Walsden back on top ahead of crunch home test against Heywood

Chesney Hughes
Chesney Hughes

Walsden host Heywood in the Central Lancashire League on Saturday hoping to hang on to top spot in what is building up into a thrilling title race.

The top four clubs are separated by only four points and fifth-placed Rochdale are by no means out of contention heading into the last couple of months of the season.

Last weekend was a good one for the Scott Street club with all three teams winning.

The firsts, defending champions, showed the way with an eight-wicket mauling of hosts Middleton, knocking off the 164 required for victory inside 19 overs.

Sub pro Chesney Hughes, a West Indian who plays for Derbyshire, crashed 64 off 36 balls while James Rawlinson (41 no) went about his business as usual at the other end.

When Hughes departed, Matt Dawson made a very brisk 39 not out to wrap up a five-point success.

Earlier, opener George Walker had made 52 for Middleton, whose new South African pro Grant Edmeadas made limited impact.

Medium pacer Nick Barker and Indian leg spinner Shuhbam Harkal took three wickets each as the home side slumped to 125 for nine before receiving a late boost from last man Tom Astley (28).

Walsden took over at the top from Heywood, who lost by five wickets to Norden.

Walsden and Heywood have crossed swords twice already this season.

The first meeting at Scott Street on April 28 was abandoned due to rain with Walsden 102 for six.

Chris Dewhirst’s men came out on top by 67 runs at Heywood on June 1 thanks to Nick Barker’s 81 not out, though the home side were without a pro.

Walsden seconds consolidated their position at the top of their division with a nine-wicket home win over their Middleton counterparts last Saturday.

Ryan Howley made 108 and Kristian Halstead 65 in an unbroken second wicket stand of 168 as Walsden overhauled their visitors’ 180 all out.

The seconds go to Heywood on Saturday while the thirds host Winton in the Manchester Association on Sunday after a 70-run win over Deane and Derby.

Star performers were Nathan Rooks with five for 58 and Joe Battersby with 57.

Saturday’s race night, to raise funds for the club’s newly-formed football team, has been hailed a success. Organisers have thanked sponsors Calvag Agricultural Supplies, HRS Builders, Walsden Village Shop, Grandma Pollard’s Chippy and JW Lees Brewery.

CENTRAL LANCASHIRE LEAGUE PREMIER

P OW LW D T L LP Pts

Walsden 16 7 2 2 0 5 3 50

Littleborough 16 5 5 2 0 4 0 49

Norden 16 6 3 2 0 5 3 49

Heywood 16 6 3 2 0 5 0 46

Rochdale 16 6 1 2 0 7 4 42

Clifton 16 6 0 2 0 8 2 36

Milnrow 16 2 1 2 0 11 3 21

Middleton 16 0 3 2 0 11 4 20