After the agonising Worsley Cup semi-final defeat to Clitheroe a fortnight previously, Norden faced the Chatburn Road club once again in the league on Saturday and then again in the first semi-final of t20 finals day early on Sunday morning. Stag Park hosted the first of these two encounters and Clitheroe captain Peter Dibb opted to bat first on a track that looked like it had plenty of runs in it. Dom Humphreys was unfortunate that neither of the two outside edges he induced from opener Ali Ross early on went to hand, but after that it was hard-going for the home bowlers. Tom Lord played particularly aggressively and his half-century contained 4 sixes and 5 fours. He became the first wicket to fall when he miscued Dean Lord to point with the score on 98 and sub-pro Richard Levi joined Ross in taking the game to Norden. The pair added 87 in 15 overs with Ross looking in complete control and Levi punishing anything loose with his power. Ross looked a touch disappointed to be given out L.B.W. to Ashar Zaidi when a long way forward but his 77 had helped lay the perfect platform for what was to come. Jack Dewhurst more than played his part in a partnership of 101 with Levi, made in just 12 overs, but the paid man was now starting to make Stag Park look like a very small ground and he brought up his century from just 67 balls. There was no let-up even when Dewhurst was well-taken on the long-off boundary by Zaidi off Greg Butterworth, with a further 33 runs scored from the final 2 overs. The visitors closed on an imposing 320 for 3 with Levi unbeaten on 131 and this represented a record-score for Clitheroe in Lancashire League cricket. Hashum Malik and Josh Tolley soon made it clear that they believed it was not an insurmountable total and they once again got Norden off to an excellent start. Malik struck 3 sixes in his better than a run-a-ball 38 before the extra pace of Cole Hayman provided the breakthrough as the Norden skipper was bowled looking to give himself room to play through the off-side. The pitch was still playing truly and Butterworth and Tolley came together for a partnership that gave Norden real hope. At 190 for 1 with 20 overs remaining and Zaidi still to come, it would not have been unreasonable to consider the home side marginal favourites at that point, but Ross provided the over that turned the game back in Clitheroe’s favour when Butterworth chipped to mid-off from the 1st ball of the 32nd and from the final ball Tolley was caught behind from a ball that gripped slightly. Smart captaincy combined with tight bowling and fielding now started to make things difficult for Zaidi to keep the strike. With no set batsman at the other end, the Norden middle-order struggled to find the gaps to pick up singles and wickets started to fall regularly as frustration set in. 8 wickets were lost for the addition of just 42, 5 of them to Ross, with Zaidi watching helplessly from the non-striker’s end. When he finally managed to farm a period of strike, there was just 1 wicket to play with and despite a valiant effort of 57* it was not enough and Norden fell 44 runs short, picking up 1 point for their efforts. Zaidi faced just 33 balls of the Norden innings and The Stags were left wondering what might have been had that number been much higher.

Saturday Scorecard

Saturday Highlights 1st XI v Clitheroe Highlights

There was not much time for the disappointment of Saturday to subside as a 10am start at Crompton once again had Norden in the field first and a familiar foe in Levi striding to the crease to open the Clitheroe innings in the t20 semi-final. Unfortunately, it seemed like The Stags hadn’t fully woken up yet as dropped catches and misfields cost them in the early stages. Usama Malik picked up 2 wickets but Clitheroe had been allowed to get off to a fast start and Levi, after being given a life, was continuing his good work from the previous day and finding the boundary with regularity. When Zaidi had his professional counterpart trapped in front for 45 there was great relief amongst the Norden ranks and a potential score of around 200 now looked like it might be reduced to something more manageable. Zaidi, Butterworth and Mo Munawar bowled tidily but the mistakes in the field continued as the Clitheroe batsmen looked to put pressure on with aggressive running. Dibb took 15 from the first 4 balls of the penultimate over and that felt significant as it pushed Clitheroe over what looked to be a par score and it would be 180 to win for Norden. Malik went early this time but Zaidi looked to be taking out his frustration of Saturday and was quickly into his stride with 3 sixes to put Norden ahead of the rate. The key blow was dealt, though, when Zaidi had reached 42 and he skied a ball from Sam Halstead and was caught by the substitute fielder who had taken the field immediately after 50+ year-old bowler Marcus Sharp had finished his 4 over allocation. Norden were still in the game but much depended on Tolley and Butterworth. Unfortunately, Butterworth picked out the deep-midwicket fielder with a slog-sweep that came right out the middle of the bat with 58 still required and despite Tolley reaching his half-century and Lee Crabtree and Stephen Pimm briefly threatening to provide the necessary support, it was not to be and another Clitheroe victory was the outcome, this time by 15 runs. Darwen went on to lift the trophy after defeating hosts Crompton in the semi-final and Clitheroe in the final. A big thanks and congratulations should go to Crompton who did a magnificent job in hosting a thoroughly enjoyable day. T20 Scorecard

T20 Scorecard :

The 2nd XI made the long trip to Clitheroe and returned empty-handed after a 64- run defeat.  There were 4 wickets for Oli holt as the hosts posted 194 for 9, as well as a first 2nd XI wicket for 13-year-old Jamie Taylor. Norden looked to be in good shape to chase it down at 60 without loss but that quickly became 69 for 5 and despite a good effort from James O’Neill, they could not recover.

