New arrival Harkal impresses with bat and ball as Walsden progress

Shubam Harkal, Walsden's overseas amateur from India
Shubam Harkal, Walsden's overseas amateur from India

The display from Indian Shuhbam Harkal was the biggest plus as Walsden eventually moved comfortably through to the second round of the Central Lancashire League’s Wood Cup.

The recently-arrived overseas amateur, who is only 17, batted and bowled well for the champions in their 103-run home win over Radcliffe last Sunday.

Harkal made 42 with the bat to help repair the damage after Walsden had been sent in on a damp pitch and slumped to 20 for three and 54 for four with some rash shots.

Joe Gale made a valuable 46 and skipper Chris Dewhirst 21 not out at the end to get Walsden up to 191 and their confidence at tea was justified when Radcliffe were dismissed for 88 with Harkal and fellow spinner Richard Sladdin each taking three for six.

It was only Harkal’s second game, after being thrust into first team action following a long flight the previous week, and Walsden spokesman Kenny Gale said they had been encouraged by what they had seen from him.

“He stuck it out with the bat on a soggy, damp pitch which was not what he is used to,” said Gale.

“He bowls leg spin and he looked very good with very few bad balls in his five overs.”

Saturday’s first and second team games against Norden were washed out but Harkal, who was drafted in when an Australian gave backword, should get two chances to impress this weekend.

Walsden play Milnrow away in their opening group game in the Twenty/20 competition on Saturday and then host Middleton in the league on Sunday.

Walsden will be keen to improve a modest record in the short form of the game. Littleborough and Crompton are the other teams in their Twenty/20 group with just one to go through to the semi-finals.

Middleton are bottom of the Premier table after seven fixtures.

The Scott Street seconds are also through to the second round of the Burton Cup after winning a low scoring game at home to Radcliffe.

Cameron Hanson and Tyson Illingworth took three wickets each as Radcliffe made 89, their third-wicket pair putting on 48 of them.

Ryan Howley made 23 in reply but at 72 for eight the game was in the balance, Stuart Hanson (11 no) and Illingworth (9 no) picking up the winning runs.

The thirds were beaten in a close match at Swinton Moorside on Sunday in spite of Gareth Connor’s five for 30.

Walsden made 174 for seven off 40 overs with 33 from Jack Hanson, 20 from Nathan Rooks and 19 from Shannon Jackson.

Swinton Moorside got the runs with just two balls and two wickets to spare, Cameron Sutcliffe picking up a couple of wickets for Walsden.