Scott Too Hot for Rochdale

There wouldn’t have been much debate over the winner of the man of the match award had one been given out after Norden’s victory at Redbrook on Sunday. Scott Butterworth’s magnificent all-round performance led his team to a win that seemed on several occasions to be out of reach. It was with the ball that he shone first, reducing the home side to 45 for 6 with a 5-wicket burst that included the key wicket of Rochdale professional, Morne Venter for a duck. It was a familiar-looking scorecard after the low-scoring encounter between these two sides on the same ground last year, but this time around Rochdale dug deep and Michael Harling and Jacob Pauline came together to frustrate Norden. Butterworth needed a breather and Chis Humphreys did not get far into his spell before his hamstring went, and the Rochdale pair found life easier against the change bowlers. Pauline was the aggressor, hitting 4 fours and 2 sixes in his 38 and Harling used all his experience to run the ball around. Pauline was forced to retire hurt when his back gave way attempting another big hit, and this gave Norden an unexpected route to the lower-order. Butterworth returned to take his 6th wicket, but the Rochdale batters continued to battle and Harry Butterworth and Dylan Poscha made useful contributions as the score passed 150. Harling brought up his half-century and he was the 9th wicket to fall for an excellent 62, before Pauline returned to the crease but was cleaned up by Dean Lord to close the innings on 169 all-out in the 44th over.

Thigs couldn’t have started too much worse for Norden in reply, with Lee Crabtree, Mitch Owen and Jack Taylor all back in the shed with the score on just 10. Alex Willis then became Venter’s 3rd wicket and at 26 for 4, it looked a long way to go. Like in Rochdale’s innings, however, things became a touch easier when the main threat came out of the attack and Dom Humphreys and Josh Tolley were able to score more freely, against Poscha in particular. There was a brief spell off the field for rain, which reduced the target to 162 from 40 overs, but the run-rate was never going to be a problem. Wickets, though, were another matter and Tolley was caught behind off Poscha for 43, followed swiftly by Greg Butterworth and Norden were back in deep trouble. 65 were still needed and it was down to the lower order. Humphreys played beautifully for his 46, but he fell to the returning Venter and Oli Holt went the same way to give the Rochdale paid man a well-deserved 5-wicket haul. It was 29 needed with 2 wickets left, but with one remaining batter unable to walk. Butterworth was joined by Dean Lord, and the pair played sensibly to start ticking off the remaining runs. Solid defence from Lord and good running between the wickets got Norden closer, and the pressure began to tell on the Rochdale fielders as two catches went down off Butterworth which would surely have given them the victory. Slowly but surely, the Norden pair edged closer and when Butterworth struck a boundary off Harling in the 35th over, the win was within touching distance. It came from the first ball of the next over and it was fitting that it was Butterworth who hit the winning run. His 6 for 52 and 34* a match-winning performance in the truest sense.
1st XI Scorecard:

There was another nail-biter at Stag Park, as the 2nds fell agonisingly short in their run-chase against league-leaders, Ramsbottom. Rammy opted to bat first, and Oli Yates picked up the first two wickets for Norden, one aided by a spectacular slip catch from Mo Waheed. Waheed bowled well in tandem with Jake Hill, and Norden had a good control of the game, which had been reduced to 39 overs per-side before the start. However, Seb Schofield had played himself in nicely, and this allowed him to open his shoulders as the overs ticked down. The short boundary proved hard to defend and Schofield took 26 runs of the 38th over to help his team up to 193 for 5, finishing on 86* from 72 balls. In a reduced-overs game, Waheed’s figures of 10 overs for just 14 runs were extraordinary. In truth, the two rain interruptions that were to follow, helped Norden’s cause, and the eventual target of 122 from 20 overs looked very gettable indeed. Unfortunately, wickets fell with regularity and no Norden batter was able to really break the shackles in the way that Schofield had. The youngsters, Yates and Stan Kearns, looked like they might get the job done but the impressive Alex Olpin defended the Woodhouse Lane end with great skill and Isaac Turner did his job at the other end with his off-spin to give Rammy the win by just 5 runs. The 5 bonus points secured by Norden could be more than useful in their battle to beat the drop.
2nd XI Scorecard:
2nd XI Highlights:

There was a rare double-header for the 3rds, with two t20 matches on Friday and Saturday bringing one win and one defeat. Todmorden came to Stag Park on Friday and a first senior 50 from Stan Kearns along with Theo Andrew taking 28 runs from the final over, propelled Norden up to a total of 140. Todmorden never looked like getting close to that score, thanks to some tight Norden bowling. Sebastian Howard was the standout, with 4 for 18 from his 4 overs, helping Norden to a 45-run win.

Rishton proved to be a tougher proposition on Saturday. The game was re-arranged as a t20 to allow the players to be free to watch the football, and the home side found the boundary 15 times in their innings, compared to just 4 (all by Joe Donnelly) by Norden. Rishton’s 141 proved way too many for the Norden batting line-up, with only Donnelly’s 38 worthy of note in a 65-run defeat.
3rd XI Scorecard Friday:
3rd XI Scorecard Saturday: