Key bowlers absent for Walsden

Facing a busy afternoon: Walsden's Sri Lankan spinner Umesh Karunaratne
Facing a busy afternoon: Walsden's Sri Lankan spinner Umesh Karunaratne

Walsden will go to Royton on Saturday stripped of four front-line bowlers in their continued quest for a third successive Central Lancashire League title.

Jamie Shackleton, who leads the attack, is having his stag weekend in Portugal and Stevie Barker and Josh Gale are also making the trip along with wicketkeeper Dan Howley.

It was hoped last year’s professional Richard Sladdin, the ex-county spinner now playing as an amateur, would be fit to return after a shoulder injury.

However, he is still sidelined and the team has a couple of unfamiliar faces in teenage brothers Cameron and Jack Hanson.

They are drafted in along with the more experienced Matthew Dawson and Kristian Halstead.

Of that trio only Cameron Hanson is a bowling option so Sri Lankan Umesh Karunartne faces a busy afternoon with backing from Jake Hooson, Joe Gale, Nick Barker and overseas amateur Riaz Pathan.

Walsden spokesman Kenny Gale said: “It is a blow that Sladds is not fit.

“We had hoped he might have been able to give it a go for this week especially and see how it went.

“It is a blow when you consider Royton have a batsman as their professional (South African Pieter Malan) and although he hasn’t really fired yet it would be just our luck if he did so this weekend.”

Jack Hanson, 16, is a particularly interesting selection after his 144 for the thirds last weekend.

Walsden are second in the table, five points behind Norden, and they are yet to face Royton this season. The league meeting scheduled for Scott Street on Saturday, May 24 was washed out.

Walsden will go into their only game of the weekend in good heart after rattling up a hat-trick of wins last Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

It started with a five-wicket Twenty/20 win at Littleborough on Friday.

However, the result was academic with the hosts already through from the group and Walsden having lost their two earlier games.

Walsden beat Lancashire League leaders Church by 24 runs away on Saturday in the second round of the Lancashire Cup. They will now meet Glossop at home in a game to be played by July 6.

Karanuratne made 70 and skipper James Rawlinson 39 as Walsden overcame the handicap of having their overs reduced to 35 by rain in mid-innings.

A total of 165 for eight proved enough withShackleton knocking over Church’s top three and Josh Gale also picking up three wickets.

Time was running out for Walsden to bowl their remaining overs without penalty and they just managed to pick up the final Church wicket, with the total on 141, before 8pm.

Walsden’s weekend was completed with a second win of the season over Werneth.

Rawlinson’s side cruised to an eight-wicket success but their failure to pick up the final home wicket meant they had to settle for four points.

Overseas amateur Levi Thompson made 35 at the top of the home order before becoming one of four victims for Karunaratne.

Werneth were 94 for six, Josh Gale having trapped overseas man Zimmy Khan for nine, but a couple of dropped catches meant the home side batted out on 148 for nine.

Hooson anchored the reply with 54 not out and Karunaratne brought the contest to a conclusion with 46 not out.

Tomorrow

Walsden (away to Royton): J Rawlinson, N Barker, M Dawson, j Hooson, Joe Gale, R Pathan, K Halstead, D Brown, C Hanson, J ack Hanson.

Walsden II (home to Unsworth): S Hanson, J Lord, D Bailey, C Dewhirst, T Illingworth, M.Halstead, Joe Hanson, J Steven, G Connor, O Whitehead, J Mitchell. Meet noon.

Sunday

Walsden II (home to Royton): S Hanson, J Lord, D Bailey, C Dewhirst, T Illingworth, M.Halstead, Joe Hanson, J Steven, Jack Hanson, D.Brown, C Hanson. Meet noon.