Frustrating weekend leaves Walsden with it all to do in the title race

editorial image

Walsden host Rochdale on Saturday and travel to Werneth on Sunday with their hopes of retaining the Central Lancashire League title hanging by a thread.

James Rawlinson’s side have slipped 15 points behind Norden after adding only two to their tally last weekend.

Walsden paid the price for a poor batting display at Heywood on Saturday, losing by six wickets to last season’s cup final conquerors.

They were then denied a chance to press home their advantage at home to Royton on Sunday by an abandonment and news of Norden’s second maximum points success of the weekend rubbed salt into the wounds.

“There is a big gap between us now and the way Norden are playing means it is going to be a tall order,” said Walsden spokesman Kenny Gale.

The Scott Street club’s best chance of first team silverware seems to be in the Lancashire Cup, in which they travel to Norden in the last four.

Walsden scored 167 at Heywood with Nick Barker the top scorer on 41. At 130 for four the visitors looked capable of a decent total but they collapsed after Joe Gale holed out to deep mid-wicket and Barker was run out soon after.

The returning Richard Sladdin took three wickets to leave Heywood 80 for four but that was the limit of the visitors’ success as Aussie Tom Cullen (58 no) stood firm.

News of Norden’s 27-run win over Rochdale left Walsden determined to beat Royton on Sunday.

Rain meant a 30 overs per side contest got under way at 3.15pm and Sri Lankan Umesh Karunaratne took five for 33 as the visitors plunged from 66 for two to 115 all out.

Walsden had reached 26 for the loss of Rawlinson when the players came off for rain.

The game was eventually abandoned at 7pm even though Walsden felt conditions were better than when the game had got under way.

Walsden seconds’ hopes of catching Norden were damaged by defeat at Unsworth on Sunday, when they they were hit by a couple of cry-offs.

Stuart Hanson’s side, easy winners over Heywood on Saturday, play their rescheduled Burton Cup final at Norden on Bank Holiday Monday.