Stags Set Up Final Day Excitement

Norden did what they had to do on Sunday at Stag Park which was to beat Todmorden and bowl their opponents out in the process to secure the maximum 12 points. The win sends the Lancashire League title race into a final day shootout between 3 clubs: Norden, Burnley and Darwen. More about the permutations for that day later, but firstly credit must be given for a hard-earned victory on Sunday where Norden were forced to dig deep on a couple of occasions before running out comfortable victors in the end. Todmorden won what looked to be a good toss and elected to bat on a flat, dry looking surface. Dom Humphreys provided the 2 early breakthroughs, firstly by bowling Bilal Abbas and secondly by running out the dangerous looking Noah Priestley in his follow-through. Ben Sutcliffe and professional Mani Murasingh then came together and started to make batting conditions look very friendly indeed. They put on 86 in 18 overs as all 4 Norden bowlers struggled to maintain any real control and a big total looked on the cards. It was Sami Waheed who stuck at his task and broke the partnership when Sutcliffe mis-timed to Greg Butterworth at mid-on for 40 and things happened very quickly thereafter. Waheed picked up his second with a fine yorker and Butterworth joined the party with 4 wickets, including the impressive Murasingh, who holed out for 70. Humphreys finished the job with 2 more for himself and Todmorden had collapsed from 123 for 2 to 154 all out. In contrast to last week, both Norden openers were back in the hutch early on as Josh Tolley was trapped in front playing back to a ball that kept a touch low and Hashum Malik was cleaned up by Matthew Collins. Very rarely do all of Norden’s top-order fail to fire, though and on this occasion it was Butterworth and Ash Zaidi who put their hands up with a stand of 117 that only contained one real scare when Zaidi looked fortunate to survive a run-out appeal when on 37. Butterworth fell for 40 looking to reach his half-century quickly but Zaidi was again in imperious form and ended on 84* as Norden needed only 30.5 overs to reach their target. Zaidi’s knock took him past 1000 league runs for the season, the only Division 1 player to reach that milestone so far. So to the final day; Norden travel to Burnley and must win the match. If they do so and take more points than Darwen manage against Colne they will be champions. If they score the same number of points as Darwen in victory then those 2 teams will play a play-off match for the title on the weekend of 18th/19th September. If Burnley beat Norden they will finish top no matter what Darwen do. It promises to be a fittingly exciting end to an enthralling season and everyone at the club can only wish Hashum and the boys the very best of luck.

The club will be putting on a free of charge coach for all supporters who wish to go to Burnley on Sunday. The coach will leave Stag Park at 11:30 and will depart 15 minutes after the conclusion of the game. Please message us on our socials, ring the club on 01706 645639 or put your name(s) on the sign up sheet in the foyer to reserve your place.

1st XI Scorecard:

1st XI Highlights: 1st XI vs Todmorden Highlights

The 2nd XI came off second-best in a tight encounter away at Todmorden. Mo Waheed took 4 for 25 and Martin Smith 3 for 38 but Todmorden still managed to get themselves up to 179 all out, thanks in the main to an unbeaten 44 from number 10 by Sam Dunkerley. Norden failed to find a meaningful partnership in reply and fell 18 runs short of victory despite 33 from Zeshan Anwar and 32 from Ahsan Tariq.

2nd XI Scorecard:

An exceptionally young 3rd XI put on a brave and enthusiastic display at Greenmount on Sunday. Missing all of the senior players usually available to them, the oldest member of the team was just 16 but that didn’t stop Adam Khawaja’s ‘men’ making a promising start with the ball as Alfie Radcliffe and Oliver Yates both impressed. Some much more experienced heads in the home side helped them up past 200 but the fielding and spirit throughout the 40 overs was great to watch. Whilst the target was never realistically within reach, Oliver Kirkby and Callum Hill in particular showed touches of real quality with the bat and, as the Greenmount skipper kindly commented, this young team will be a tough proposition for anybody in a few years’ time.

3rd XI Scorecard: