Match Reports 2016 + 2017

Saturday 16th September 2017 – 1st team v Barlaston 2nd X1 CC (league fixture)

On a day of celebration and with the league title already wrapped up top versus bottom proved to be entertaining. Norton in Hales bowled first and all 10 fielders (not the wicket keeper) were asked to bowl a few overs. This proved very entertaining for the spectators as the ball ended up flying to all corners of the field. After the 9th wicket and the Barlaston score on 176 a declaration was made giving the Norton in Hales a good score to chase.
As normal the run chase did not get off to a good start. Wickets went regularly and then it was left to skipper Mike Dyer and number 11 Simon Line to try and rescue the situation. Coming together at 98-9 the old stalwarts, mainly Simon Line, got the score within touching distance. A stand of 74, with Mike Dyer 10 not out and Simon on 58, got the game to a nail biting finale. Just as it looked like the game was going Norton’s way an error from Line gave a caught and bowled opportunity which was snaffled and Barlaston 2nd X1 CC won the game. However it was now time to celebrate and a great night was had by all!

2nd team v JG Meakins Development X1 CC – batting first the Norton in Hales 2nd X1 wrapped their fine season with an easy win. Posting a score of 191-5 declared with Jack Warrigton scoring 54, Ben Furnival 72 not out and Charlie Belfield a brilliant 15 off 102 deliveries.
In reply JG Meakins were 46 all out with Matthew Riley taking 4 wickets, Jack Warrington 1 wicket and Paul Evans 2 wickets to seal the win.

Saturday 9th September 2017 – 1st team v Little Stoke 2nd X1 CC (league fixture)

Norton in Hales CC 1st team traveled to Little Stoke with a chance to wrap up both promotion and the league title with a win. The toss was won by Little Stoke and they elected to bat. With a big rain delay at the start the game was reduced to 40 overs per side. This was destined to be less as there was still plenty of rain around. An early breakthrough was made by Jack Furnival, caught at slip by Simon Line leaving Little Stoke on 3-1. Then a mixture of complacency, poor fielding and poor bowling led to a frustrating 2nd wicket partnership. With the score on 45 Jack finally struck again, caught and bowled, 45-2. A change of bowling then led to more wickets, Mike Dyer and Nigel Wellings came into the attack and the change paid dividends. They both took a wicket each, Nigel LBW and Mike bowled, leaving Little Stoke 58-4. Both Mike and Nigel did the trick again, the opposition now 80-6. Another good piece of captaincy brought Kashif back into the attack for his second spell, and this led to the finishing off of the Little Stoke tail and innings with the score on 89 all out. Kashif finishing with figures of 3-30, Jack Furnival 2-29, Mike Dyer 2-16 and Nigel Wellings 3-12.
The Norton in Hales run chase as usual had a mixed response from the batsman. Zac Holm went for 1 and Kashif Ali Moon went for 5. 13-1 then 31-2! Luckily James Ruscoe had finally found the middle of his bat and an incredible 18 ball 50 got the party started! James caught on the boundary (shock!) for 56, 74-3. Jack Furnival (14) very sportingly walking in a tight caught behind shout with only 4 needed to win. It was left for Martyn Davies and Eddie Warrington to see the Norton boys home and seal the win, promotion back to Division 2 and the league title!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A fantastic achievement by everyone connected to Norton in Hales CC.

2nd team v Rode Park and Lawton 2nd X1 CC – with all the rain around the game was in doubt, however the game did start and the Norton boys bowled first, yet again bowling really well and restricting the opposition to 70 all out. Paul Evans with figures of 4-18, Jak Warrington 2-38 and Matthew Riley 3-4 doing the damage. Unfortunately the rain came again and the Norton in Hales reply did not get under way and the game was abandoned.

Saturday 2nd September 2017 – 1st team v Silverdale 2nd X1 CC (league fixture)

On a beautiful day the Norton in Hales boys were asked to bat first. The opening few overs went the way of the Silverdale bowlers as both Norton opening batsman Zac Holm (0) and Jack Furnival (8) were dismissed cheaply followed by Eddie Warrington (0) to leave the Norton score on 48 for 3. James Ruscoe and Simon Dyer were now at the crease and they put together a stunning partnership of 120 to move the score forward to 164-4, Simon then getting out for 48. James soon departed for 79 with the score on 165-5. Chris Dyer (6) was the next to be dismissed, the score now 192-6. Kashif Ali Moon was now at the crease with Nigel Wellings (10) and from then on it was carnage out in the middle. Kashif let loose with unbelievable hitting, many of his shots leaving the ground! 13 sixes and 8 fours, 34 runs in one over and in the end Kashif was not out 114, sensational innings!!! Mike Dyer (5) was the other not out batsman with Norton in Hales declaring on 302-8 off 42 overs.
The Silverdale reply started reasonably well with the score reaching 52-2, both Jack Furnival and Kashif Ali Moon getting a wicket apiece. Then a glut of wickets reduced the Silverdale score to 59-6 with Jack claiming another 3 wickets and Mike Dyer chipping in with one. Mike Dyer struck again leaving the score now on 76-7. A stubborn 8th wicket partnership developed until Chris Dyer returned to bowling duties and within a matter of minutes the game was all over, Chris striking 3 times all bowled to wrap up another 25 points and a great win. Silverdale all out for 110. Bowling figures were Kashif 1-32, Jack 4-33, Mike 2-21, Nigel 0-11 and Chris 3-0!

2nd team v Betley 2nd X1 CC – A very big game in the Division 7 promotion race went the way of the visitors Betley CC. Norton in Hales batted first but did not quite get going and apart from Gary Rudd (23) and Ben Furnival (64) no other Norton batsman reached double figures. Norton all out for 128.
The Betley reply was solid and they reached their target for the loss of only 2 wickets, 131-2 in 33 overs, Matt Riley claiming the only 2 wickets for Norton in Hales.

Saturday 26th August 2017 – 1st team v Endon CC (league fixture)

In a sensational game between Division 3’s top 2 teams the Norton in Hales boys dug deep to pull an unbelievable win out of the hat and put a massive 25 more points between themselves and Endon CC in the race for promotion. Finally Norton won a toss and elected to bat on a hot day and dry wicket. Opener Jack Furnival along with usual partner Zac Holm found life very difficult with the ball swinging around corners. Unfortunately for Jack he edged one to slip with his first ball with the score on 8. James Ruscoe joined Zac at the crease and pushed the score to 22 before Zac played a lazy shot and was caught at slip. Simon Dyer went in at 4 and missed most of his 20 balls before falling himself, bowled for 0! The score now 31-3. Martyn Davies at number 5 along with James Ruscoe put on a very important partnership together to get the score to 75. Steadying the ship slightly before Martyn was caught himself for 21, 75-4. That soon became 76-7 as James Ruscoe (38), Chris Dyer (1) and Kashif Ali Moon (0) all fell very quickly together. Eddie Warrington batting at number 8 grafted well for an unbeaten 15 and along with short cameos from Nigel Wellings (2), Simon Line (7) and Mike Dyer (7), the Norton in Hales innings finished as they were all out for 111.
A small total to defend but one the Norton bowlers and fielders were up for. The game ebbed and flowed many times over the course of the Endon innings. A mixture of regular wickets and the occasional good batting partnership made this a very tense game. Norton opening bowlers Kashif Ali Moon  and Jack Furnival set about their business very well. Endon were 5-1 and 20-2 with Kashif and Jack each getting  a prized wicket. Endon number 3 batsman dug in very deep and kept creeping the Endon score towards its target, however he kept on running out of partners. Again regular wickets from Kashif and now Mike Dyer meant at drinks the score was 80-7 with Endon needing 32 to win and Norton 3 wickets. First ball after drinks the Norton Captain Mike Dyer bowled the stubborn Endon number 3 batsman with a snorter when he as on 41 and looking good. 80-8 now and the game getting more tense by the second. Kashif got the Endon number 10 LBW with the score on 85. A little cameo then from the Endon batsman at number 9 along with their number 11, the score creeping to 93 when a dramatic and stunning piece of fielding from veteran Simon Line sealed the points for Norton. The Endon batting pair trying to run two came up short with a great one handed pick up and throw over the stumps to Kashif who whipped off the bails and the Umpire’s finger going straight up signalling the start of wild celebrations which went on long into the evening. A fantastic end to a great game and another 25 points for Norton in Hales.

2nd team v Oakamoor CC – for the first time in a long time this was not a day for the 2nd team as in their promotion push took a dent with a heavy defeat away at Oakamoor. Bowling first the Norton in Hales boys restricted Oakamoor to 159-9 off their 50 overs, Paul Evans 3-51, Matthew Riley 1-39, Kasim Abbas 4-33 and Tom Furnival 0-29 bowling well for Norton.
In reply, the less said the better as Norton in Hales were skittled for 22, yes 22!

