Walsden plan all-out assault on titles after more cup heartbreak

Walsden's Martin Harlow in action in the Burton Cup Cricket Final
Walsden's Martin Harlow in action in the Burton Cup Cricket Final

Walsden must use the pain of two cup final defeats in the space of five days against Heywood as a spur to win Central Lancashire League titles.

The Scott Street men lost the first teams’ Wood Cup final by four wickets at Crimble in a game finally completed last Wednesday.

And salt was rubbed into the wounds when the seconds suffered a nine-run loss on their own ground in the climax to the Burton Cup on Sunday.

Neither Walsden side played at their best on the big day and the players will be determined to make amends by retaining their leads in the league over a busy final month of the season.

The firsts were left to rue making a below-par 163 for nine at Heywood 11 days ago. Heywood took their 15 for one score to 125 for five on Tuesday evening and then got the final 39 runs on Wednesday.

Opening batsman Bobby Cross was Heywood’s match-winner with 88 not out, adding 74 with Andy Dawson (35) after the hosts had been on the ropes at 72 for five.

Josh Gale (three for 28 and 28 runs) and Nick Barker (38) were Walsden’s best performers.

Walsden were also unable to convert a strong position into victory last Sunday when the 42 extras they conceded proved significant.

Walsden’s five-pronged attack reduced Heywood seconds to 109 for nine with 11 overs left. However, last pair Sam Byrne (35) and Rick Purser (14 no) added a crucial 62 and a home side packed with batting failed to deliver in the second half.

Ryan Howley (21) and Stuart Hanson (20) gave Walsden a promising start and Dan Bailey (21) and Paul Marrow (32) also got in. But Cameron Hanson was left high and dry on 22 not out as Walsden slid from 110 for four to 162 all out, Mark Halstead being run out in the last over.

Walsden spokesman Kenny Gale said: “It was disappointing to lose both finals but the cups are won over four games while the leagues take the whole season to win.

“Hopefully both teams can put their defeats behind them and finish as champions.”

Both Walsden teams had won on Saturday, the firsts thrashing lowly visitors Middleton by 151 runs.

James Rawlinson (64) and Nick Barker (63 no) continued their good form and Josh and Joe Gale added quick runs at the end to lift the total to 237 for eight.

Middleton folded from 45 without loss to 86 all out with Stevie Barker (five for 31) and Richard Sladdin (three for 14) ripping through the visitors’ ranks.

The seconds won at Middleton to stay ahead of Rochdale and Heywood in their competition.

The firsts go to Littleborough on Saturday and host Clifton on Sunday while the seconds also have a double header, at home to Royton and away to Clifton.