2nd XI Scorecard

The one highlight of the weekend was provided by a young 3rd XI on Sunday afternoon. Steve Colmer led the side for the first time against a Lowerhouse 4th XI made up entirely of juniors. It was the slightly more experienced pair of Colmer and Ahsan Tariq who scored the bulk of the Norden runs, Tariq making an excellent 85, and Jimmy Drury provided a flourish at the death to take Norden to 237 for 7 from their 40 overs. Lowerhouse never threatened to get close and a fine spell of off-spin from Charlie Gooding brought him a first senior 5 for. There were 4 junior bowlers used and Alfie Radcliffe picked up a wicket with Will Hindley also impressing with his first spell in senior cricket.

3rd XI Scorecard

Stags Cruise Home at Towncroft

The combination of beautiful weather, the customary fine batting surface at Middleton’s Towncroft ground and two outstanding batting professionals always suggested a high-scoring encounter on Saturday and that indeed proved to be the case. Middleton elected to take first use of the pitch and it was clear from the opening overs that it was going to be a tough afternoon for the bowlers. Spin, in the form of Jack Taylor and Ash Zaidi, was introduced early but the Middleton openers Keelan Shipley and George Walker moved the score past 50. Zaidi bowled Walker with the score on 67 to bring Middleton professional and the Lancashire League’s leading run-scorer for the season, James Price, to the crease and the home support knew that a big score from him would be required if the home side were to post a total that would challenge the title-chasing visitors. Shipley fell just short of his half-century and Rehan Udwadia joined Price to provide the big partnership the innings required. Price was the main aggressor whilst Udwadia looked to accumulate steadily and the partnership had reached 123 when Price picked out Greg Butterworth on the long-off boundary off Taylor for 79 as he was really looking to open his shoulders with 5 overs remaining. Udwadia completed his own half-century, finishing unbeaten on 60, and Middleton closed on 237 for 4. Hashum Malik and Josh Tolley had Norden well ahead of the rate early on and although both fell to Thomas Rutter in relatively quick succession, this only served to bring Zaidi to the crease and Norden’s paid man looked in superb touch from the outset. He and Butterworth added 64 in 13 overs before Butterworth was cleaned up by Price and the equation for the visitors looked a comfortable one as long as Zaidi remained, needing 110 with half the overs remaining. That wicket, just the 7th to fall in the day, proved to be the final one as Harvey Fitton rediscovered his early season form and the two left-handers required just another 15 overs to get Norden past their victory target. Zaidi’s run-a-ball knock of 95* contained 17 boundaries and Fitton’s 55* included eight 4s and a 6. Norden remain in 2nd place in the table, 4 points behind Walsden and with Darwen, Burnley and Clitheroe not far behind it looks like an exciting title-race in prospect.

1st XI Scorecard

The 2nd XI hosted long-time league leaders Haslingden in the glorious sunshine at Stag Park and having lost the toss it would have been easy for Phil Docker’s team to resign themselves to a long afternoon in the field. The opening overs quickly showed that that was not their intention as a fantastic start with the ball and in the field resulted in Haslingden quickly being reduced to 7 for 3. When Oli Holt took the big wicket of Leighton Friend, the visitors were languishing on 60 for 5 but they showed why they are strong contenders for the 2nd XI title with a determined lower order fightback. Wicket-keeper Leon Brennan led it with 32 and Haslingden were able to creep up to 163 before losing their final wicket in the last over. Holt finished with 3 for 36 and there were 3 more wickets for Mo Munawar to take his season’s tally past 40 in all competitions. Jack Harrison and Zeshan Anwar fell early in the reply but Docker and Spencer Allen rebuilt initially before kicking on. This was not this pair’s first big partnership of the season and they took the game away from Haslingden with a century stand. Allen made 53 to take his 2nd XI total past 300 for the season at an average of over 43, once again showing his remarkable temperament for a player of his age and Docker finished unbeaten on 75 to guide his side to a 7 wicket win. This was high-quality, hard-fought 2nd team cricket which ended with the great sight of both teams sharing a beer on the outfield at its conclusion.

2nd XI Scorecard

2nd XI Highlights 2nd XI vs Haslingden Highlights

The Ecstasy and the Agony

Rarely, if ever, can Norden have been involved in two such dramatic games in succession as they were at the weekend. A short trip to Rochdale in the league and a Worsley Cup semi-final at home to Clitheroe always looked like it would make for an exciting double-header and so it proved.

On Saturday, Redbrook was the venue for a game that swung one way then the other pretty much throughout. Norden were put in and were going well at 106 for 2 with Josh Tolley and Ash Zaidi at the crease and 18 overs remaining. However, a collapse inspired by the excellent slow-left-arm of Rochdale professional Sean Whitehead, resulted in the visitors losing their final 8 wickets for just 34 runs. The pitch was certainly offering something for the spinners and Whitehead was ably supported by youngster Jacob Pauline in exploiting that and causing problems for all the Norden batsmen. Once Tolley had been bowled by Whitehead when just one run short of his half-century, the wickets fell with alarming regularity and seemingly in a blink of an eye Norden had been dismissed for just 140 and were facing an uphill task to take anything from the game. Whitehead returned the superb figures of 6 for 32 and Pauline 3 for 25, including the big scalp of Zaidi. In reply, Rochdale found things difficult from the start and were unable to put together a significant partnership. Zaidi was quickly into the action with the ball, removing Jack Duffy and Whitehead in his opening spell. Greg Butterworth and Sami Waheed also chipped in with wickets and the crowd were ‘treated’ to the little-seen off-breaks of Josh Tolley as skipper Malik looked for the extra spin-bowling option. At 83 for 7 the game looked up for Rochdale but Ali Muzaffar was still there having played resolutely at one end as wickets tumbled around him. He found an ally in home captain Jamie Roche and they put on 30 for the 8th wicket to put the game back in the balance. Zaidi returned to bowl Roche for 15 and followed up having Casey Roche caught at slip leaving 28 still to win from 4 overs as last man Steve Oddy joined Muzaffar in the middle. The set batsman now started to open his shoulders and took 13 from a Tolley and 6 singles from the next 2 overs left the equation at 9 runs required from the final over and Muzaffar to face Zaidi. A dot ball was followed by Muzaffar launching the ball over the ropes for 6 and bringing Rochdale to within touching distance but incredibly Zaidi was able to respond with 3 further dot balls and with 3, or more realistically a boundary, needed off the final ball Muzaffar danced down the track but missed and was stumped giving Norden not only the victory but also the maximum 12 points. Zaidi finished with the match-winning figures of 6 for 35.

Saturday Scorecard:

If the players and spectators had recovered from the previous day’s nerve-wracking encounter, they were not given much respite as Clitheroe came to Stag Park for a cup semi-final with both clubs knowing that a win would result in the honour of them hosting the final. Usama Malik could not have given Norden a much better start when he dismissed opener Thomas Lord and stand-in professional Kohli (not that one) in the 2nd over of the game. Ali Ross and Jack Dewhurst set about the rebuild and it wasn’t until the 23rd over that the next wicket fell when Waheed bowled Dewhurst. Ross chipped a return catch to Butterworth for a patient 38 before Sam Mulligan and skipper Peter Dibb were able to add some impetus to the Clitheroe innings but the Norden bowlers were able to keep things under control. Butterworth’s 10 overs yielded 4 wickets for just 17 runs and Jack Taylor continued his extremely promising start to his first-team career with 2 more wickets. Waheed returned to take the final wicket and Clitheroe had to make do with the below-par looking 177. Hashum Malik promoted himself to the top of the order and it looked an inspired move as he got off to a flying start despite Tolley and Harvey Fitton falling cheaply at the other end. Zaidi joined the skipper and at 90 for 2 inside 20 overs, things looked good for the home side. Zaidi might have considered himself a touch unfortunate to pick out the only man on the leg-side boundary when looking to take on a short ball from Kohli and when Malik missed a sweep on 55, Clitheroe could sense an opportunity. Butterworth had looked in no trouble in making 18 before he chipped up a tame catch in the ring but Stephen Pimm and Lee Crabtree seemed to have taken the heat out of the situation in reducing the target to just 24 with the run-rate never a problem and 5 wickets remaining. Sam Halstead returned from the Woodhouse Lane end after receiving some harsh treatment from Malik with the new ball and he provided the spark for Clitheroe which turned the match on its head. Pimm misjudged a ball that nipped back and was bowled shouldering arms before Dom Humphreys and Taylor committed the cardinal sin of going back to full balls at Stag Park and were trapped in front from consecutive deliveries. Waheed joined Crabtree and they were given no let-up by some excellent Clitheroe bowling. The pressure was mounting by the ball and with 9 needed Waheed was bowled by a fine delivery from Dewhurst and the tension was unbearable. Last man Usama Malik came to the crease and Crabtree decided he had to take on the small boundary after Halstead had finished his spell. He aimed for the garage at straight midwicket but failed to make contact to a straight ball from Cole Hayman and the death rattle followed by whooping cheers from the Clitheroe players and their sizeable travelling crowd sounded the end of Norden’s Worsley Cup hopes.

Sunday Scorecard:

A fine bowling display gave the 2nds a comfortable victory on Saturday. Norden’s innings was a case of batsmen getting in and getting out with 4 of the top 5 falling for scores between 18 and 29. Some useful lower-order runs from Mo Munawar and Usama Malik helped the Stags up to 166 all out with veteran Robin Jackson the man who inflicted most of the damage, taking 5 for 26. Malik and Munawar then turned their attention to their main job with the ball and they proved far too good for the visiting batsmen, sharing 7 wickets for just 54 runs in superb opening spells. Melbourne Austin finished a good day for the older generation with the final 3 wickets to bowl Rochdale out for 57 and complete a 109 run victory.

2nd XI Scorecard:

Stags Keep Treble Hopes Alive

Norden went into a tough 3 game weekend with 4 trophies still to play for and finished it with the possibility of a Lancashire League treble still intact. The league title push had taken a hit last week but Norden bounced back in fine style with a maximum point home victory over Lowerhouse, who themselves had hopes of forcing themselves up into the group of contenders. Hashum Malik opted to bowl first in a match reduced to 36 overs a side but the Lowerhouse opening pair got off to a fine start and added 50 within the first 9 overs. As so often, it was Ash Zaidi who provided the breakthrough and once he had the home side were able to calm the run-rate by picking up wickets at regular intervals. Sami Waheed had visiting professional Stephen Parry caught behind and Dom Humphreys, although wicketless with the ball, provided the spark in the field with 2 run-outs and an outstanding catch at long-on to dismiss the dangerous Francois Haasbroek. A total that had looked like being in the region of 200 early on ended up at 158 all-out with 2 crucial overs left unfaced and Norden appeared to be favourites at half-way. Malik and Josh Tolley started in similar vein to their counterparts so when Malik skied to long-on off Parry it allowed Greg Butterworth to join Tolley and play risk-free cricket. Their partnership broke the back of the run chase and totalled 85 when Butterworth was bowled on the sweep for 39. Some tight bowling from the visitors meant that when Tolley was dismissed for a fine 67 looking to hit a decisive boundary, there were still 10 runs needed from 11 balls. Lee Crabtree looked to have decided things with a straight 6 but apparently the Lowerhouse fielder at long-on could not tell if his spiked cricket boots were in contact with concrete or grass as he palmed the ball back into play from beyond the rope and after an initial signal of 6 the umpires decided that they didn’t have a clear enough view and such awarded just a single. Norden were not to be denied though, and 2 boundaries from Zaidi finished the job. The match saw Norden professional, Ashar Zaidi, pass the milestones of 1000 runs and 50 wickets for the season in all competitions; a superb effort with nearly half the season still to come.

Saturday Scorecard

Saturday Highlights 1st XI v Lowerhouse Highlights

Friday night saw a trip to Scott Street to face Walsden in the t20 quarter-finals. Excellent bowling from Butterworth, Humphreys and Zaidi in particular restricted the home side to 163 for 6, with Joe Gale and Umesh Karunaratne both making half-centuries. Hashum Malik showed yet again why he is still such a destructive player, particularly in this format, with a rapid 36 from just 12 balls and this set the platform for a masterclass from Zaidi. His unbeaten 81 from 56 balls was made without breaking sweat and the Stags will head to Crompton for finals day on the 25th of July.

Friday Scorecard

Unfortunately, Norden’s hold on the LCFKO trophy came to an end on Sunday afternoon. A tough draw away to Ormskirk saw Norden once again bowling first and the hosts looked on course to post a sizeable first innings score when well set on 97 for 1 with 20 overs gone. The Stags battled hard, though, and dragged themselves back into the game. 16-year-old Jack Taylor was particularly impressive with figures of 3 for 34 from 8 overs and Ormskirk had to settle for 202 for 9 from their 45. With rain on the way, a DLS calculation looked inevitable at some stage but a disastrous flurry of early wickets meant that Norden were never going to be on the right side of it and when the heavens opened after 8.3 overs of the reply it was Ormskirk who deservedly took their place in the semi-finals.

Sunday Scorecard

The 2nds, again missing a number of players, had their game at Lowerhouse reduced to 25 overs-a-side. The home side looked to be falling short at 100 for 8 but an unbeaten 9th wicket partnership of 65 meant that the chase looked to be a tough one. Alfie Radcliffe bowled a superb spell on his debut, taking 4 for 26 for the Stags who fell 27 runs shy of their target despite a half-century from skipper Phil Docker and 40 from Spencer Allen

2nd XI Scorecard

Ormskirk CC – Visitors Guidance

We look forward to welcoming you to our club on Sunday 4 July. Please find below the specific plans and guidance we have in place to try and ensure all our players, spectators and volunteers remain safe, in line with the ECB’s Step 3 guidance:

Symptoms – Please remind all your players/spectators not to attend if they display any symptoms or are required to isolate. If symptoms develop during the game, then please follow published guidelines.

Track & trace – The Club is obliged to maintain a track and trace record of all persons visiting the Club. This will be done by use of QR code or a written register (kept for 21 days).

Parking – The entrance and exit to the car park are the same. It is not possible to organise a separate entrance and exit. Please bear this in mind when arriving/leaving.

Changing Rooms – These can now be used and your team will directed to the room/s available. Signage will indicate maximum capacity for each room and for use of the showers. All rooms will have been cleaned after last use. Windows and doors should be kept open when occupied to allow ventilation. Sanitiser will be available.

Kit – Whilst the game is progressing, players can leave their kit in the outdoor marquee or in the changing room/s allocated. Changing rooms may be locked when not occupied. The Club accepts no responsibility for any valuables that are left with kit or unattended.

Hand Sanitisation – Players must ensure they bring their own personal hand sanitiser for the game.

Bar – Our bar will be open and staff will be serving drinks for seated indoor and outdoor consumption in accordance with current Guidance and subject to capacity. Please do not approach the bar and follow any instructions given by staff.

Food – The Club caterer, Square Leg, will be open and offering food for seated indoor and outdoor consumption in accordance with current Guidance and also a takeaway service. You will be served at your table.

Spectators – Spectators are now permitted but we ask that spectators maintain social distancing and do not spectate from the outdoor hospitality area unless consuming food/drink purchased from the Club.

Hospitality – Food and drink can now be served inside and outside. You must be seated – NO SEAT NO SERVICE. Please remind all visitors coming from your Club to use OCC hospitality to observe the RULE OF 6/2 HOUSEHOLD RULE and to not touch the ball at any time. Patrons can park in the Club car park. Please remind them to bring their own supply of sanitiser.

Match Manager – the Club will appoint a Match Manager for your game. The Match Manager for your game will be Bill Rankin unless notified otherwise.

Inclement Weather – In the event of rain interruptions players and spectators can shelter under the balcony of the new build or return to their cars. The changing rooms will be available for players but we encourage them to continue to avoid doing so.

Conduct – Please ask all players and spectators to respect the above points and comply with our test and trace procedure. If anybody (from either side) does not comply with our guidance they may be asked to leave the club.

If you have any questions prior to your visit, please visit where you can find a copy of the Club’s Risk Assessments or contact the Club on:

Best Wishes

Dave Croft

Club Secretary

Stags Lose Grip on Top Spot

Defending champions Burnley came to Stag Park on Sunday and put in an excellent all-round performance to hand Norden their 3rd league defeat of the season and push them down to 3rd in the Lancashire League table. Hashum Malik elected to bat first but there was assistance for the bowlers from the outset and the home side struggled early on against the accurate medium-pace of Fergus Bailey and the off-spin of professional Ockert Erasmus. The hosts were unable to put a meaningful partnership together as wickets fell regularly throughout the innings. Greg Butterworth worked hard for his 44 only to be on the wrong end, not for the first time this season, of what seemed to be a pretty average L.B.W. decision as he appeared to get a big inside edge onto his pad but there was a rare failure for Ashar Zaidi as Erasmus found a thin edge through to the keeper. It looked like the Stags might struggle to post anything like a competitive score but Dom Humphreys showed the form that everyone knows he’s capable of with the bat and he took the fight back to Burnley. His half-century came at virtually a run-a-ball as he guided Norden past the 150 mark and up to 175 before being dismissed from the penultimate ball of the innings. Opinion on the boundary seemed split as to whether that would prove a challenging target but the Burnley openers, Mathew Roberts and Joe Marshall, got off to a solid start and added 50 for the first wicket before Butterworth got the breakthrough having Roberts caught at slip. Chris Holt joined Marshall and they moved the score up towards 100 but Humphreys returned for a second spell and removed both set batsmen in quick succession to give Norden a sniff. Unfortunately that didn’t last long as Erasmus and Chris Burton took the sting out of the situation before moving up a gear. There were plenty of confident appeals from the home bowlers but nothing went their way and an unbroken partnership of 75 led Burnley to a comfortable 7 wicket win with 7 overs to spare. Norden now sit 2 points behind joint leaders Walsden and Clitheroe and will have the opportunity to bounce back at home to Lowerhouse on Saturday.

1st XI Scorecard

1st XI Highlights

There was better news on Friday night as Norden scraped through to the quarter-finals of the t20 competition. A comfortable home win against Bacup coupled with Littleborough’s tie at Haslingden meant that the Stags went through in 2nd place in their group and will travel to Walsden this coming Friday for the chance to reach finals day. Friday saw Josh Tolley, Zaidi and Lee Crabtree put in good performances with the bat as Norden set the visitors 187 to win and they never threatened to get close as all 5 of Norden’s bowlers got something in the wicket column to complete an 86 run victory.

T20 Scorecard

T20 Highlights

The 2nd and 3rd teams both suffered defeats on the road. The 2nds were soundly beaten at Burnley with the only real highlight in a 9 wicket defeat being a first 2nd XI wicket for promising young off-spinner Charlie Gooding. The 3rds were also bowled out cheaply at Clitheroe on Saturday despite good battling knocks from Gooding and fellow junior Joseph Golden. A remarkable opening spell of 5 for 4 from Matthew Findlow left the hosts in trouble but they were able to stumble over the line. The match marked Simon Wystawnoha’s final game as 3rd XI captain and the club would like to place on record their thanks for Simon’s hard work and commitment to a very difficult job at any club.

2nd XI Scorecard

3rd XI Scorecard

Annual General Meeting

The clubs AGM will take place on Thursday the 1st of July. The meeting will start at 19:45 and is open to all members

Any member wishing to request a copy of the accounts should e-mail

Ash Shows His Class

A superb weekend for Norden professional, Ashar Zaidi, kept the Stags on top of the Lancashire League table and put them into the semi-finals of the Worsley Cup for the first time. On Saturday he made his first century of the season to set up a total of 254 for 5 after winning the toss at Todmorden. After losing the top 3 cheaply, Zaidi found more than able support in the form of Lee Crabtree and the pair combined for a partnership of 127 with Crabtree making 55 before falling to Andrew Sutcliffe. His dismissal did not halt Zaidi’s progress though as the paid man struck 17 fours and 3 sixes in his knock of 138 not out from 140 deliveries. Todmorden were never really in the hunt and lost wickets regularly in reply. Zaidi picked up 4 for himself to cap a magnificent performance and there was one each for Humphreys, Waheed, Malik and Butterworth. The only downside for the visitors was that Todmorden’s last pair put on an unbeaten 42 to deny Norden the 2 bowling bonus points.

Saturday Scorecard

On Sunday Hashum Malik’s men made the short trip to Redbrook to face local rivals Rochdale in the quarter-final of the Worsley Cup. Rochdale elected to bat first but lost James Maurice-Scott, who had struck a century at Stag Park earlier in the season, early to Dom Humphreys. Andrew Dawson was joined by home professional Sean Whitehead and they put on 80 for the 2nd wicket, but at a pace that suggested Rochdale were looking to post a score of around 200 rather than set their sights higher. Dawson went on to a half-century before becoming one of Zaidi’s 3 wickets and Norden managed to halt any acceleration with tight bowling from all 5 bowlers used and some excellent fielding, including a direct hit from the boundary by Butterworth to run out Jack Duffy. Rochdale closed on 198 for 7, certainly enough to be competitive on a large ground, but no more than that. As it turned out, it was nowhere near enough as, despite Aaron Brown picking up Harvey Fitton and Butterworth in quick succession, Josh Tolley continued his fine recent form and Zaidi joined him to put on a century stand and have the Stags well ahead of the rate at all times. Crabtree and Zaidi saw Norden over the line with more than 10 overs to spare for a comprehensive 7 wicket win. Zaidi finished unbeaten on 88 to take his weekend tally to 226 runs without being dismissed. Norden will host Clitheroe in the semi-finals with the winners to stage the final.

Sunday Scorecard

The 2nds had a narrow victory against Todmorden on Saturday. It was a struggle for the Stags batting first as the two Todmorden spinners, Stuart Priestley and Hamza Ali, combined for 5 for 59 from their 24 permitted overs. James O’Neill and Phil Docker were in recovery mode when they came together at 86 for 6 and they were able to see off the remaining overs of spin to allow Chris Hartley to come in against the returning seamers and hit a quickfire 27* to get Norden up to 160 for 7 from their 45. Hartley then removed both visiting openers in between a 13 ball over and pulling his hamstring, and Mo Munawar picked up 4 wickets to leave Tod languishing on 70 for 7. Some aggressive hitting from Kai Abbas made things interesting but Dean Lord found the bowling rhythm he has been searching for this season to take 2 wickets, including that of Abbas, and Melbourne Austin finished the job to give Norden the maximum 12 points and keep them in the hunt near the top of the Division 1 table.

2nds Scorecard

2nds Highlights 2nd XI vs Todmorden Highlights

Malik Holds Nerve to Finish the Perfect Weekend

Usama Malik produced a superb final over under pressure to send holders Norden through to the last 8 of the LCFKO Cup on Sunday evening and complete a fantastic weekend for the club, which also saw them return to the top of the Lancashire League division 1 table. Visitors Denton St. Lawrence looked to have timed their run chase perfectly when Ben Tighe took 14 runs from the first 5 balls of Greg Butterworth’s penultimate over to the short legside boundary but when Tighe hit a low full toss straight to Harvey Fitton at long-on off the final ball of that over it gave Norden a chance. A run-a-ball was required from the final 6 deliveries but Denton were down to their final wicket. 3 singles to start were followed by 2 dots as Malik mixed his pace and the final ball produced a swing and a miss, half an appeal for caught behind and a huge cheer from the crowd.

Norden’s innings started badly when Fitton was bowled by Scott Kirwin but Josh Tolley and Butterworth both looked in good touch and moved the score along nicely until Tolley was caught behind. Ash Zaidi joined Butterworth and at 100 for 2 at the half-way stage, Norden looked set for a total well in excess of 200. However, both set batsmen fell either side of drinks and it was left to the middle-order to get the home side to a competitive score. Hashum Malik, Lee Crabtree and Dom Humphreys all made it into the 20’s but Tighe removed all 3 on his way to 5 for 50 from his 9 overs and the final total of 196 for 9 felt a little below-par on a good pitch. Malik got Norden off to the perfect start by having skipper Adam Hawley caught by Crabtree off the first ball of the reply and things were looking good for the home side when they got the 2 big wickets of Kirwin and professional Neil Hornbuckle, bowled by a beauty from Zaidi, before the score had reached 50. Opener Matt Sonczak holed out to deep midwicket and Butterworth bowled Dan Moriarty round his legs to leave Denton struggling on 78 for 5 but Norden, with only 4 established and fit 1st team bowlers in the side, had to find some overs from somewhere and Liam Parkinson was able to take advantage, hitting 27 off 2 overs from Dean Lord. Skipper Hashum Malik had no choice but to return to his main bowlers and Parkinson moved to an excellent half-century, but Sami Waheed returned to bowl a superb spell and picked up 2 wickets, including Parkinson, to finish with 3 for 25. The game looked over at 146 for 8 but then a game of cat and mouse ensued with Tighe and Ethan Illingworth knowing that if they took the game deep they would have 3 overs to face from the 5th/6th bowling option. They did just that but Malik showed skill and nerve to bowl those 3 overs for just 14 runs and give the home side the victory. Norden will travel to Ormskirk in the quarter-final.  
Sunday Scorecard
Sunday Highlights

Saturday saw then league leaders and rivals Walsden make the trip to Stag Park. The visitors won a good toss and batted first but Norden’s bowlers chipped away at Walsden’s powerful batting line-up, taking wickets at good times and keeping the run-rate under control. Professional Umesh Karunaratne was the mainstay of the innings, making 66, but the hosts were understandably aggrieved that he wasn’t given run-out on 27 after good work at backward point from Dom Humphreys. Matt Dawson provided good support but it was only when Joe Gale joined Karunaratne that things threatened to get out of hand for the Stags. Gale is a powerful striker of the ball and he hit 2 sixes and 3 fours in a quick-fire 37 before mis-timing a drive off Sami Waheed and finding Pimm in the deep. Waheed was rewarded with 4 wickets after sticking to his task admirably after a difficult start and his bowling at the death, alongside the ever-reliable Zaidi and Butterworth, meant that the target to chase remained well within reach at 223. Tolley and Fitton got off to a flyer and when Fitton was bowled by Karunaratne there were already 76 on the board in under 10 overs. Butterworth was the victim of a very poor L.B.W. decision and had Martin Harlow been able to cling on to a catch at deep-midwicket off Zaidi when he was on just 4, things could have looked a little dicey but Tolley was still going well at the other end and his partnership of 93 with Zaidi made for a pretty comfortable chase. Tolley finally went for a splendid 79 and Zaidi remained unbeaten on 88 as the Stags cruised home with 6 wickets and 3 and a half overs remaining. Credit should go to the umpires for remaining strong in the face of some extremely vociferous appeals and the richly deserved win means Norden hold a 4-point lead at the top of the table.
Saturday Scorecard
Saturday Highlights

There was also a t20 win on Friday night as Zaidi and Fitton guided Norden home with an over to spare chasing Todmorden’s 141 all out. Butterworth took 4 for 12 and Waheed 3 for 22 whilst visiting professional Murasingh hit 63 for Tod but Tolley and Hashum Malik put on a rapid 66 for the opening wicket allowing Zaidi to play within himself and put the Stags into the qualifying places in the Manchester Craft division with 2 games to go. Friday Scorecard
Friday Highlights

The 2nds had a nail-biting win at Scott Street on Saturday after a late Walsden collapse meant they fell 22 runs short of their target of 260. Danny Devine, Jack Harrison and Zeshan Anwar made good contributions up top without going on to make a big score but the man in form, Dean Lord, struck an unbeaten run-a-ball 67 to follow up from his century the week before and James O’Neill added 41 to leave Norden big favourites at the break. When Oli Holt got the big wicket of Jon Lord with 123 still required, it looked good for Phil Docker’s men but a partnership of 86 between Chris Lord and big-hitting Junaid Khan took Walsden to within touching distance. Mo Waheed castled Khan to start the collapse and he and Melbourne Austin took the final 6 wickets between them for just 14 runs to spark wild celebrations in the Norden ranks.
2nds Scorecard

Stags fall just short at Glebe Street.

After a week of warm weather, all eyes were on the toss at Glebe street on what looked like a very good pitch for batting.  Unfortunately for the stags, Hashum Malik called incorrectly and Crompton skipper Mohammed Jamal took the first opportunity to bat.

Norden started well with the ball with both Dom Humphreys and Sami Waheed regularly beating the bat and it was the latter who drew first blood removing the advancing Sam Rigbys off stump. Denis Louis joined Stephen Wright at the crease but just as the partnership was building, it was Waheed again who struck having Wright caught behind.  Louis fell shorty after, LBW to Hartley, a decision he showed his displeasure at.  This brought both Captain Jamal and Professional Imran Khalid to the crease.  A long period of risk free, sensible batting saw both bring up their individual half centuries along with a hundred run partnership. 

After both Greg Butterworth and Asher Zaidi has provided some tight overs of spin, Jamal tried to go big but was caught by Dom Humphreys on the boundary.  Pro Khalid was then run out superbly by a Tolley direct hit and wickets began to crumble to Zaidi and Butterworth.   The Stags sensed they could bowl Crompton out for a total below par but with a late rally from an injured Aqib Zulifqar, Crompton were bowled out for 206.  The last wicket providing a catch of the season contender after Harvey Fitton misjudged a catch on the square leg boundary.  He chased back and caught it one handed, akin to the famous Ben Stokes catch for England.

Norden’s reply couldn’t have got off to a wores start, losing Tolley LBW, Fitton caught behind and Asher Zaidi caught in the slips.  The Stags were in trouble at 18-3.  One man who refused to be beaten was Greg Butterworth and he led the counter attack with some lovely stroke play.  Him and Lee Crabtree begun the rebuild and saw Norden advance to 76, before Zuhaib knocked back Crabtrees stumps.  Dom Humphreys grafted with the now fluent Butterworth but found the hands of Louis at first slip for 2.

Young Spencer Allen joined Butterworth at the crease and showed maturity to begin Nordens fightback.  He batted sensibly and supported Butterworth taking the score past 3 figures.  Greg Butterworth reached his fifty and begun to attack.  The pair took the score past 150 and Norden looked in the game.  After a period of tight bowling and with overs running out, Allen was out LBW for 32, ending a 67 run partnership.  Captain Malik came and went which brought Sami Waheed to the crease.  At this point, Norden needed 35 off the last 4 overs.  Norden kept pushing but Butterworths terrific innings came to an end in the penultimate over, out stumped for a wonderful 88. Unfortunately it proved in vain as despite a late flurry from Jack Harrison and Sami Waheed, the stags fell 7 short after the former was caught with 2 balls left.

Norden pick up 7 points on the road, but they’ll feel the game should have been won. Scorecard :

The 2nds got back to winning ways with a comprehensive victory at Stag Park. The star of the show was Dean Lord who struck his first century for the club and he was ably supported by Zeshan Anwar’s 67 and Usama Malik’s 5 for 34. Lord wasn’t fluent at the start of his knock after coming in at 61 for 4 but Anwar was playing beautifully at the other end, allowing him time to get in, and once he got going the Crompton bowlers were dispatched to all parts of the ground with regularity. Sitting on 81 with just 2 overs of the innings remaining, it looked unlikely Lord would reach the magical 3 figures but with the small legside boundary in his sights he launched into a brutal assault on Lucas Devine, taking just 4 more deliveries to bring up his 100 from 94 balls. 29 came from that over in total and Norden finished on an imposing 276 for 7 from their 45 overs. Lord remained unbeaten on 110*. Malik cleaned up both of Crompton’s openers and there were wickets too for Mo Munawar and Matt Findlow as the visitors struggled in reply. The only frustration for the Stags was that they were unable to pick up the final wicket to secure maximum points, although a victory margin of 132 runs should surely be deserving of a full quota.

2nd XI Scorecard

2nd XI Highlights

The 3rd team almost managed to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat on Saturday but Crompton ultimately left Stag Park with the win after scrambling over the line with a couple of overs remaining. Mohammad Omar and Mo Waheed both made 34 as Norden posted 157 for 8 from their 40 overs. A second wicket partnership of 127 between Mason Everton and Jozef Kobyra looked to have led the visitors to a comfortable chase but a flurry of wickets meant there were unexpected late nerves before Lucas Devine just managed to clear mid-on to hit the winning boundary. Mo Munawar took 3 for 14 and skipper Simon Wystawnoha 2 for 2 and he must have been left wondering what might have been had he introduced himself into the attack sooner. 

3rd XI Scorecard

3rd XI Highlights