 with 4 overs remaining. With both Price and Udwadia having finished their spells, visiting captain Dale Highton will have been relieved not to have needed to find a bowler to join him for those remaining overs.
In reply, Middleton made a solid if unspectacular start. Only 1 wicket fell in the first 20 overs but tight opening spells from Chris and Dom Humphreys, with the latter particularly impressive, had the required run rate creeping upwards. This was always likely to be problematic with the high-quality left arm spin of Zaidi and Butterworth able to combine for the vast majority of the remaining overs and so it proved. Zaidi pushed one through to clean up George Walker for a battling 31 and a frustrated Udwadia had a wild hack at Butterworth. Jones and Tierney both fell to the home professional and it was only when Price and Leighton Le Carpentier came together that Middleton briefly threatened to get close to their target. Their partnership of 58 ended with Price finding Zaidi on the long-off boundary off Butterworth and with him went any flickering hope of an unlikely run-chase. Zaidi completed his 5 for and Butterworth finished with 3 before Sami Waheed wrapped up the match and gave Norden the maximum 12 points. The Stags can be much better, and will need to be, but they are the team to chase going into next weekend’s league and cup double-header.
1st XI Highlights https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TAtjKTxYa0
Norden 2nds fell to an agonising first defeat of the season at Haslingden. An extremely strong Norden seam attack shared the wickets around in bowling out their hosts for 141 but the Stags fell just 8 runs short in reply. Three early wickets made the chase a tough one and some questionable umpiring decisions only added to the sense of frustration, but picking up 7 bonus points meant the loss was far from a disaster.
The 3rds also suffered defeat with a strong Lowerhouse 4th XI comfortably chasing their target of 146 with plenty of overs to spare. Steve Colmer top-scored with 36 for the Stags and Matt Findlow picked up 2 of the wickets to fall in the home team’s chase.
The inaugural game for the 4th team resulted in victory over Greenmount 4th XI in a friendly fixture. Some solid bowling performances from Golden, Hindley and Radlicffe, and 3 wickets from skipper Tommy Booth restricted Greenmount to 146 from their 40 overs. Norden cruised to victory in 28 overs with 45 from Spencer Allen and a quickfire 34* from Jimmy Drury