Duo boost Walsden after double blow

Steve Barker
Steve Barker

The cavalry is on the way for Walsden, whose hopes of retaining the Central Lancashire League title suffered a double blow last weekend.

Chris Dewhirst’s side collected only one point from games against Milnrow and Norden and they have dropped to fourth place in the eight-team Premier Division, eight points behind leaders Heywood.

The Scott Street side need a tonic and it could come in the form of overseas man Shuhbam Harkal and Stevie Barker.

Walsden spokesman Kenny Gale said Harkal’s wait for a visa was over and he was due to arrive tomorrow. Whether the Indian all-rounder would be able to jump straight into first team action after his flight remained to be seen.

Quick bowler Barker retuns after injury in this weekend’s one match at home to Rochdale on Saturday.

“It is a bit of a boost - hopefully we will be able to pick from a full strength squad,” said Gale.

Walsden’s first setback last weekend came at Milnrow, where they elected to field and reduced the hosts from 56 without loss to 96 for five.

Pro Richard Sladdin went on to return excellent figures of eight for 60 but the home tail wagged and the visitors were left chasing 174 to win against a good, all left-arm bowling attack.

Arron Brown dismissed the top four Walsden batsmen and although Jake Hooson made 31 the visitors slipped to 60 for five.

Sladdin (22) and Joe Gale (25) tried to mount a fightback but Pakistani pro Babar Naeem (five for 38) cleared up the tail and Walsden were all out for 133.

Sunday’s home four-wicket home defeat to a Norden side which was registering a first win of the season was even more disappointing.

Only James Rawlinson (48) of the top six made any runs as Walsden were left floundering at 78 for six.

Sladdin (34), Jamie Shackleton (37) and Joe Gale (17) got the total up to a respectable 189 but that didn’t prove to be quite enough.

Norden’s South African Michael Price batted throughout with 84 not out and although wickets fell at the other end, Greg Tattersall (46) chanced his arm to help complete victory for the visitors.

The second and third teams were involved in run-fests on the same wicket at Walsden on Saturday and Monday.

Dan Bailey (90), Paul Marrow (72 no) and Stuart Hanson (five wickets) helped the seconds get the better of Werneth in a 524-run contest.

However, the thirds lost narrowly to Stand on Monday in spite of`127 from Ryan Howley. That contest produced 631 runs.