Focus turns to Walsden’s next final bid this Sunday

In form: Josh Gale
In form: Josh Gale

The focus will turn to round two of Walsden’s battle with Heywood for Central Lancashire League silverware on Sunday.

The pair will meet in the Burton Cup final at Scott Street (1.30) with Walsden out for revenge following the meeting of the first teams in the big Wood Cup showdown this week, Heywood winning out on Wednesday night.

The seconds, who have accounted for Radcliffe, Milnrow and Royton so far, are hoping a good crowd will help cheer them to victory.

Stuart Hanson’s men are top of the table but have had a couple of setbacks recently and will be looking to hit top form again facing the third-placed side.

The Burton Cup has been contested since 1971 and Walsden first reached the final in 1983 when they lost to Milnrow. They had to wait until 2001 until their next final appearance and not only lost that game to Littleborough but also the 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2011 finals to the same club.

The 1983 side was captained by current cricket chairman Allan Stuttard and also included present committee man Colin Greenwood and Mick Butcher, a member of this year’s squad. Hanson was scorer for the Milnrow match.

Meanwhile, Walsden firsts return to league action at home to bottom club Middleton on Saturday looking to at least retain their eight-point lead in the Premier.

Middleton’s new professional Grant Edmeades has been in good form recently and is sure to be a big threat.

Walsden strengthened their position with a 61-run victory over Rochdale last Saturday.

Success looked remote at none for two off three overs and then 65 for six but Nick Barker and Joe Gale combined to turnaround Walsden’s fortunes.

Barker, in at number four, made 78 not out and Gale 52 after ‘Dale skipper Scott Butterworth had done the early damage.

The pair batted sensibly, waiting for the bad ball, to get Walsden up to a competitive 191 for eight with Gale scoring his maiden half-century for the side.

The 17-year-old followed up with three wickets and pro Richard Sladdin also took three after Jamie Shackleton had struck two early blows, Rochdale being dismissed for 130.