The Joy of Six

Six was the magic number for Norden at the weekend. On Saturday, it was Scott Butterworth’s superb 6 wicket spell that set the Stags on course for a win at Clitheroe and on Sunday, Stag Park saw no fewer than 27 sixes hit in the LCF Knockout game against Vertex.

Saturday’s game saw the type of win Norden have struggled to achieve in recent times; against one of the top sides without major contributions from either Josh Tolley or the pro. Clitheroe got off to bit of a flyer, with Ali Ross and Tom Lord starting well, but the game changed in a blink of an eye when Butterworth bowled an extraordinary over in which he dismissed Lord, Clitheroe pro Tian Koekemoer and Joe Bolton without conceding a run. The scramble of Clitheroe players rushing to put on whites and pads continued as Butterworth then cleaned up the prolific Ross with the first ball of his next over. Dom Humphreys was doing his job by keeping it tight at the other end, and even though Clitheroe were able to recover somewhat through Charlie Dewhurst and skipper Peter Dibb, they were only ever looking to scrap their way to a vaguely defendable total after the damage Butterworth had done. Brother Greg broke the partnership and Dean Lord and Jack Taylor also picked up a wicket apiece. Scott then came back and took two more to finish with the fine figures of 6 for 34 and Clitheroe were all out for 115.

Clitheroe’s seam bowling attack is an experienced and skillful one, and on a pitch that was offering something, they were not out of the game. Tolley was the first man to go for 13, caught in the gully and Mitch Owen got one that nipped back and kept a touch low to be bowled for 14. With the 2 big guns in the shed, Clitheroe fancied their chances, but Taylor, increasing in maturity and confidence by the week, stood firm and his 27 under extreme pressure was vital. Norden lost 2 wickets with the score on 59 and then 2 more, including Taylor, on 79. Following on from last week, though, Nick Brierley and Humphreys came together to calm the nerves and get the job done. Brierley dropped anchor and Humphreys took the bowlers on. This combination did the trick and their unbroken stand of 37 sealed a 4 wicket win and 12 points. Humphreys finished 26*.
Saturday Scorecard:

Nobody really knew what to expect from opponents Vertex on Sunday. The winners of last year’s GMACL had been forced to switch the game to Stag Park due to the unavailability of their rented Warrington home and they won the toss and batted first in glorious sunshine. It was clear from the outset that aggression was going to be their method. Greg Butterworth used 7 bowlers and the youngsters, Taylor and Oli Kirkby were the most economical. Taylor’s 2 for 24 from 9 stood out a mile in a high-scoring game and Kirkby acquitted himself very well in hist first 1st team spell. The real fireworks in the Vertex innings came from number 9, Shirzad Rasul. Coming in at 144 for 7, he looked uncomfortable for a couple of balls and then proceeded to start smashing balls out of Stag Park with regularity. He struck 8 sixes in his 40-ball 73 and this saw Vertex get up to a competitive 237 for 8 from their 45.

Scott Butterworth opened up with Tolley and it was soon clear that Vertex were not as strong with ball as they had been with bat. Butterworth raced to 46 in just 20 balls before being bowled by the slow left arm of Yasin. This brought Owen to the crease, and in now seemingly typical Mitch style, he was not for hanging about. The Vertex bowling and fielding simply wasn’t up to the task and Tolley accumulated as Owen went bezerk. His 50 came up from 22 balls and there was going to be no stopping him as he hit 13 sixes in reaching his first Norden hundred in 46 balls. Finishing on 121*, with Tolley also unbeaten on 55, Norden cantered home by 9 wickets with 23.2 overs not required. The Stags will face GMCL side Edgworth at home in the next round.
LCF Knockout Scorecard:
LCF Knockout Highlights:

The 2nds managed to get their first league win of the season at home to Clitheroe on Saturday. Oli Kirkby was a real handful for the Clitheroe top-order early on and he picked up the first 2 wickets. Norden’s lack of bowling options became a bit of a problem for skipper Tom Booth, but the returning Waheed father and son duo performed well. Mo was his usual economical self and Sami took 4 wickets in his second spell, playing a big part in restricting Clitheroe to 165 all out, when 200+ had looked on the cards. A bit of a wobble saw Norden lose 3 quick wickets, but Danny Devine and Hashum Malik put on 117 for the 4th wicket. It was great to see Malik return to form and his biggest fan, Graham Fletcher, was in the crowd to see him make a match-winning 91. Devine’s 28 may not have been as eye-catching, but it was just as important, and it was a shame that both fell as the winning line was in sight. There were no more concerns, though, and a 5-wicket win was just what the boys needed. With players due back from school, exams and university soon, this will hopefully be the springboard to kick on with big league and cup games coming up next week.
2nd XI Scorecard:
2nd XI Highlights: