Overseas ace Abbas to leave Todmorden

TODMORDEN are on the lookout for a new professional for 2013 after Qaiser Abbas’s decision to leave the Lancashire League club.

The Pakistani all-rounder has signed for Bolton League side Westhoughton CC for 2013 and will be tough to replace, having taken more than 200 wickets and scored 1,700-plus runs for Tod over the last two seasons.

Skipper Andrew Sutcliffe said: “Qaiser has been formidable for us but it is time for him to move on.

“It is a shame he is leaving but that is cricket and we will sign another top professional next year.”

Abbas, 30, will play his last matches for the club this weekend when Tod complete their programme away to Bacup on Saturday and then at home to Colne on Sunday.

Sutcliffe said the club had a few irons in the fire as regards a replacement for Abbas and would step up their search once the last two games were out of the way.

Abbas is certain to be a hard act to follow having ensured Todmorden have had two good, if trophy-less seasons in 2011 and 2012.

Last year his slow left arm bowling yielded an incredible 114 wickets at 12.03 and he also scored 981 runs at 61.31.

The weather has ensured that Abbas, who played one Test against England in 2000, will not match that haul of wickets and runs this summer.

However, the National Bank of Pakistan player will go into the final weekend with 89 wickets at 12.14 and 741 runs at 49.40 under his belt.

Abbas and Todmorden were out of action last weekend when Sunday’s game away to East Lancs was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

It meant the one-time title contenders dropped to fifth.

Sutcliffe added: “It was a very frustrating weekend as we were the only team not to play. We have only managed to play one out of the last four games while the teams around us have played.”

The captain is hoping for a big finish. “If we win both games then we have a very good chance of third place.

“It will be exciting to see how the title race plays out. It’s just a shame we’re not involved at the death.”