Saturday 19th August 2017 – 1st team v Oakamoor CC (league fixture)

On a very rainy day next to Alton Towers it turned out to be a race against time and only a limited amount of overs for the Norton in Hales boys to secure another win in their relentless pursuit of promotion. Norton lost the toss and were asked to bowl first which meant Oakamoor were in control of the overs as rain came frequently. Opening bowling duo Jack Furnival and Kashif Ali Moon started very well without any luck, Oakamoor CC were 10-0 off 10 overs. After 12 overs they were 10-2 as Kashif bowled both the number 2 and number 3 batsman in consecutive balls. The game was stopped for a good hour and a half for rain which again gave Oakamoor the advantage. Slow progress was being made and with the score on 27 Kashif trapped the Oakamoor batsman LBW for his 3rd wicket of the day. A stubborn 4th wicket partnership developed and at 73-3 the rain came again. Early tea was taken and after the interval the Norton bowlers got back on top. From 73-3 the Oakamoor innings came to an end as they were bowled out for 82. A stunning spell of bowling from captain Mike Dyer plus a fantastic second spell from Jack Furnival ripped through the opposition. Kashif finishing with figures of 3-17 off 12 overs, Jack Furnival 3-16 off 13.2 overs, Mike Dyer 4-15 off 10 overs and well supported again by Nigel Wellings 0-25 off 8 overs.
With rain around again the Norton reply had to be quick as they had 36 overs to reach their target but another rain interlude meant that became 21 overs. A solid start from Zac Holm and Jack Furnival got the score to 26 before Jack (10) was bowled off his pads. Kashif Ali Moon was tactically promoted to number 3 and an array of shots followed to get the score 77-2, Kashif falling for 38 off 30 deliveries. That left Zac and James Ruscoe to see the Norton in Hales boys home in the dark from just 11 overs. James hitting his customary six to win the game by 8 wickets. A fantastic win and 20 points gained.

2nd team v Moddershall/Oulton 6th X1 CC – Norton won the toss and elected to field first and apart from 2 Modderhall/Oulton batsman the 9 others never got over 5 runs apiece. However the 2 which did score runs got the total up to a respectable 121 all out. 4 run outs did not help their cause along with bowling figures of 0-27 from kasim Abbas, 3-21 for Matthew Riley, 2-43 for Fred Furnival and 1-24 for Adrian ‘Noddy’ Noden.
In reply captain Gary Rudd led the way with 90 not out. Unfortunately Kasim Abbas fell for 3 and Olly Wain for 0. It was left for Ed Bourne and Gary Rudd to reach their target, Ed scoring a magnificant 24 not out and hitting the winning runs in order for the Norton in Hales boys to wrap up another great win and 20 points.

Saturday 12th August 2017 – 1st team v Hanford CC (league fixture)

Norton in Hales 1st X1 were back in home action against struggling Hanford CC. Losing the toss, the Norton boys were asked to bat first. On a very sticky low wicket batting was very difficult providing the bowling was straight. Opening pair of Zac Holm and Jack Furnival made slow progress but chipped away getting to 23 before Jack being bowled. In came James Ruscoe for 5 minutes but this week managed to blase a very quick 30 to get the Norton score to 62-2. Chris Dyer came in at 4 and with Zac put on another slow but important partnership of 29 to take the score to 91-3. That was soon 100-4 as Zac missed a straight one. At the crease now was Martyn Davies and Eddie Warrington and they steadied the glut of wickets to keep the score board ticking along until at 134 Eddie fell, again bowled. Rob Leighton and Martyn took the score past 150 before Rob also got himself bowled out, the score now 151-6. Martyn got himself to 50, then also being bowled. Kashif whacked a quickfire 22, Nigel Wellings and Simon Line (got an unplayable delivery) not troubling the scorer meant the Norton score was at 170-9, however captain marvel Mike Dyer along with Kashif took the Norton score to 213 all out after 47 overs. On a very difficult wicket the Norton in Hales boys put together a decent score.
The Hanford run chase lasted only 13 overs and all but one of the wickets were bowled to either Kashif Ali Moon or Jack Furnival, proving that when you bowl at the wickets it causes the batsman problems. Kashif’s figures were 5-11 off 7 overs. Jack’s were 4-16 off 6.1 overs. An early finish but more importantly another 25 points to keep the Norton in Hales boys top of the league.

2nd team v Sandbach 2nd X1 CC – Batting first the Norton in Hales top 3 put on good partnerships to get the innings off to a great start. Gary Rudd 19, Kasim Abbas 18 and Olly Wain a fantastic 89. Apart from Matthew Day not scoring the run machine Ben Furnival helped himself to more runs to score a magnificent 70 with Jamie Evans contributing a valuable 13 to get the Norton score to 234-6 off 44 overs.
The Sandbach reply got off to a similar fashion with their top 3 scoring good partnerships. However after the top 3 the rest off the Sandbach batting line up fell away with the run chase faltering and falling well short at 120 all out. Paul Evans again a fantastic effort with the ball 4-36 off 18 overs along with opening partner Jack Warrington equally successful with 5-18 off 16 overs including an incredible hat-trick. A demon opening bowling duo doing the damage. These 2 were ably supported by Matthew Riley 0-19 off 7, Tom Furnival 0-5 off 3, Gary Rudd 0-3 off 4, Kasim Abbas 1-25 off 3 and Jamie Evans 0-5 off 1.  Another 25 points for the second team taking them to 2nd on Division 7.

Saturday 5th August 2017 – 1st team v Hem Heath 2nd X1 CC (league fixture)

Norton in Hales traveled to Hem Heath and won the toss electing to bat first. An excellent opening partnership from Zac Holm and Jack Furnival got the Norton innings off to a solid start, putting on 65 for the first wicket. Zac then falling for 24. James Ruscoe went in at 3 and stayed with Jack for a few overs putting on another important partnership before being caught for 10, score now 100-2. Chris Dyer came in at 4 and went straight away playing on for 0, 100-3. Martyn Davies joined Jack at the crease but unusually for ‘Slap’ he did not hang around long, caught at square leg for 8 leaving the Norton score on 110-4. That brought Eddie Warrington to the crease, along with the free flowing Jack Furnival they put on a magnificant 109 run 5th wicket partnership. Jack Furnival easily passing the 100 to finish unbeaten on 123 and Eddie Warrington chipping in really well for an unbeaten 30. Norton in Hales declaring on 219-4.
Hem Heath’s reply never really got going on a bowler friendly wicket. A 16 run partnership for the 5th wicket was the best of the day for the Hem Heath batsman. Very regular wickets meant the game was over after 23 overs with Hem Heath reaching 60 runs before being bowled out. Kashif being the main tormentor with a fine spell and figures of 5-20 off 12 overs. Jack Furnival also weighing in with good figures of 2-21 off 7 overs, along with Nigel Wellings bowling a great spell for figures of 3-1 off 4.5 overs. A fantastic result and another 25 points taking Norton in Hales back to the top of the league in Division 3.

2nd team v Stone SP 4th X1 CC – Electing to bowl first the Norton in Hales boys probably did not expect what happened to actually happen! With no Stone SP batsman getting over 6 runs the entire Stone SP team were bowled out for 24 runs in 17 overs. Yet again the mighty Paul Evans destroying the batting team with figures of 5-15 off 9 overs, supported by Jack Warrington 2-8 off 8.1 with 3 run outs not helping the batting team cause as well. The Norton in Hales run chase lasted 6.5 overs, however in charitable mood 3 Norton batsman: Ben Furnival, Paul Gould and Liam Hollinshead, gave their wicket away! Kasim Abbas finishing unbeaten on 16 and Tom Furnival not out 1 to take the Norton boys to victory and keep them in the mix of the top 4 in Division 7.

