Finally up and Running

After the first two weeks of the Lancashire League season had been postponed due to unprecedented bad weather, the new season finally got started at the weekend with mixed fortunes for Norden.

The 1st XI were the only victorious side with an excellent win at home to Todmorden on Sunday. The Stags included new professional, Mitchell Owen, for his debut and he was at the crease early after Norden had been asked to bat first. Conditions were a credit to everyone who has helped on the ground in recent weeks, with no question at all about the fitness of the ground. Despite this, batting was always going to be tough after the weather we have had. Norden decided that the positive approach was the way to go and Josh Tolley launched the first ball of the season out of Stag Park. After Lee Crabtree had been run out early, Owen also went straight on the attack. A slightly edgy start gave way to some powerful straight hitting and a 33 ball half-century in a partnership of 72 with Tolley. Unfortunately, immediately after reaching the landmark, Owen was caught on the crease by Hamza Ali and there was no doubt about the L.B.W. decision. Tolley struggled to find another partner, but he too made it past 50 despite wickets beginning to fall at the other end. Valuable cameos from Dom Humphreys, Oli Holt and Scott Butterworth were exactly what Norden needed, and they turned what looked like a score of around 170 into 229 for 9 at the close. Tolley’s 88 was the backbone, and it was just a shame he couldn’t quite reach his century and remove his helmet to show how productively he has spent his winter.

Todmorden will have been disappointed with how their seam bowlers performed, and they dropped catches in the outfield to make matters worse. Had Harry Rickard held a straightforward chance off Tolley when he was in the 30’s, things could have been different. As it was, a score of over 200 seemed huge, and so it proved. Scott Butterworth picked up where he left off from last year with a 3-wicket opening spell, and there was also one for Humphreys with the new ball. Only Todmorden deputy-pro, Dumindu, put up any sort of real resistance. He made 55, but there was only one partnership above 20 for the visitors and the spinners, Greg Butterworth and Jack Taylor, finished the job for Norden. Maximum points secured, and a great start heading into the first league and cup double-header next week.
1st XI Scorecard:
1st XI Highlights:

The 2nds made the trip to Todmorden, where they found the ground slightly less ready for play. A delayed start meant a 41-over game on an extremely green pitch. New signing Zeeshan Tariq made a great start to his Norden career with 3 early wickets and Tod were in trouble at 45 for 5. The lower order, and Thomas Barker in particular, dug in and worked hard to squeeze the score up past 100 and the hosts closed on 117 for 7. Norden found scoring really tough and Barker, alongside new-ball partner Ibrar Ali, were not giving anything away. The pressure started to bring wickets and only Oli Kirkby and Danny Devine managed to get to double figures as the Stags fell well short and were bowled out for just 70. Sam Kelly was the pick of the Todmorden bowlers, with 4 for 12.
2nd XI Scorecard:

Jimmy’s young 3rd team kicked off the season on Saturday at Nelson. Mohsin Umar and Sebastian Howard from the under 15’s made their senior debuts and performed well with the ball as Nelson batted first and were bowled out for 146. Mohammad Omar, fresh from his Manchester and London Marathon exploits, picked up 3 wickets and there were 2 each for Oli Yates and Will Hindley with the new ball. Sadly, only Yates could muster up anything of note with the bat. He made 34, but others found it difficult to get off strike and too many dot balls were faced as nobody else made double figures. A 53-run defeat, but hopefully some good lessons learned.
3rd XI Scorecard: