Walsden keeping busy after bowl-off misery

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Walsden travel to Heywood on Saturday and then Littleborough 24 hours later wondering if their trophy chances for 2014 have gone.

The Scott Street side, Central Lancashire League champions for the last two years, are 14 points behind Norden with four rounds of fixtures left.

That is a sizeable gap ahead of tomorrow’s re-arranged programme with the leaders, much-strengthened this season, looking unlikely to suffer a collapse.

Walsden’s main hopes were resting on the Lancashire Cup until last Saturday, when fate dealt them a cruel hand away to their arch rivals.

Norden won a semi-final bowl-off 1-0 after Walsden seemed to have had the better of the action that had taken place.

Norden were dismissed for 151 in the cup semi-final, English-born Aussie Simon Harman making 91 of them after having a couple of escapes in the slips.

The visitors were 27 for one in the seventh over when play was washed out.

If 10 overs had been possible in the second innings, there would have been enough play to constitute a game and Walsden would have won by reaching 34 at that stage.

Instead, the teams had to take part in a bowl-off with all 11 players from each side having one effort at the stumps. Norden had the only hit to earn a final date with either Ormskirk or Clitheroe.

Walsden spokesman Kenny Gale said some good fielding and catching appeared to have given Walsden the upper hand before the weather intervened.

“The rain was forecast and it was just a case of whether we would get enough overs in before it arrived,” he said.

Unfortunately for Walsden they didn’t and Gale conceded: “Things are looking bleaker and bleaker on the trophy front.”

Walsden showed good character to bounce back from the bowl-out defeat with a comfortable home win over Werneth 24 hours later. The visitors had beaten both themselves and Norden the previous weekend.

Pro Umesh Karunaratne made 80 in what appeared a slightly below par Walsden total of 180.

However, Werneth only just made it to three figures in reply with five home bowlers among the wickets.

Walsden seconds, beaten in the Burton Cup final by Norden on Bank Holiday Monday, then saw their title hopes hit by a league defeat last weekend.