Saturday 29th July 2017 – 1st team v Crewe CC (league fixture)

Norton in Hales 1st team got back to winning ways at home to Crewe CC in a game that the opposition refrained from playing any attacking shots. Norton lost the toss and were put into bat. The innings started in its customary fashion with the majority of the top order getting out for nothing. Jack Furnival first to go, bowled for 0, soon followed by James Ruscoe, bowled for 0 then Simon Dyer being caught for 5, leaving the Norton in Hales innings on 19-3. Opener Zac Holm was grafting at one end and was joined by Martyn Davies, a near 50 partnership developed before Zac was also bowled when looking like he was set for a good one for 26, now 59-4. Chris Dyer and Eddie Warrington then came and went very quickly to leave the Norton score on 88-6. Kashif Ali Moon scored a quick fire 22 to get the score up to 139-7, Martyn Davies going past 50. Nigel Wellings joined Martyn Davies once Kashif fell and together they put on a 60 partnership, Martyn eventually falling for 89, 198-8. Simon Line, promoted to 10, joined Nigel and another fantastic partnership took the final Norton in Hales score to 230-9 declared. Nigel caught on 46 and Simon Line not out again for 18.
The Crewe reply was very stubborn and boring as from almost ball 1 they did not want to go for their target score. This made life very difficult for the Norton in Hales bowlers but perseverance paid off in the end. Jack Firnival took the first wicket, score 25-1 and Kashif soon the second, 35-2. That soon became 42-3 as Kashif struck again. With overs virtually catching up the Crewe Score good captaincy and rotation of bowlers paid dividend, Once captain Michael Dyer brought himself into the attack that change of pace and sideways movement kept chipping away at the Crewe CC wickets. Crewe finally bowled out in 46 overs for 125. Mike Dyer finishing with 6-10 off 9 overs, Kashif 2-36, Jack Furnival 1-35, Nigel Wellings 1-25 and Chris Dyer 0-3 all supporting the skipper. A fantastic result and 25 points.

2nd team v Stafford 3rd X1 CC – Another very strong second team was put out by Gary Rudd and they simply destroyed Stafford 3rd X1 CC. With the opposition batting first it didn’t take long for the talented seam bowling attack to take effect. Regular wickets meant the Stafford innings didn’t really get going. They were bowled out for 74 in 31 overs. Paul Evans 3-27, Jack Warrington 2-17, Matthew Riley 3-20 and Tom Furnival 0-7 were the tormentors.
The Norton in Hales run chase lasted 23 overs, Rob Leighton opening up and scoring 36 along with Fred Furnival 11. Rob Warrington chipped in with 14 then the moment of the game, Simon ‘Lord’ Belfield caught at point off the bowling of their 12 year old young lady cricketer for 0!!!!!!!!!!! Paul Gould also didn’t trouble the scorer so it was left for George Tavernor ( 1 not out) and skipper Gary Rudd (5 not out) to see the Norton boys home and gain the 20 points.

Saturday 22nd July 2015 – 1st team v Bagnall/Norton CC (league fixture)

The inevitable finally happened to Norton in Hales 1st team, however the manner in which it happened was very very disappointing. Their first loss of the season was always on the cards but they were soundly beaten by promotion favourites and rivals Bagnall/Norton CC. Put into bat by the opposition the first 10 overs, in which the ball was flying everywhere off the seam and in the air, came with no wickets and 20 on the scoreboard. What happened from 20-0 was a culmination of good accurate bowling by the Staffordshire opening bowler Gregg Willott and overseas star Asif Raza and poor stroke play. The innings was devoid of people digging in and making life difficult for the Bagnall/Norton bowlers and the wickets now came thick and fast with no resistance. Zac Holm and Simon Dyer made double figures but the rest made no impact on the game. Norton in Hales all out for 55.
The Bagnall/Norton reply did not take too long with the loss of only 1 wicket, Kashif Ali Moon getting 1 caught behind. 0 points scored by Norton in Hales for the first time in a very long time in game. A awful day at the office for the Norton in Hales boys and one which hopefully will give them a kick up the backside for the final 8 games of the season as they look to secure promotion back to Division 2 at the first attempt.

2nd team v Hanford 2nd X1 CC – despite the poor efforts of the first team the second team win again. Hanford batted first and set a score of 192 to win. Wickets for Jack Warrington, Paul Evans, Freddie Furnival and Tom Furnival in a score that looked like being less than 100 until the tail wagged for Hanford.
The Norton reply got off to a flying start with Gary Rudd and Kasim Abbas putting on a great 1st wicket partnership. That was followed by stirling support from Simon Belfield and Ben Furnival. Simon and Kasim passing fifty each, Simon not out. To wrap up the great win it was left to father and son Simon and Charlie Belfield to see the boys home and gain a superb 20 points.

Saturday 15th July 2017 – 1st team v Moddershall/Oulton 2nd X1 CC (league fixture)

1st v 3rd was the order of the day as Norton in Hales took on the in form Moddershall/Oulton 2nd X1 CC at Norton. The Norton in Hales boys were asked to Bowl first in muggy conditions on a fresh track. The ball was flying around all over the place in the first 10 overs but the Norton bowlers found it very difficult to get the ball in the direction of the stumps. Plenty of playing and missing by the Moddershall/Oulton batsman but not enough threatening deliveries at the stumps. Along with wides, byes and no-balls the scoreboard kept ticking along. Jack Furnival bowled a beauty at the stumps to get the first wicket with the score on 18. With the score on 60 odd for 1 after 15 overs the Norton bowlers, now Nigel Wellings and Chris Dyer made life very difficult for the Moddershall/Oulton batsman by bowling full and straight. The batting team only scoring 30 runs of the next 20 overs, losing 3 wickets in the process. Nigel Wellings getting 2 and Chris 1. However it could and should have been a lot worse for the Moddershall/Oulton batsman as dropped dolly catches and poor fielding let them back into the game. At 82-4 with 20 overs left the Norton boys were well on top, but the score managed to get away from them. With extras costing the home team 48 runs the Moddershall/Oulton score at the end of their 55 overs reached 209-6. Kashif finishing with 1-60, Jack Furnival 2-61, Nigel Wellings 2-21, Chris Dyer 2-23 and Simon Dyer 0-10. But in general a disappointing spell in the field for the last 20 overs.
The Norton reply got off to its usual start, James Ruscoe (5) thinking he had to win the game inside the first 5 overs getting himself out just after hit a spectacular 4, wafting at another wide one! Jack Furnival and Simon Dyer then put on a good 2nd wicket partnership before Jack (13) tried to whack the slow left arm pro spinner over mid wicket and getting bowled because unusually the ball kept low on a Norton track. 44-2 at that stage, then Chris joined his brother Simon at the crease and another good partnership formed to get the score up to 77-3 as Chris (11) got himself caught when looking set for a good innings. Martyn (Wemanappa) Davies then joined Simon at the crease, Simon getting to 50 before getting himself caught in the deep. The innings was now in the balance, 107-4 with 20 overs to go. Martyn started to hit some boundaries, Zac Holm (1) however came and went very quickly again but at that stage Kashif and Martyn came together and with 12 overs to go the Norton in Hales boys needed 70 to win. Hefty blows from Martyn and Kashif kept the score going to the required run rate but just as it looked as though that pair were going to get us home Kashif (25) skied one and got himself caught out, the score now 167-6. At 171 and with 6 overs to go Martyn (49) got bowled looking to hit another boundary. The next couple of overs saw the new Norton batsman get tied down and the chance of winning went with 4 overs to go. Eddie Warrington scrabbled around for 5 runs, then it was left to Nigel Wellings and Simon Line to see out the last 3 overs which they did, Nigel not out 3 and Simon not out 4. The innings ending on 187-8 off the 55 overs. A real tough game and one which ebbed and flowed both ways at some point during the game. For the watching spectators it was a really good game of cricket to watch.

2nd team v Crewe 2nd X1 CC – The 2nd team boys traveled to Crewe and batted first. 3 players got into double figures on the day but 1 player managed to get into triple figures!!!!! Gary Rudd opened up the innings and scored a fantastic 73, Simon Belfield managed to get 13 and then unbelievably Ben Furnival, yes Ben Furnival after surviving a first ball appeal somehow smacked the ball everywhere getting an unbeaten 142! We think that has doubled his total runs scored for Norton in Hales over the past 20 years! What a player, that innings helping the Norton in Hales score to 255-8 off their 50 overs. Very similar to Norton, there were 3 players in the Crewe side who also got to double figures, however not enough to trouble the Norton bowlers. Crewe 2nd X1 CC were bowled out for 81. Jack Warrington 1-15, Tom Furnival 2-32, Kasim Abbas 3-25, Fred Furnival 3-4 and Paul Gould 1-4 doing the damage an getting the job done and gaining the 25 points.

Saturday 8th July 2017 – 1st team v Stone SP 2nd X1 CC (league fixture)

On a very warm day on the usual batting track at Swynnerton Park the Norton in Hales boys lost the toss and were put into bat first. Again the innings did not get off to a good start with Jack Furnival departing for 0. Zac Holm working his way to 19 before wafting at another one outside off stump and being caught. Nigel Wellings departed quickly to leave the Norton innings on 50-3. Simon Dyer and Martyn Davies then started the revival with a great 45 run stand before Simon Dyer holed out to mid on. That brought Kashif to the wicket and another good partnership developed, 60 was added before Kashif departed at extra cover for 30. Martyn kept going with further partnerships with Rob Leighton (11), Jack Warrington (6) and finally Simon Line (not out 8) to take the Norton in Hales innings to 268-7 declared off 53 overs. Martyn Davies finishing with a fantastic 146 not out with 12 fours and 9 sixes.
The Stone SP reply started slowly with Kashif getting an early wicket, 10-1. The Stone SP boys then put a string of good partnerships together on a good batting track. The 2nd wicket fell at 61, the 3rd wicket fell at 102 followed by the 4th for 130. At that point it looked a close game and one which would go to the very end. However bringing Kashif back into th attack after a good break made the difference. Stone SP tumbling out for 154. Kashif Ali  Moon bowling very well at the death to finish with figures of 7-39. Good support form Jack Furnival (1-39), Nigel Wellings (1-17), Michael Dyer (1-27) and Simon Dyer (0-26) made sure the Norton in Hales boys won a hard game at Stone SP 2nd X1 and pick up another 25 points.

