Walsden finish on a high note with two wins

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Walsden firsts finished a decent but trophy-less season in the Central Lancashire League with two wins last weekend.

James Rawlinson’s men won by 63 runs at Heywood on Saturday and 83 runs at home to Clifton on Sunday to finish well clear of the rest behind champions Norden.

The Scott Street side were lacking Jake Hooson, Matt Dawson and Kristian Halstead on Saturday and former skipper Chris Dewhirst stepped back into the firsts and top scored with 39 at the top of the order.

A total of 186 for eight looked fairly modest against last year’s cup final conquerors but three wickets each for pace man Jamie Shackleton and spinner Umesh Karunaratne and Richard Sladdin helped dismiss the hosts for 123.

Walsden were wobbling on 114 for five against Clifton until Karunaratne (90 no) and Joe Gale (68 no) added 142 at a decent rate.

Nine Walsden players had a bowl in the final innings of the season and Karunarate was the most successful of them, taking four for 39 after Joe Gale had picked up the key wicket of Sri Lankan Thilina Masmulla.

Clifton were all out for 173.

Karunaratne flew home to Sri Lankan on Monday, having scored 800 runs and taken 85 wickets in the league this season.

He has already agreed to return to the club next year and spokesman Kenny Gale said he wasn’t aware of any other first teamers retiring or moving on.

Walsden seconds, who have also finished runners-up to Norden, had a disappointing final weekend with defeats at home to Heywood and away to Clifton, where Stuart Hanson’s 70 was in vain in pursuit of a big home total.

Summing up the season Gale said: “It hasn’t been a bad year. We’ve been runners-up at first and second team level and the seconds reached the Burton Cup final and the firsts the semi-finals of the Lancashire Cup.

“If it hadn’t been for Norden and all their imports it could have been a third title in a row for the firsts.”