Dewhirst urges his side to take final step

Walsden skipper Chris Dewhirst
Walsden skipper Chris Dewhirst

By Ian Rushworth WALSDEN skipper Chris Dewhirst is urging his title-gunning side to “finish it in style” this weekend.

The Scott Street men need only two points from home games against Radcliffe on Saturday and second-placed Heywood on Sunday to become Central Lancashire League champions for the first time in 48 years.

They owe their healthy position to a long winning run which they extended with successes at Oldham and Radcliffe last weekend.

Dewhirst, in his fourth year as captain, said: “We’re on a real roll at the moment.

“We only need two points but we will be going out for 10 to finish it in style.

“Two more wins would crown a fantastic season.”

Dewhirst is excited that his side are on the brink of making history.

“It is a long, long time since we won the title. Not many players from that side are still at the club.”

Walsden will be keen to complete business on Saturday, meaning that the pressure is off for Sunday’s clash with Heywood.

Their prospects of a second win over Radcliffe in the space of seven days appear to be bright with strike bowler Steve Cheetham a likely absentee for the visitors.

Saturday’s win at Oldham was the more comfortable of last weekend’s triumphs.

All Oldham’s batsmen seemed in a hurry and after a brisk start, which helped the hosts to 83 for one, they crumbled to 164 all out with 15 overs unused.

Sri Lankan Ranil Dhammika, who started the weekend on 99 wickets, took seven for 42 and Stevie Barker helped clear up the late order with a couple of victims.

Jake Hooson was an early departure when Walsden replied but Matthew Dawson (68) figured in stands of 45 with James Rawlinson (32) and 82 with Dhammika (41 no) to set up an easy win.

At Radcliffe, Walsden hit early trouble at 28 for four and then 41 for five after a rain break.

Kris Halstead (21) and Josh Gale (16) started to steady the ship but at 83 for seven the visitors were still struggling to post a reasonable score.

However, 16-year-old Joe Gale came to the rescue with a superb unbeaten 44 to lift the total to 144 for eight and that proved more than enough on a helpful wicket.

Jamie Shackleton made early inroads with the help of fine catches from Dawson and Jake Hooson and another five wickets for Dhammika and three for Stevie Barker did the rest as Radcliffe capitulated from 54 for two to 73 all out.

THE ashes of former Walsden wicketkeeper Sammy Connor, a member of the 1962 and 1964 title winning sides, and his sister Martha Hooson (mother of Mark and nana to Jake) are to be interred at the ground during the tea interval on Sunday.

Some of Sammy’s ashes will also to be scattered behind his beloved wickets.

RANIL Dhammika could become the top pro bowler in Walsden’s history.

The Sri Lankan, on 111 wickets, is chasing Jimmy Hatchman’s 123 in 1937. First he needs six to overtake Cec Wright’s limited overs record of 116 in 1969.