Ranil hot on the trail of 100-wicket haul

Nick Barker
Nick Barker

RANIL Dhammika has the magical 100-wicket mark in his sights as Walsden head into a key weekend in their Central Lancashire League title quest.

The Sri Lankan celebrated the announcement that he would be rewturning to the Scott Street men next season by adding another six wickets to his burgeoning tally last Saturday.

The left arm spinner helped dismiss hosts Werneth for 123 in reply to Walsden’s 225 for three, taking his total for the season to 83 wickets.

With nine matches still to play, starting with a home game against Monton and Weaste on Saturday and a trip to Heywood on Sunday, a three-figure return looks a formality if he stays injury free.

Walsden retained their seven point lead last weekend, when all the leading sides won.

Jake Hooson (50) and James Rawlinson (25) got Walsden away to a steady start at struggling Werneth.

Rawlinson departed with the score on 62 and Matthew Dawson (21) fell to a catch at point when just getting into his stride.

Hooson was third out with the total on 131 but Dhammika again showed he is no mug with the bat as Walsden doubled their score in the last 14 overs.

Dhammika finished on 60 not out and Nick Barker 43 not out.

Werneth were never in the hunt with Dhammika and Jamie Shackleton, who got rid of big-hitting pro Hasnain Abbas, quickly having them 30 for five.

Mahmood Ul Hassan (42) and Mark Dronsfield (27) added 51 but the hosts were well behind the asking rate and were eventually dismissed for 123.

Barker is getting married tomorrow and will miss Saturday’s game against mid-table Monton, who Walsden have already beaten away. The visitors have a dangerous batsman in Lancashire lad Paul Green.

Sunday’s trip to fellow title contenders Heywood should be a cracker. The hosts are likely to include South African batsman Travis Townsend and Bobby Cross, who is probably the best amateur batsman in the league.