A sensational start for Todmorden’s pro

Todmorden's new professional Bilawal Bhatti  in full flow against Enfield. Picture: Bruce Fitzgerald
Todmorden's new professional Bilawal Bhatti in full flow against Enfield. Picture: Bruce Fitzgerald

New Todmorden professional Bilawal Bhatti announced his arrival on the Lancashire League scene with a brilliant all round performance against Enfield at Centre Vale.

The Pakistani smashed 188 and then took 4-45, making his runs from just 115 balls with sixteen fours and an amazing twelve sixes to help Todmorden make 320 for fivewhich is the highest ever score in a Lancashire League match on Centre Vale.

Todmorden skipper Andrew Sutcliffe said: “Watching Bilawal was a pleasure.

“It’s great to have a player of his calibre as professional at Todmorden and we hope we see more days like this throughout the summer.

“He’s hit 12 sixes and some were huge. He’s a great lad who gives everything on the field.

“Bilawal’s display was simply sensational. As a team we have scored the highest ever Lancashire League total at Centre Vale and this is down to Billy.

“Billy has hit 12 sixes, and some were huge. The way he timed the ball from the start was frightening as he dispatched every single bowler who bowled at him over the ropes.

“Billy is coming across as a bit of a showman and for a guy who is 5ft 6 , he knows how to hit a ball a long way.

“ The crowd was a very good one on Sunday and you can’t help but think that everyone who came got their money’s worth and no doubt they will be returning to watch Billy perform again. Debuts do not get any better.”

Todmorden won the toss and chose to bat first on a good wicket.

They got through the first 10 overs comfortably and then lost two quick wickets but Simon Newbitt and Bilawal Bhatti dug in and built a 120 run partnership.

Newbitt dug in and played a solid knock to go past 50 for the second time this season.

A fifth wicket stand of 141 with skipper Andrew Sutcliffe saw Bhatti peppering the school roof with sixes and every corner of the ground with boundaries.

It came as a surprise when he tamely pushed Jackson to his opposite number Graeme van Buuren at cover just 12 runs short of Michael Clarke’s league record score made against the same opposition in 2002 andMichael Neser’s club record knock of 191 last season.

After tea Todmorden got off to the perfect start with Bilawal claiming three early wickets ,bowling at good pace to have Enfield at 34 for three with their captain and professional both back in the shed.

Enfield had to play shots and at times scored freely on a good wicket but Todmorden stuck to their task and ground out the 10 wickets needed for the full 12 points with the wickets shared along with two excellent run outs by Ben Sutcliffe and Freddie Priestley

At the weekend Todmorden play Ramsbottom at home in the T20 on Friday from 6.15pm and on Saturday they are away at Ramsbottom in the league.

“Ramsbottom are one of the best sides in the league so it will be a really strong test for us,” added Sutcliffe.

“Unfortunately there is no Stuart Priestley or Martin Harlow available for the first team.”