Ash Doubles Up to Send Stags to the Semis

Ashar Zaidi hit his second century of the weekend at Towncroft on Sunday to send Norden into the semi-finals of the Worsley Cup. Following on from his 104 in a losing cause at Ramsbottom on Sunday, Zaidi was the mainstay of the Norden run-chase as they overcame Middleton’s 245 for 9 with 3 and a half overs to spare. Middleton’s innings also contained a ton for their professional, James Price, who combined with Rehan Udwadia in a partnership of 184 that looked like it might take the hosts to a total up toward 300. When Price was dismissed for 113 with 10 overs to go though, their sights had to be re-adjusted and whilst 254 was a good score it felt chaseable on an excellent batting surface. Usama Malik was by far the pick of the Norden bowlers, taking 4 for 38 from his 10 overs as Norden struggled to find enough fit bowlers to complete the innings after Scott Butterworth pulled up at the start of his second over.

Josh Tolley fell to a sharp one-handed catch at slip by Price off the impressive James Tierney in the first over of the reply and the home side sensed a real opportunity but first Greg Butterworth and then Nick Brierley were able to provide excellent support to Zaidi and the paid man never looked in any trouble as he kept his strike-rate well above a run-a-ball throughout his innings and ensured the required rate was never really an issue. Brierley made his first half-century since his comeback and the 4th wicket partnership of 135 put the game to bed. Zaidi finished 118* off 86 balls and Norden will face local rivals Rochdale in the semi-finals on the 10th of July.
Worsley Cup Scorecard:

There was disappointment on Saturday as bottom of the table Ramsbottom put a dent in Norden’s title ambitions with victory at Acre Bottom. Norden, batting first for a change, posted 231 for 4 from their 50 overs with Zaidi scoring 104 and Tolley 88. Norden’s bowlers were unable to gain further inroads after Scott Butterworth’s 2 early wickets and home professional, Senuran Muthusamy, along with the returning Tom Parton, took the hosts up towards their target. When Parton was dismissed by Tolley, Norden felt they were still in the game but a run-a-ball unbeaten 30 from Harry Caton quickly dented those hopes and Norden went away without picking up any points from the game.
Saturday Scorecard :

Friday night was t20 night and a good crowd at Greenmount were treated to 375 runs in 40 overs as Norden gave themselves a good chance of progressing to the quarter-finals with a 36 run victory. The usual suspects, Tolley and Zaidi, both made half-centuries and Lee Crabtree and Alex Willis were able to add a further 50 in the final 4 and a half overs to take Norden up to 205 for 4. The Greenmount chase was pretty much over before it had started as Scott Butterworth dismissed both openers, including professional Chesney Hughes, in the first over. Some good hitting from Callum Hunter provided some entertainment for the spectators but it was never really a close contest and Sami Waheed picked up 3 wickets to move to just 1 behind the leading wicket-takers in this competition. The final group game is at home to unbeaten Crompton on Friday night and a win will see the Stags through.
T20 Scorecard:

The 2nd XI stayed well and truly in the title race with an excellent run chase of their own against Ramsbottom at Stag Park on Saturday. Ramsbottom were dismissed off the final ball of their innings for 228 and it looked like a tough chase was on the cards. After Spencer Allen fell without scoring, David Bebb and Kabir Ahmed showed their quality at this level and both played fluently in a partnership of 171 before Ahmed fell for 73. Bebb made sure the job was completed, though, and he ended unbeaten on 89 and there was a nice 33* for Zeshan Anwar after his return to the side from injury.
2nd XI Scorecard:
2nd XI Highlights: