Stags Come up Short

It may only have been the tiniest of flickers, but Norden’s title hopes were extinguished on Sunday as they failed to chase down the target of 146 set by a Ramsbottom side fighting for survival. Yet more rain reduced the contest to 33 overs per side and Greg Butterworth chose to put Ramsbottom in, despite recent successes defending low totals. Ashar Zaidi was straight into the wickets when Ali Abbas found the safe hands of Jack Taylor on the square leg boundary. Lukas Debnam then had Tom Parton well caught behind by Lee Crabtree from his first delivery and followed that up by dismissing visiting captain Harry Caton. It was the 4th wicket partnership between Ben Pearson and Seb Schofield that formed the backbone of the Ramsbottom innings. Both defended well and were able to find the boundary when they freed their arms. Schofield’s was the only other wicket to fall, but not before he had made a valuable 30 from a partnership of 68.

145 felt like a pretty par score, but it was now Norden’s weaker suit that was going to be under pressure. At 50 for 1 with Josh Tolley and Taylor, looking every inch the 1st team top order batter, going along nicely, Norden looked favourites but Tolley edged Josh Dentith to slip for 36 and Zaidi rolled his wrists on a short ball from Toby Anderson to pick out deep square leg and the momentum had shifted. Taylor had made 31 when he was adjudged to have dragged his back foot and was given out stumped by the excellent Caton behind the stumps. The middle and lower order now had the unenviable task of having to score at a run-a-ball from the last 10 overs, which would include 5 from Pakistani Test off-spinner Bilal Asif. Asif was not far from unplayable on a pitch offering spin and bounce for a bowler who uses his height to great effect. Alex Willis was trapped in front and Butterworth was a tad unlucky when he got a good piece of a reverse sweep, only for the ball to hit Parton in the chest at slip and bounce up kindly for the catch to be taken. Scott Butterworth did find the boundary on a couple of occasions, but it was not enough; Asif’s figures of 3 for 17 from 10 overs proving to be the difference.
1st XI Scorecard:
1st XI Highlights: 1st XI vs Ramsbottom Highlights – YouTube

The seconds got off to a terrible start at Acre Bottom as Ramsbottom raced to 88 without loss, but a good recovery with the ball saw Mo Waheed and Oli Kirkby take 5 wickets between them for just 10 runs. A 6th wicket stand of 50 put the hosts back in charge, though and despite Waheed’s 5 wickets, they were able to post 170 from their 34 overs. After Kirkby was first man out, Haris Hussain and Kabir Ahmed put on 61, but an all-too-familiar collapse did for Norden’s hopes. 4 wickets fell with just 3 runs added and Danny Devine’s valiant 32 was only good enough for 3 batting bonus points.
2nd XI Scorecard:

A double-header weekend for the 3rds started at Bacup on Saturday. A good performance with the bat saw Norden score 162 for 8 from their 40 overs in tough conditions. 46 from Oli Yates and 35 from Mohsin Iqbal were the highlights, before the storms came and ended proceedings early.

Monday saw a fantastic display secure 12 points against a Ramsbottom team with 7 players who had played either 1st or 2nd team the day before. Norden had only one, and for a genuine 3rd team to put in such an excellent performance was a real credit to them. Jimmy Drury top-scored with 40 as Norden set Ramsbottom 137 to win in very tricky batting conditions.14-year-old leg-spinner Jake Hill was the star with the ball, taking 4 for 34, and brother Callum finished the game by clean-bowling 1st XI captain Harry Caton with an absolute peach of a delivery. Well done lads, you were superb!

3rd XI Scorecard vs Bacup :

3rd XI Scorecard vs Ramsbottom :
3rd XI Highlights vs Ramsbototm: