Foster’s Lancashire League: Tables turned on Todmorden

Stuart Priestley
Stuart Priestley

Todmorden failed to turn the screw at West End while Church dug deep at 37-4 to win by four wickets in the Foster’s Lancashire League.

Todmorden were put in to bat on a turning wicket against a two-seamer opening attack.

Todmorden flew to 50-0 off 10 overs, but once Church brought on their specialist spinners the game changed.

Sub professional Hasnain Abbas top scored with 60 in Todmorden’s 138 all out.

His knock included five sixes and three fours in 40 balls before he was caught at deep mid-off by Bilal Abbas.

Openers openers Simon Newbitt (23, passing 500 runs for the season) and Ben Pearson (20) had put on 53 before Abbas got to grips with his innings. No one else made double figures against an Ali Sartaj-led attack.

The slow left armer took a career best 7-26, including the wicket of Stuart Priestley who edged three runs closer to the coveted 10,000 run mark. He’s now just seven runs shy.

This season’s leading wicketkeeper Sam Tucker claimed another four victims, including the stumping of Matthew Brierley – that’s now 23 in his career, eight of which have been by Tucker.

Skipper Andrew Sutcliffe dug in with a battling innings spanning 56 balls.

He hit seven before holing out to Abbas, who took another catch off Sartaj.

After Abbas had removed his opposite number Usman Tariq for nine, Martin Harlow sent back Joel Gaskill (1), Sam Holt (0) and skipper Craig Fergusson (1) to have the home side in trouble at 37-4.

Levi Wolfenden (39) and Abbas put on nine before Harlow clean bowled Wolfenden.

Abbas went on to hit three fours and a six in making 46 against his former club before becoming Harlow’s (5-46) fifth wicket after adding 50 with Jack Gaskill who finished on 30 not out.

Todmorden captain Sutcliffe doffed his cap in Church’s direction, noting simply that they were worthy winners.

“We lost the toss and they chose to bowl on a turning wicket,” he explained. “They opened the bowling with two seamers and we flew to 50, but once they brought on their specialised spinners the game changed.

“Ali Sartaj, who is one of the best spinners in the league, took seven wickets with their pro containing at the other end.

“Our sub professional, Hasnain Abass, scored a quick 60 but he was the only player on our side to hit spin for a boundary as the slope and turning wicket played into their hands as we were bowled out for 139.”

Sutcliffe added: “ We knew that 175 would be a solid score and difficult to chase so we were a little light on runs at half time. In the second half Martin Harlow continued with his excellent and it was game on, but credit where credit is due; their middle order batted really well and took advantage of a couple of missed opportunities from us in the field and they were worthy winners on the day.”

Todmorden tackle in-form Ramsbottom at home on Saturday hoping to have Bilawal Bhatti fit again.