Walsden hit the road in finishing straight

WALSDEN face two away games this weekend as they look to beat off Heywood in the Central Lancashire League title race.

Chris Dewhirst’s side head to Oldham on Saturday and Radcliffe 24 hours later and the league table suggests they are two games the Scott Street side should win.

However, cricket is rarely that straightforward and Dewhirst will be emphasising the need to stay focused as Walsden bid to retain their eight-point lead at the summit.

Oldham has a reputation for being a difficult place for visiting sides while fellow bottom four side Radcliffe have a couple of dangerous bowlers in Steve Cheetham and Michael Burns.

Martin Harlow is missing for Walsden this weekend but fellow all-rounder Stevie Barker returns.

Walsden and Heywood each picked up five points last Sunday, Walsden grinding out a three-wicket home win over Ashton.

Dewhirst invited the bottom club to bat on a pitch with a tinge of green and while Ashton never looked like making a big score, Walsden were struggling to polish them off until Jamie Shackleton returned and took two wickets in three balls.

That foiled Sri Lankan Ranil Dhammika’s bid to reach 100 wickets for the season, the slow bowler having move to 99 with five for 38.

Walsden made hard work of passing Ashton’s 113, getting there with three wickets to spare, although they never looked like losing and the visitors bowled well.

Nick Barker saw them home with 22 not out after James Rawlinson (28) and Matthew Dawson (21) had helped them to 63 for two.

Walsden seconds continued their pursuit of Heywood with a wide-margin win at Ashton, aided by a century from skipper Stuart Hanson and 60 from Paul Marrow.

The thirds have received confirmation that their Rhodes Trophy final is against Monton and Weaste at Scott Street on Saturday, September 22.