2nd team v Woore 2nd X1 CC – Norton in Hales batted first against the league leaders Woore 2nd X1 CC. Rob Warrington fell first for 0 then a great stand between Gary Rudd (61) and Ibrahim Mahmood (32) pushed the score along to nicely. Liam Hollinshead (24) chipped in well along with little scores from Tom Furnival, Paul Gould, Kasim Abbas and George Tavernor got the score past the 150 marker. Paul Evans weighed in with 17 not out at the end to finish the Norton in Hales innings on 169-8 off 50 overs.
Unfortunately Paul Evans injured himself whilst batting so was unable to bowl. However Tom Furnival made good inroads with 3-42 along with Paul Gould 2-45. Tony Derricut chipped in with 1-30 but Woore got home by 4 wickets from 38 overs. Some dropped catches at crucial times cost the Norton boys dearly.

Saturday 1st July 2017 – 1st team v Barlaston 2nd X1 CC (league fixture)

After a week of rain the weather finally prevailed and on a very slow sticky track the Norton in Hales captain lost the toss and were asked to Bowl first. The opening pair of Kashif Ali Moon and Eddie Warrington both struggled to find their line and length and the Barlaston opening pair got off to a good start, 40-0 off 8 overs. Kashif finally bowled a straight one and trapped the batsman LBW, Eddie having dropped a simple caught and bowled previously then got a wicket getting his man caught at mid on and Kashif again bowling a straight one and bowling another of the Barlaston batsman. With a double change in bowling the next  20 overs went for 30 runs and the remaining 7 wickets fell. Nigel Wellings and Simon Dyer coming on and bowling dead straight and pitched up making life very difficult for the Barlaston batsman. Nigel finishing with 3 wickets, Simon Dyer with 4 plus 2 for Kashif and 1 for Eddie. Barlason bowled out for 82.
After an early tea the Norton in Hales reply got under way. What we saw from the sidelines was embarrassing! A shocking batting display from the opening 5 batsman who made the Barlaston 2nd X1 opening bowling pair look like Shane Warne and Courtney Walsh! 3-1, 3-2 and 5-3 was a shambolic start, not one wicket was due to the bowling! Kashif Ali Moon after spooning up a dolly that was dropped went on and hit 42 not out to rescue us, James Ruscoe was again in for 2 minutes and scored 20 before his usual departure. The rest, Zac Holm, Jack Furnival, Nigel Wellings, Simon Dyer and Martyn Davies, the least said about their bad day the better. Norton in Hales crept home by 4 wickets to gain 20 points. The only positive to be taken from the day.

2nd team v J G Meakins Development X1 CC – Norton in Hales batted first with opening pair Gary Rudd and veteran Rob Warrington producing a great opening stand of 92 before Gary exited for 45. Rob fell shortly after for 58, leaving the score 113-2. a couple of quick wickets later, Liam Hollinshead and another veteran Ben Furnival (bowled out by a 10 year old girl!), brought the young guns of Tom Furnival and Jack Warrington together and for the 6th wicket the boys put on a magnificent 113 runs to finish the Norton in Hales innings on 237-5 declared. Tom not out 54 and Jack not out 58.
The J G Meakins reply did not ever get going with Paul Evans in unbelievable form from one end. Wicket after wicket after wicket for Paul ‘Jister’ Evans, finishing with all 10 wickets for ony 12 runs off 10 overs. That man is a god!!!!!! J G Meakins Development X1 CC all out for 59. 25 points for the Norton in Hales 2nd X1!

Saturday 24th June 2017 – 1st team v Little Stoke 2nd X1 CC (league fixture)

Norton in Hales won the toss and elected to bat first against 10 men Little Stoke 2nd team. Zac Holm and Jack Furnival yet again set about getting the innings off to a solid start and put on a near 100 opening stand. Making everything look very easy, it was getting bored out in the middle which was their undoing, Zac out for 47 and Jack out of 34. James Ruscoe (back in the team!) then hit his usual edgy innings getting to 52 in no time at all before being bowled. Apart from new man Nigel Wellings who guided a wide one to point, the rest of the needed Norton in Hales batsman chipped in, Martyn Davies with a very cautious 64, Kashif Ali Moon 12, Simon Dyer with a fine 44 and the not out batsman Eddie Warrington 4 no and Simon Line 3 no to bring the innings to a declaration at 304-7 of 45 overs.
In reply the Little Stoke batsman did not put up much resistance and after 16 overs the game was all over. Kashif Ali Moon the main tormentor with 5-23 and opening partner Eddie Warrington with creditable figures of 3-24. Nigel Wellings chipping in with a wicket with his very first bowl for Norton in Hales 1-0. Little Stoke 2nd X1 all out for 52, giving Norton in Hales another 25 point haul.

2nd team v Rode Park and Lawton 2nd X1 CC – The Norton in Hales 2nd team bowled first in their fixture at Rode Park and set about dismissing the opposition batsman from the very beginning, Paul Evans doing the early damage. However strong resistance from the batting team meant at drinks Rode Park were 110-3. What happened after wasn’t predicted. Rode Park all out for 121! Paul Evans 4-55, Jack Warrington 1-48 and Kasim Abbas 4-13 doing all the damage. A great performance after drinks from the Norton in Hales bowlers.
Chasing 122 to win the Norton batsman made it a very close game! Good contributions from captain Gary Rudd (20) and young Tom Furnival clubbing a few (33), got the score close to the target. However wickets kept falling and it was left to Jack Warrington at number 8 to guide the Norton in Hales boys home. Jack finishing on 37 not out. Finishing with a 2 wicket win and 20 points for the Norton boys.

Saturday 17th June 2017 – 1st team v Silverdale 2nd X1 CC (league fixture)

On a scorching hot day Norton in Hales were asked to bat first by their opponents Silverdale 2nd X1 CC. That was a decision which the visitors would live to regret as the Norton in Hales opening pair of Zac Holm and Jack Furnival piled on the runs in an opening stand of 234! Both players had their fortune as dropped catches by the Silverdale lads didn’t help their cause. Jack Furnival eventually run out for a brilliant 123. Zac carried on and batted through til the declaration at 288-2 after 45 overs. Zac finishing up with a fantastic 127 not out. Chris Dyer had a brief spell in the middle for 10 runs and Simon Dyer was left with Zac at the end with 5 not out.
In reply and still in red hot weather the Norton in Hales bowlers were made to work hard for their wickets as stubborn resistance and scorching conditions made quick wickets hard to come by. However with hard work and good fielding the resistance was broken and wickets fell at good intervals to bowl out Silverdale 2nd X1 for 157. Kashif Ali Moon (3-37), Jack Furnival (1-8), Michael Dyer (2-21), Eddie Warrington (1-18), Simon Dyer (2-7) plus good support from Freddie Furnival and Chris Dyer wrapped up a win by 130 runs. Another great 25 points.

2nd team v Betley 2nd X1 CC – REPORT TO FOLLOW SOON.

Saturday 10th June 2017 – 1st team v Endon CC (league fixture)

The 1st team traveled to Endon for this top of the table clash but unfortunately the weather prevailed and the game was abandoned after 15 overs of the Endon reply. Norton in Hales lost the toss and on a very wet wicket were asked to bat first. A very steady start by Zac Holm and James Ruscoe made things look tricky but non eventful however as soon as the first wicket went down everything started to go pear shaped. Firstly James falling, being caught (shock!) then Zac also caught wafting at one outside off stump. Adnaan and Jack Furnival soon followed leaving Norton 50-4. Mr reliable Martyn Davies applied himself the right way (lots to learn for the top order again) and started to select the right ball to go for and held up one end. However both Eddie, Mobeen and Chris Dyer failed to stay with Martyn and wickets were still tumbling. Kashif came to the wicket batting at number 9 and for the first time this season also applied himself and selected the right ball to hit. Between himself and Martyn the score got up to a very respectful 120 before Martyn (49) was somehow given out LBW. Simon Line (leagues best number 11) came to the crease and also applied himself well so that between himself and Kashif got the Score up to 155 before Kashif (52) being caught out. Simon not out on 9. From another disastrous start the tail wagged again getting the Norton in Hales score up to a decent 155.
The Endon reply started well for Norton apart from the second over which went for 10. 2 early wickets, both from Jack Furnival and both bowled got the Norton tails up. However from that point the rain came and kept coming. The ball was now sodden and eventually the umpires decided to go off, we came back on in even worse rain but after 2 overs we were off again. That was the end! 5 points apiece for Norton in Hales and Endon.

2nd team v Oakamoor 2nd X1 CC: In similar fashion to the first team the rain came and ended this fixture. Norton in Hales bowled first and apart from 3 Oakamoor players getting 30 odd a piece no one else got anywhere near double figures. Great bowling again from Matthew Riley (5-35), Kasim Abbas (4-38) and Jack Warrington (1-35) restricting Oakamoor to 123 all out from 40 overs. At the tea interval the heavens opened and play never resumed! 7 points gained for Norton in Hales and 4 for Oakamoor 2nd X1.

Saturday 3rd June 2017 – 1st team v Oakamoor CC (league fixture)

Norton in Hales were asked to bowl first in their Div 3 fixture v Oakamoor CC. A mixture of good pressure bowling and fielding the Norton in Hales bowlers at very regular intervals took vital wickets to keep stunting the Oakamoor CC innings. All the wickets were either LBW, caught behind the stumps or bowled showing that bowling straight was the order of the day. Zac Holm behind the stumps taking 4 catches plus 1 for Simon Line at 1st slip. The wickets being shared by Jack Furnival (6-25) Kashif Ali Moon (2-13) and Chris Dyer (2-13) to end the Oakamoor innings on 82 from 36 overs.
In reply the Norton batsman had mixed fortunes as some made an impact but yet again quite a few didn’t! James Ruscoe with his customary quickfire 32 got Norton on their way but a glut of wickets made for an interesting finale! Zac reaching doubles figures before falling plus Chris Dyer, Kashif, Jack and Eddie Warrington all departing very quickly to leave the Norton boys 6 down for 50. However steady and calculated batting from Simon Dyer (15 no) and Martin Davies (20 no)  saw the Norton in Hales boys home in 17 overs for a 4 wicket victory and 20 points to make it 7 wins from 7 games.

2nd team v Moddershall Oulton 6th X1 – In a tense game the 2nd team put in another dogged rear guard performance to claim a draw. Chasing 187 after Matthew Riley (5-22), Matthew Day (1-63) and Kasim Abbas (1-50) plus supprt from Paul Gould and Ibby Mahmood. The Norton in Hales boys chipped away at the total to get within striking distance with Gary Rudd (32) and Ibby (35) getting good early runs but with wickets also falling the rear guard of Kasim Abbas, Paul Gould, Tony Derricutt and Matthew Riley had to hold firm to gain a draw finishing on 171-9. A valiant effort and plenty of points gained in this tense encounter.

Saturday 27th May 2017 – 1st team v Hanford CC (league fixture)

Norton in Hales were asked to bat first by Hanford CC on a day where rain threatened to come at any point. After a few weeks of top order failures finally a solid platform was set by the Norton in Hales batsman which set up the perfect batting performance. James Ruscoe and Zac Holm set the early pace, Zac very measured and James swinging away. Some hefty blows moved the score very quickly on before James being bowled for 27. Chris Dyer came in at 3 and played beautifully along with the determined Zac Holm. Another great partnership developed before Chris was dismissed for 25 caught behind off his pad! Jack Furnival joined his lover (Zac) at the crease and moved the score on at ease to 151 for 3 before Zac fell LBW for a magnificant 71. The platform had been set and Jack now with Martyn Davies set about destrying the Hanford attack, whoever bowled. A near 100 partnership in very quick time took the Norton in Hales score to 250-4 off 40 overs, Jack Furnival finally bowled for 61. The rain came so the Norton skipper Mike Dyer declared the innings and tea was taken. Martyn Davies finishing unbeaten on 42.
The rain soon past and the Norton in Hales opening bowling pair of Kashif Ali Moon and Jack Furnival went to work. 2 early wickets for Jack, one bowled and the other caught behind by Zac put Hanford in a bit of trouble but they were scoring freely with some inconsistent bowling. The Hanford score racing to 50 off 10 overs. Without the Norton in Hales bowlers firing on all cylinders wickets fell regularly and the Hanford innings was running out of batsman. However the 8th wicket partnership from Hanford curtailed the Norton celebrations and a partnership developed for 15 overs which left the Norton lads frustrated. Playing and missing most balls but the ball wasnt hitting the stumps. Finally a full and straight delivery from Jack Furnival did the trick and very soon after an unbelievable catch by Eddie Warrington behind square off Mike Dyer the 10th wicket fell wrapping up the Hanford innings for 152 and a 98 run victory plus 25 points for Norton in Hales. Kashif finishing with 4-41, Jack Furnival 5-36, Chris Dyer, 0-14, Eddie Warrington 0-16 and Mike Dyer 1-2.

2nd team v Sandbach 2nd X1 – Norton in Hales decided to bowl first and soon had Sandbach in lots of trouble. Early wickets for both Paul Evans and Matthew Riley had Sandbach on the back foot very quickly and they never recovered. Apart from an unbeaten 44 by the Sandbach opener no-one else got to double figures and they were bowled out for 71. Paul evans 1-30, Matthew Riley 3-15, Kasim Abbas 3-10 and Paul Gould 3-5.
In reply Norton in Hales took 17 overs to knock the score off, Gary Rudd the only victim going bowled for 16. That left Ibby (25 no) and Simon Belfield (23 no) to see home the win and the 20 points.

Saturday 20th May – 1st team v Hem Heath 2nd X1 (league fixture)

Norton in Hales for the first time this season bowled first, the game was rain affected and reduced to 47 overs per innings. Hem Heath started brightly and with a mixture of poor leg side bowling, dropped catch and a No-Ball bowled the first wicket did not happen until the score was on 24, Jack Furnival bowling their opener. Another little partnership developed and the second wicket went down for 54, Martyn Davies catching at mid off, off Mike Dyer. A crazy 10 minutes then left the visitors 56-5 with further wickets from the Dyer brothers, Chris and Mike. However Hem Heath recovered well and a 6th wicket stand of 44 got them to 100 for the 6th wicket, this time Kashif Ali Moon getting his first wicket of the day. A steady flow of wickets folowed and Hem Heath were soon 115-8. A 9th wicket partnership of 21 then followed before Kashif got his 3rd wicket of the day. From 136-9 Hem Heath were soon 136 all out. Steady bowling figures from all the Norton in Hales attack gave the Norton batters a challenge to try and achieve, Kashif 3-31, Jack Furnival 3-31, Chris Dyer, 1-20 and Mike Dyer 3-23.
The Norton in Hales reply got off to its usual start with James Ruscoe falling for 0, soon followed by Mobeen also for 0, the score 1 for 2! Those wickets brought Zac Holm and Jack Furnival together and they steadied the ship very well before a very unfortunate LBW decision brought Zac’s innings to an end, leaving the score on 43-3. The next partnership between Jack and new batsman Martyn Davies finished the game as a contest. A fantastic partnership of 85 took the Norton in Hales score to 128-4. Jack Furnival falling for 42 then Martyn falling for 60, the score now 131-5. Eddie Warrington decided to try and win the game in one hit but getting caught, so with 3 runs needed we were now 134-6. Luckily the Dyer brothers then saw Norton in Hales home to win by 4 wickets. 20 points and still top of the league.

2nd team v Stone SP CC 4th X1 – Norton in Hales 2nd team also bowled first away at Stone SP 4th X1. A steady trickle of wickets and little batting partnerships meant that Stone SP made their way to 143-9 off their reduced overs of 43. Matthew Riley finishing with 3-28, Kasim Abbas 2-36, Matthew Day 2-26, Paul Gould 1-18 and the unlucky Paul Evans 0-29. The chase looked all but over after the Norton innings collapsed to 42-8, however a fantastic 9th wicket partnership between the expeienced Paul Evans (16) and Tony Derricutt (19) saved the day. Tony finally getting out with a ball to spare  but the final wicket held firm and from the jaws of defeat the Norton in Hales boys held out for a draw.

Saturday 13th May – 1st team v Crewe CC (league fixture)

Norton in Hales travelled to Crewe and batted first against the team 2nd in the league. A comfortable start for Norton as always then soon turned ugly as a silly run when cruising put Simon Belfield back in the pavillion, 13-1. Ibby soon caught behind, Jack Furnival middling one down legside to the diving keeper and Mobeen nailing a full toss straight to mid off then made the score 25-4. Zac (at least I batted for 50 balls) Holm then went LBW with the score now 39-5 and Norton top order gone (again!). In now was Martyn Davies and Eddie Warrington and those 2 again started the rescue, putting on nearly 60 for the 6th wicket. Eddie caught on the boundary for a very good 22, Martyn was still there, however Kashif went in and straight out again. The Norton in Hales score  now 95-7. Martyn ‘Slap’ Davies then went for 44 bringing the Dyer brothers to the crease together. Once again a fantastic 9th wicket partnership of 40 took the score to 145-9, Mike skying one for 14. Ben Furnival went in at number 11 and stayed with Chris who hit more vital runs before being stumped in the final over for 34. The Norton in Hales innings coming to an end for 162, which was a good score considering where we were earlier in the innings.
The reply for Crewe was very good with their pro and opener looking comfortable. However Jack Furnival made the breakthrough, 34-1 and then a couple of overs later the vital wicket of the Crewe CC pro by Jack Furnival again turned the game. From 48-2, Kashif was given a reprieve and given 1 more over and it started a collapse. Kashif’s 3rd hat trick of the season turned the Crewe inings on its head, now 49-5 soon became 49-6 with Chris Dyer chipping in with the first of his 3 wickets. Chris (3-22) and Eddie Warrington (1-12) then bowled very well togther chipping away at the Crewe batsman to leave them on 77-9. Jack Furnival wrapped up their innings with another caught and bowled (3-16) and along with Kashif (3-26) the main bowlers again did their job well. Crewe CC all out for 88.

2nd team v Stafford 3rd X1 – Norton in Hales made very light work of Stafford 3rd X1 and the game was over before the football 2nd half kick offs! Stafford 3rd X1 bowled out for 90 with Paul Evans (1-17) and Matthew Riley (2-22) taking the first 3 Stafford wickets quickly. Kasim Abbas then polished them off with 6-22 and Freddie Furvival (1-15) chipping in with 1 wicket to bowl Stafford 3rd X1 out.
The Norton in Hales run chase lasted 14 overs with Gary Rudd (26 no), and James Ruscoe (49) taking us home very easily. A brief 8 no by Tom Furnival sealing the win for the 2nd team.

Saturday 6th May – 1st team v Bagnall Norton (league fixture)

On a chilly and cloudy saturday the Norton in Hales boys batted first against big spending Bagnall Norton with Willett and Raza as their opening bowling pair. James Ruscoe and Jack Furnival started well putting on a steady 24 for the 1st wicket. However good bowling from 1st pro Asif Raza then put the skids on the Norton in Hales innings bowling out Mobeen and Zac straight away, Bellers soon following as did Kashif! 2nd pro Willett then chipped in removing Chris Dyer cheaply and Norton in Hales were soon 100 for 7. Martin Davies now took over and carved out a fantastic 40 to give the Norton in Hales innings some stability in the middle to late order before being caught behind. Fortunately the Norton tail is very good at wagging when needed and a magnificant 9th wicket partnership between captain Mike Dyer and young gun Eddie Warrington turned the game on its head. No matter who bowled at them they just kept on playing top class cricket shots and the score raced along, finally Eddie departing for a fantastic 75 with the score now on 190 for 9. The second best number 11 in the league then came to the crease and along with Mike put another very important 10th wicket partnership together before Martin being bowled. The Norton in Hales innings finishing on 211.
After tea the Norton in Hales bowlers set about their business very well. Jack and Kashif opening up and soon reducing Bagnall Norton to 23 for 3. A bizarre 12 overs then followed with the match ball lost and the spare being used the Bagnall 1st pro then let loose with the bat and the Bagnall Norton score raced to 90 without further loss. During an injury break to the Baganll Norton batsman the match ball was then found and from 90 for 3 the Bagnall Norton team were blown apart by Jack Furnival and Kashif Ali Moon, with good support from Chris Dyer. Bagnall Norton all out for 129 and another fantstic display from Norton in Hales brought about the 25 point haul, what a game!

2nd Team v Hanford CC (league fixture) – Norton in Hales batted first and with Ibby on fire (53), with good support from captain Gary Rudd (25) the score ticked along nicely. With further good support from Andy Wilshaw (11) and Paul Evans (33) the Norton in Hales innings finished on 175 for 7. In reply the game went to the very last wicket and unfortunatley Hanford just creaping over the line by 1 wicket to sneak victory against a valiant Norton in Hales team.

Sunday 30th April – 1st team v Elworth CC (Talbot Cup)

Norton in Hales were drawn at home against Division 1 side Elworth CC in the 45 over Talbot Cup. Norton were asked to bowl first and set about the early overs very well with Chris Dyer and Eddie Warrington bowling excellent lines restricting Elworth and taking a wicket a piece. Mike Dyer came on and took a couple of wickets leaving Elworth 4 down for 50 odd at drinks break. However Elworth professional Yasir Ali then cam to the crease and despite a few good early overs at him from Mike Dyer and Simon Line, a missed stumping opportunity cost the Norton in Hales boys as Yasir Ali went on to hit an incredible 118 with 10 sixes and 5 fours to take the game away from Norton in Hales. The Norton bowlers bowled very well at the rest of the Elworth batsman but Yasir Ali just kept finding the boundary. Their innings finished on 236-8 after 45 overs. Wickets for Fred Furnival who bowled really well plus 2 for Mike Dyer, Jack Furnival and Chris Dyer and 1 for Eddie Warrington.
In reply the Norton in Hales innings got off to a bad start with Jack Furnival going caught behind off Yasir Ali for 0. However after that the Norton batsman dug in and the top order put together good little partnerships before silly wickets and run out kept them behind the run rate. Chris Dyer batting really well against Yasir Ali before being run out for 19, Zac Holm again looking comfortable before departing for 30. Mike Dyer chipped in with 11. Eddie Warrington went straight in and out for 0, Martin Davies then steadying the sip with a good partnership with Simon Line getting the score well over the 100 marker. Martin fell for 34 and Simon Line for 19. The remaining wickets of Tom Furnival, Freddie Furnival, Ed Bourne and Ruscoe soon went and Norton in Hales were all out for 129.

Saturday 29th April – 1st team v Moddershall/Oulton CC (league fixture)

On what turned out to be a very tricky batting surface with lots of variable bounce and spit, the Norton in Hales boys opted to bat first. With the fortune of some poor fielding the Norton opening pair of Jack Furnival and James Ruscoe got us off to a good start putting on 43 for the first wicket. What followed was a bit of a wobble and regular wickets fell and the Norton in Hales innings scratching around to 98-8. Then a magnificant 9th wicket stand between captain Mike Dyer and young blood Eddie Warrington of 81 turned the game in Norton in Hales favour. Mike not out 28 and Eddie an awesome 42 not out. At the close of the innings Norton in Hales finished on 179-9.
After tea the Moddershall/Oulton batsman got their reply going, unfortunately for Norton in Hales opening bowler Jack Furnival pulled his groin 1st ball and could not continue. However the good news was that it brought Kashif to the crease early!  Moddershall/Oulton were soon reduced to 23-5 with another Kashif hat-trick, but rallied very well with a 6th wicket partnership of 50. At 77-6 another 50 run partnership put Moddershall/Oulton back in the game. Captain Mike Dyer then taking the vital 7th wicket to reduce the opposition to 124-7. With tough resistence being encountered, the Norton in Hales boys finally ended the Moddershall/Oulton innings at 145 all out to secure another 25 points. Kashif finishing with 7 wickets but being well supported by Chris Dyer, Zac Holm, Eddie Warrington and Mike Dyer.

2nd team v Crewe CC – Norton in Hales bowled first and bowled very well restricting the Crewe batsman to very few scoring shots. At one points the overs were nearly as many as total runs. The Crewe innings finished on 120 odd for 7 after 50 overs with Paul Evans taking another 5 wicket haul.
The Norton in Hales reply did not go as planned and apart from another great 50 from Rob Warrington the Norton in Hales reply finished 15 runs short to eventually suffer defeat.

Saturday 22nd April – 1st team v Stone Swynnerton Park CC (league fixture)

Norton in Hales won the first toss of the season and decided to bat first, the ground and wicket looked fantastic with the weather set fair for the day. The innings got off to a poor start with Jack Furnival departing for just 4, then Simon Belfield going in at 3 but departing shortly after for 1, Zac Holm went in at 4 but again left shortly for just 1, leaving the score 30-3. Fortunately for Norton James Ruscoe got his eye in and was joined at the crease by Martin Davies, between them and with solid batting and good hefty blows got the score up to 102 before James was caught on the boundary (shock!) for 64, the score now 102-4. The innings then started to wobble again, Kashif came in and went virtually straight away for 8, Martin then was caught for 34 with the score on 119-6. The rest of the Norton batsman did not contribute and the innings came to an end with the score on 124.
After Tea break the Norton bowlers had to bowl straight and create pressure as the total was a bit short of what we wanted. Jack Furnival and Chris Dyer opened the bowling and took an over each to settle down as runs came easily in the first few overs. Once setlled in they bowled a great line creating a little bit of pressure on the Stone Swynnerton batsman. The break through came from Jack who bowled their opener, then at steady intervals broke through the Stone Swynnerton top order. At the end of Jack’s 7 over spell Stone Swynnerton were 46-4. What happened next was quite unbelievable, Kashif came on as 2nd change bowler to replace Jack, Mike Dyer had come on to replace Chris Dyer and taken the important wicket of their captain. Kashif simply blew the rest of the Stone Swynnerton team away with a 2.5 over spell of fast accurate bowling, taking 6 wickets (all bowled) for 0 runs conceded, leaving Stone Swynnerton Park CC all out for 58, giving Norton in Hales CC with a fantastic 25 point haul on the opening game of the season.

2nd Team v Woore CC – Norton in Hales batted first and posted a total of 189 with captain Gary Rudd scoring 80 odd, Liam Hollinshead also contributing well with 20 odd to post a good score on a tricky wicket. In reply Woore were bowled out for 89 with Paul Evans again doing the damage with 4-22. An excellent performance by the Norton in Hales lads, thrashing Woore and gaining 25 points like the 1st team.

Saturday 15th April 2017 – Longton/Porthill Park T15 Friendly competition

v Longton CC – Norton in Hales CC batted first with Zac Holm and James Ruscoe opeining the innings, unfortunatley James looked out of nic and went for 0! Adnaan and Zac then set about the Longton attack putting on an excellent 2nd wicket partnership of 50 odd with Zac eventually falling with a reverse sweep staright to gulley for 33. Norton with the help of Mobeen and Kashif got the score up to 105 with Adnaan 60 odd not out. In reply Longton settled in well with Alex Thorley striking the ball well but the fielders very much helping his score tick along. With Eddie Warrington, Zac Holm, Chris Dyer, Kashif, Adnaan, Simon Line and Mike Reid bowling tight lines the Longton batsman needed 2 from the last ball to win which they reached with a 4! A tight game but Longton just prevailing.

v Porthill Park CC – Norton in Hales this game bowled first against the Premier Division Champions of 2016. Again tight lines we being bowled by the Norton in Hales bowlers. Mike Dyer, Chris Dyer, Eddie Warrington, Zac Holm, Kashif, Simon Line and Mike Reid restricted the Porthill batsman until Simon Line’s 2nd over (13th over) went to the moon (24 off the over) taking the Porthill score to 125 off 15 overs. Therefore a more challenging target was set for the Norton batsman. Zac and Adnaan opening up and ticking the score along but with wickets falling at regular intervals the Norton batsman could not quite get the match winning partnership early on. Zac, Adnaan, Kashif and Mobeen all falling for between 10 and 20 runs apiece. However James Ruscoe and Chris Dyer then started to click and the score was rapidly impropving towards the 125 total needed. In the final over boundaries were flying and with 6 required on the last ball to tie Chris Dyer launched the ball to the boundary, unfortunatley he was caught on the boundary to give Porthill Park the victory. Another tight game with the Norton in Hales boys holding their own against Prenier Division opposition.

Saturday September 24th

Norton Second XI vs. Oulton (a)

Norton Second XI’s final game of the season was the away fixture against Oulton that was cancelled earlier in the season. With the First XI fixture programme complete skipper Gary Rudd had the luxury of covering the cry-offs with Simon Line and Chris Dyer who have been on first team duty for the rest of the season. It didn’t take too long for the pair to make their mark as, batting first, Norton quickly found themselves four wickets down with only 33 runs on the board and Line and Dyer found themselves at the crease. Initially Both played in circumspect fashion putting on 66 in even time but after Dyer’s dismissal for 24 Line decided it was time to go on the attack. Despite the last four batsmen mustering only three runs between them, Line hammered the ball to all parts to finish on 81 not out, with 60 of the runs coming in boundaries. Thanks to Line’s counterattack Norton finished on 145 all out from 34.5 overs with an outside chance of victory.

Oulton started their innings well and, helped along with a couple of dropped catches behind the wicket, the runs came at good rate. Despite Paul Evans bowling a tidy line the Norton bowlers were going to the boundary once an over. Paul Evans then took a deserved wicket and with Matthew Day and Lloyd Hollinshead also chipping in with a wicket each the game was in the balance with the Oulton score on 49 for 3. For the next few overs a rapid Oulton 4th wicket partnership almost took the game away from Norton until the breakthrough wicket came at 109.The game seemed to be up for Norton though, as the fifth wicket partnership took Oulton to 133 for 5. Chris Dyer then took the all important wicket of Tom Parker for 68 and an inspired piece of captaincy  won the game. Skipper Gary Rudd brought Simon Line into the attack and with the score static on 133 Line capped a fine individual performance in style by taking 4 wickets (all bowled, 3 middle stump and 1 leg stump) for no runs in two overs. Oulton were all out for the same score of 133 and Norton had completed dramatic win from an unlikely position. With Simon Line a fairly strong candidate for man of the match a jubilant Second team were able to round off a good season with a winning finish.

Saturday September 17th

Norton First vs. Rode Park (a)

After a season of close encounters Norton in Hales signed off their season in style with a thrilling two run victory at Rode Park. Still in with an outside chance of promotion if rivals Eccleshall lost their final game, Norton won the toss and batted first in search of the required 25-pointer on what looked to be an absolute road of a wicket. James Ruscoe and Jack Furnival started positively in an opening stand of 45 with Ruscoe signalling Norton’s intent in typical fashion with five 4s and one 6 in his rapid 29. Rode Park then broke through with several quick wickets to slow Norton’s progress. At 78 for 5 the match was in the balance but Zac Holm and Kashif Ali Moon then came together in a sparkling match winning partnership. Holm took a few overs to find his bearings before the pair of them unleashed a spectacular assault on the Rode Park attack. Ali Moon was particularly brutal, striking 89 from only 61 balls with eight 4s and seven 6s. Holm was only slightly more measured with his eighteen boundaries which included a mighty six to bring up a much deserved hundred. Throughout the season Holm has been the mainstay of the Norton batting line-up but, for the most part batting on tricky green wickets, this hasn’t always been reflected in the runs he has scored. Here, with pace and bounce in the track he was more at home and showed his class with a fine innings. Mindful of the need for points, Norton declared as soon as Holm reached his hundred with the score on 267 for 6 from 52 overs.

On such a good track Norton were keen to strike early with the ball but the Rode Park batsmen were just as keen to enjoy the conditions. Although it was difficult to keep the run-rate down, Zafar Iqbal kept Norton in the hunt by taking wickets at regular intervals. At 105 for 5 Zafer had cleared out most of the top order and Norton seemed poised for victory but in a mirror image of the Norton innings Rode Park’s overseas player Jalat Khan began to play his shots and the tables were suddenly turned. Jalat and new batting partner Nick Atkinson took the score to 190 before Zafar trapped Atkinson lbw, then crucially Jalat himself fell caught behind off Zafar just one short of a magnificent century. Bowling straight and fast, Zafar now took two more wickets to leave the score on 212 for 9. Zafar had now taken all nine wickets to fall and Norton looked to be on course for 25 points. Once more, though, Rode Park had other ideas as their last pair threw caution to the wind to strike out for victory. With boundaries coming thick and fast Gallimore and Frost added 30, then 40, then 50 runs in a devastating counter-attack. But with the score on 265 for 9 and with only three runs required Frost shaped to cut Zafar to the boundary only to direct the ball straight to Holm in the gulley who made no mistake in pouching a sharp chance. Norton had won an absolute thriller at the death and Zafar had achieved the rare feat of taking all ten opposition wickets in an innings. A terrific performance on a perfect batting track!

As Norton celebrated the win news filtered through that rivals Eccleshall had won at Alsager by only five runs as Alsager’s last five batsmen were dismissed for only four runs! So, Eccleshall had pipped Norton for the second promotion spot and after a fantastic tussle throughout the season Norton wish their local rivals the best of luck for next season in Division 1. For their part, after exceeding all expectations with their performances this year Norton will be hoping to retain their players and build upon their squad for what will hopefully be another exciting season in 2017.

 

Norton Second XI vs. Oulton (h)

Norton Seconds’ penultimate match of the season ended in disappointment after Norton looked favourites to take the points for most of the game. Tidy bowling restricted Outon to 132 all out with only opening batsman Ben Clegg (53) building a responsible innings. Norton will be disappointed that next top scorer was 20 ‘Extras’, with eleven of these byes, as ultimately that proved to be the difference between the sides. In reply Norton had a reasonable start with youngsters Seb Ruscoe (18), Liam Hollinshead (11) and Matthew Day (19) all making double figures. A fifth-wicket partnership between Jack Warrington (22) and Adrian Noden (23) then really put Norton in control but with these two batsmen dismissed in quick succession no-one else was able to stay at the crease and Oulton ran out winners by 10 runs.

