Norden suffered defeat for the first time this season on Sunday with a home loss to Darwen. Asked to bat first after a delayed start on a pitch that was green and damp after the recent rain, the high scores seen at Stag Park so far this year were never going to be repeated and it was clear from the outset that a tough day for batsmen lay ahead. Josh Tolley felt that aggression was the way to go but he fell first caught in the gully and he was quickly followed by Stephen Pimm and Harvey Fitton leaving the Stags in early trouble at 24 for 3. Lee Crabtree and Greg Butterworth both attempted to dig in in support of pro Zaidi, but Crabtree could only pick out point from a short, wide delivery and Butterworth became the first wicket to fall to spin as Bowden found the outside edge. Even Zaidi was finding life tough on the challenging surface and when he was cleaned up by Bowden it left the lower order with the job of trying to bat for as many of the 43 overs as possible. Unfortunately, despite a few nice strokes from Malik and Chris Humphreys, the wickets continued to tumble and Norden could only limp to 88 all out from 31.4 overs. The visiting bowling was good without ever seeming unplayable and perhaps a touch more application throughout would have led to the extra 30-40 runs that would have resulted in an extremely challenging total.
The run chase began in chaos for the visitors, though, as Chris Humphreys had Mark Friend caught at cover and Kamran Anwar caught over his shoulder by Crabtree behind the stumps with the score still on 0. Scott Jackson and deputy professional Siddhesh Lad began the rebuild and Norden turned to spin. The partnership added 33 before being broken in bizarre circumstances. Jackson hit aerially out towards Pimm on the cover boundary and the fielder dived forward and appeared to many, including the batsman, to take the catch. With Jackson starting to walk off Pimm threw the ball to Butterworth who broke the wicket before the batsman had time to regain his ground having belatedly realised that the ball had in fact reached Pimm on the half-volley. The umpires had no option but to give Jackson out and Malik was absolutely correct to uphold the appeal as Pimm had at no point indicated that he had taken the catch. Lad was looking a cut above the other players on show and he progressed to 24 before he chopped on to Zaidi and when Scott Friend holed out quickly afterwards, Norden were all of a sudden ahead on the DLS calculation and well in the game at 51 for 5 with the clouds starting to gather overhead. Bowden and Reece Davies were able to soon put an end to the home side’s optimism, though, as Zaidi and Butterworth strained for another breakthrough. Runs started to flow quickly for the first time in the day and Davies finished the game with his 4th boundary.
1st XI Scorecard https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/4549826
1st XI Highlights 1st XI vs Darwen 16/5/21 Highlights
The 2nds also had a frustrating day at Darwen. Having scored 258 for 8 in their 45 overs batting first they were unable to take the field for the home side’s chase after the heavens opened. Sami Waheed and Spencer Allen both made half centuries for the Stags.
2nd XI Scorecard https://norden.play-cricket.com/website/results/4550296