last-ball heroics from duo

Match winner:  Andrew Sutcliffe bowls Tod against Nelson last Sunday, when he took six wickets, made 69 not out finished things off in style
Match winner: Andrew Sutcliffe bowls Tod against Nelson last Sunday, when he took six wickets, made 69 not out finished things off in style

Todmorden and Walsden both served up Sunday specials with thrilling last-ball victories in front of their home fans.

Tod needed three off the final delivery of their 50th over to beat Nelson in the Lancashire League and captain Andrew Sutcliffe capped the display of a lifetime by hitting a straight six.

His 69 not out followed a six for 62 return with the ball and gave his side a much-needed win after two defeats earlier in the weekend.

Over at Scott Street, the scores were level between Central Lancashire League champions Walsden and keen rivals Heywood with the last ball of the game’s 100th over to be bowled.

Teenage opening batsman Jake Hooson capped a superb fightback by Walsden, the left hander hitting the final delivery to the fine leg boundary to bring up his own century.

Victory took Walsden to the top of the table, ahead of a Norden side who were in Lancashire Cup action, having suffered a first league defeat of the season at Walsden the previous day.

Both of Sunday’s heroes needed assistance in their match-winning efforts.

Sutcliffe’s main support came from veteran Stu Priestley, who joined his skipper with Tod facing a tall task at 145 for seven chasing Nelson’s 229 all out.

The number nine hit his first senior half century for seven years off just 42 balls, adding 81 for the eighth wicket and smashing one huge straight six over the school.

Sutcliffe kept the scoreboard ticking with a beautifully-paced innings and after Priestley had departed with two balls left he provided the coupe de grace, the ball sailing back over the bowler’s head for a maximum.

Earlier, Sutcliffe had returned career best figures with his flighted off-spin, well set fields helping to keep the score down.

Tod had lost by 41 runs at Accrington on Saturday, when only pro Michael Neser (74) and wicketkeeper/batsmen Ben Pearson (43) made an impact in reply to the home side’s 222 all out.

Sutcliffe’s men are out of the T/20 competition after losing their third group match by four wickets at Lowerhouse on Friday, when a Paul Senior hat-trick was in vain after the visitors had totalled only 88.

Over at Walsden, Hooson’s help came from Kristian Halstead (45) and Joe Gale (46 no off 25 balls) as the home side hit back from a perilous 75 for four in response to Heywood’s 247 for seven.

It was the first meeting between the sides since last year’s Wood Cup final and almost inevitably there were runs for the visitors’ Bobby Cross, who anchored his side’s innings with 70.

Sri Lankan Umesh Karunaratne took four wickets, have collected five in the previous day’s 15-run win over much-strengthened Norden.

Walsden recovered from 15 for three to post 199 for nine on Saturday with Matt Dawson showing he still has what it takes, top scoring with 60.

Norden looked certain to win when Aussie Dan Salpietro (61) led them to 147 for three in reply.

However, his exit sparked a collapse, overseas amateur Riaz Pathan following up his 35 runs with four for seven from 20 deliveries of off spin to seal an unlikely victory for the hosts.

Walsden have another home double header with a visit from derby rivals Littleborough in the league on Saturday and a Lancashire Cup match against Glossop on Sunday.

Todmordenhost Burnley in their final T/20 game of the season on Friday.

On Sunday they travel to Bacup, who are below them in the league.