Walsden on their guard in cup against Norden’s conquerors

Walsden's overseas ace Umesh Karunaratne hits out against Leyland in the LCB Cup. He made 31
Walsden's overseas ace Umesh Karunaratne hits out against Leyland in the LCB Cup. He made 31

Walsden travel to Unsworth in the first round of the Wood Cup on Sunday for a tie which has suddenly gained banana skin status for the visitors.

James Rawlinson’s side will be among the favourites to win the trophy and are particularly keen to do well this year as they will host the final of the Central Lancashire League’s main knockout competition.

However, Unsworth left their previous form this season behind by beating leaders and champions Norden at Pole Lane last Saturday, bowling out the visitors for 133 in reply to Unsworth’s 162.

Local professional Chris Williams and overseas amateur Aussie Jeff Keyt are the Bury side’s danger men.

Although Walsden have been champions twice in recent years, their cup record is modest with their last success in 2004.

The visitors will hope to be at full strength for Sunday’s game and Saturday’s home Twenty/20 group game against Middleton (3.0).

Walsden had back to back wins in the long form of the game last weekend, before a Twenty/20 defeat to Lowerhouse at Todmorden on Bank Holiday Monday.

They made light of several absentees at Rochdale on Saturday, when they recovered from 14 for three to post 163 for eight with 40 from Nick Barker, 39 from Umesh Karunaratne and 35 not out from Kristian Halstead.

Sri Lankan Karunaratne then bowled through from one end, taking six for 37 as Rochdale mustered 117 after being 38 for six.

Sunday’s home game with Leyland had been billed as the tie of the first round in the LCB Cup.

Walsden looked likely to come off second best when the visitors reached 170 for three chasing 214 but Jake Hooson’s four wickets tipped the scales the home side’s way.

Both Leyland’s top scorers chipped catches as Walsden earned a home tie with Bolton League side Heaton, conquerors of Haslingden, next month.

Earlier, Nick Barker had been the star performer with the bat for Walsden, making 73.