Tolley Keeps Stags Fighting on All Fronts

Norden finally registered an away victory in the league as they comfortably beat bottom club Ramsbotton at Acre Bottom on Saturday. The star of the show was once again Josh Tolley, who quite remarkably hit another century as Norden piled up 271 for 6 from their 50 overs. Tolley got good support from the rest of the top order, with Lee Crabtree and Greg Butterworth helping the score up to 117 for 2 before Ashar Zaidi joined Tolley. Zaidi smashed 59 from just 39 balls, including 7 fours and a six as he added impetus to the innings. Tolley also began to accelerate and Ramsbottom could not stop the flow of runs. Tolley finished on 122* from 141 balls with 7 fours and 4 sixes. The Norden opener now has 895 runs this season in all competitions, with 6 centuries. The record books look like they may well be completely re-written come mid-September.

Ramsbottom, without a win in the league all season, were going to have to produce something extraordinary if they were to chase down their target and, not for the first time this season, Scott Butterworth made the task even harder with an early wicket, trapping Brad Fielding in front without scoring. All of Ramsbottom’s other batters got starts but none could kick on in the way Tolley had and the required rate continued to climb. The Butterworth brothers shared 6 wickets and there were 2 for Zaidi as the hosts were bowled out for 213 in the 47th over. The 12 points keeps Norden within striking distance of leaders Lowerhouse, despite the league position of 7th. With the top 10 teams all seemingly capable of beating each other, it promises to be an extremely exciting season as we reach the half-way point next weekend.
1st XI Scorecard:

On Sunday, Norden headed to the seaside to face Morecambe in the 2nd round of the LCF Knockout. The Palace Shield side proved to be no match for The Stags as 4 wickets from Dean Lord helped bowl the home team out for just 133. Tolley was in no mood to hang around and he raced to 50 in just 36 balls. Zaidi continued his aggression of the weekend with 38* from 25, finishing the match with 3 sixes as Norden chased down the target with over 20 overs to spare. Another away trip, this time to Wigan, awaits in the next round.

Friday night saw a very healthy Stag Park crowd witness a truly remarkable game of cricket, with Greenmount professional Jacques Snyman producing an innings that not many will forget in a hurry. Norden batted first and a quickfire 91 from 50 balls from Zaidi helped take the total to over the 200 mark. The umpires then saw fit to penalise Greenmount for a slow over rate, so another 38 runs were added to the target meaning a daunting 245 was needed for victory. Not many gave the division 2 side a chance, but Snyman has been in remarkable form in recent weeks and he and fellow opener Evan Williams showed from the off that they still fancied their chances. Sami Waheed picked up 2 wickets for Norden, including the dangerous Williams for 30, but Snyman was starting to go ballistic at the other end. The box of spare balls was soon empty as they vanished to all parts of the village, with no Norden bowler spared. The South African struck 13 sixes as he took the visitors to an incredible victory with 4 balls remaining. Snyman finished on 164* from just 70 balls in one of the best displays of hitting this ground has ever witnessed.
T20 Scorecard:

It was a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’ for the 2nds, who followed up their excellent victory at Burnley with a poor display at home to Ramsbottom. Having won the toss and elected to bat, it looked like the strong home batting line-up should be set for a big total. Unfortunately, a series of poor shots meant that the innings never got going. Only Kabir Ahmed reached 30 and Norden were grateful for 31 extras from the visitors. Skipper Phil Docker left the field a frustrated figure as he remained 23* having run out of partners as Norden could manage just 170 on a good pitch and a short boundary from the Woodhouse Lane end. Unfortunately, the bowling effort was no better and Ramsbottom needed only 28 overs to knock off the runs. A big improvement will be needed for the Junior Cup quarter-final next week.
2nd XI Scorecard:
2nd XI Highlights: Highlights: 2nd XI vs Ramsbottom 10.6.23 – YouTube