 

Saturday September 10th

Norton First XI vs. Meir Heath (h)

Norton went into this match needing maximum points to keep up the pressure on Eccleshall in their promotion battle. With Eccleshall four points ahead of Norton and facing bottom club Crewe in their league fixture, anything other than a win for Norton would leave them with a mountain to climb to overtake their local rivals. It wasn’t to be Norton’s day, however, as they were unable to overcome Meir Heath’s stiff resistance and ultimately the game fizzled out for a draw.

Norton were put into bat on a fairly lifeless track and produced a decent batting performance to reach 180 for 9 from their 55 overs. Opener James Ruscoe took the honours as top scorer with a well-struck 41 which started off the innings at a good pace. But although there were other good contributions from Chris Dyer (13), Zac Holm (27) and Kashif Ali Moon (17), no-one else was able to keep up the run rate on the dead pitch until Simon Line (28 not out) got together with skipper Mike Dyer to clobber the bowling around in an entertaining last wicket partnership of 40 runs. This meant that Meir Heath faced a challenging task if they wanted to win the game.

Unfortunately for both sides, two early wickets for Zafar Iqbal meant that victory for Meir Heath became an unlikely prospect and the visiting batsmen immediately went into survival mode. The game then went through a period where nothing really happened, the scoreboard ticked over painfully slowly with no wickets in sight, until Jack Furnival was introduced into the attack and fiery spell of pace bowling produced two quick wickets. The crucial wicket of Meir Heath number three Austen Crump remained intact though, and he began to look even more secure as the innings progressed. The return of Zafar was to bring another wicket and with the close of play nearing Mike Dyer came into the attack to win an lbw decision but it was all too late and with Crump still unbeaten on 58 not out Meir Heath ground out a draw.

As far as promotion was concerned Norton took 13 points from the game but news soon filtered through that Eccleshall had achieved a 25-point win against Crewe, leaving Norton 16 points away from a promotion place with one game to play.

This week’s match was kindly sponsored by Geoff Harrell

 

Norton Second XI vs. Stone Swynnerton (a)

Norton travelled to Swynnerton with only ten men and fearing the worst but turned in a terrific performance to beat the hosts by six wickets. The key to Norton’s victory was some tight bowling on a decent track and good catching. As he has done all season, Paul Evans produced yet another tidy spell of seam bowling to take four wickets aided by excellent catches from Jack and Ed Warrington. Swynnerton were bowled out for 126. Norton attacked their target with relish and after Seb Ruscoe (15) had given Norton a good start the Warrington boys starred again with the bat in a match winning partnership, Ed making a sparkling 73 not out as the required runs were scored in only 24 overs.

 

Saturday September 3rd

First XI vs. Barlaston (h)

From very early in the day the First XI home fixture against Barlaston looked sure to be washed out on yet another wet Saturday but an unexpected break in the rain gave Norton an outside chance of taking points from the game, an opportunity they gratefully took with both hands. With the start delayed by just over two hours the game was reduced to 34 overs a side and for the first time in eight weeks Norton won the toss to put their opponents in to bat. Steady partnerships gave Barlaston a solid start but Norton kept a firm grip on the run rate and at 75 for 3 Barlaston began to push on in search of a good total. This was where the wheels began to fall off the innings, however, as the introduction of Kashif Ali Moon into the bowling attack turned the game in Norton’s favour. With good support from Chris Dyer, Jack Furnival and Zafar Iqbal, who each took a wicket apiece, Kashif took 6 wickets as Barlaston were bundled out for 117. The bowlers were supported by some excellent fielding and catching from Norton in Hales with two highlights being a sharp James Ruscoe run out and the fielding of club chairman Roly Tavernor, who was making his first team debut!

With Norton only winning once previously this season when batting second and with a number of recent batting collapses to reflect upon, the run chase could have been a very nervy one. But Norton’s opening pair of James Ruscoe and Jack Furnival set about their job positively. Ruscoe set the ball rolling with a quick 13, including a six and a four, while Furnival never missed an opportunity to score in building his innings sensibly. Chris Dyer (18) helped to raise the score to 93 for 5 when Furnival was dismissed for an impressive 42 and this left Zac Holm and Ryan Elwell to calmly steer Norton to the winning target from 29.2 overs. The twenty-point win puts Norton firmly back into the promotion chase only four points behind second placed team Eccleshall as their nearest rivals failed to complete on a rain soaked Saturday. With two games to go the season has boiled up nicely to an exciting finish and after this performance Norton will now feel their second innings nerves have been well and truly conquered as they look to win their remaining fixtures.

Second XI  vs. Hanford (a)

Norton Seconds away fixture was an early casualty of the weather as their opponents’ ground was adjudged unfit to play following the Saturday morning deluge.

For full scorecards visit: http://nortoninhales.play-cricket.com/

 

Saturday August 27th

First XI vs. Woore (a)

Norton travelled to near neighbours Woore for their local derby looking for a victory to keep their promotion hopes alive. Their hosts, also seeking points to keep them clear of the relegation places, provided stubborn opposition but ultimately Norton were denied a hard fought victory as the weather closed in at the end of a miserable, damp afternoon.

Asked to bat on a lively wicket Norton found themselves batting in light drizzle which made batting difficult. With the batsmen working hard to put together small partnerships Norton’s top three all made a start but lost their wickets before being able to push on as the ball continued to dart around. As he has done all season, though, Zac Holm (48) stood firm to provide the solid platform which gave Kashif Ali Moon (48) the chance to free his arms and do what he is good at – whacking the ball out of the park. Ali Moon’s rapid contribution meant that Norton’s total now began to look competitive and a further  flurry of scoring shots from Calum Claydon (20) looked to have taken the game out of Woore’s reach as Norton were eventually bowled out for 174. An excellent total given the conditions.

Woore’s reply began slowly and never really increased in tempo as Norton opening bowlers Zafar Iqbal and Chris Dyer kept the lid on the scoring rate. With Woore opening batsman Johnny Woodfield becalmed at one end, Zafer and Dyer each took a wicket to bring in Woore’s overseas player Mohammed Ayub. Ayub played responsibly to make 46 before falling to Zafar and now Norton saw their chance. Norton’s bowlers began to work through the Woore batting line-up but Woodfield held firm to make 25 not out from 45 overs and with the score at 104 for 6 the umpires decided that the light was not good enough for play to continue. So, not a result either side really wanted but, in denying their visitors the full 25 points, Woore will be happier with the outcome.

 

Second XI  vs. Oakamoor (h)

Norton seconds were unable to provide a much needed bright spot to what was a dreary Saturday afternoon. After the start was delayed by sharp showers the game got underway with an aggressive opening partnership between Rob Warrington and Gary Rudd. After taking a good look at the bowling for the first couple of overs Warrington, in particular, began to thump the ball around to good affect. Rudd then began to follow suit before holing out for 21. Warrington continued to strike the ball powerfully for a well made 55 and at 83 for 2 a good score seemed likely. However, there then followed a fairly spectacular collapse as the remaining batsmen found various ways of self-destructing and, with no-one else reaching double figures Norton found themselves bundled out for 117. There was enough life in the wicket to give Norton some hope of a victory but early wickets were vital. Unfortunately, Oakamoor’s batsmen were in a positive mood and in between spooning the ball in the air into gaps between fielders they also played some punishing shots. With the benefit of a couple of spilled chances their score began to progress nicely before Jack Warrington uprooted Cooke’s leg stump to make the breakthrough. At 62-1 more wickets were vital for any chance of a Norton victory but these came courtesy of a fine spell of bowling from young Matt Day. Hardly erring in line and length, Day took 3 for 16 from 8 overs to bring Norton back into the game. Meanwhile Booth, Oakamoor’s other opener, was hanging in there, playing and missing, chipping the ball short of fielders and then finding the boundary. The dark skies now began to gather around the ground and more drizzle arrived but the game was now set for a finish and it was Oakamoor who took the victory as the ball became greasy and a few well timed shots found the boundary. Booth ended on exactly 50 not out and Norton were left to rue their batting as an extra 20 or 30 runs would probably have won the day.

For full scorecards visit: http://nortoninhales.play-cricket.com/

 

Saturday August 20th

 First XI vs. Eccleshall (h)

With six regular first-teamers unavailable Saturday’s game against in-form Eccleshall was always going to be tricky and although Norton put up a fight, after being skittled out for 92 there was only going to be one winner. Asked to bat on a day of squally showers Norton initially looked to be building a good score. Despite losing Chris Dyer early on, opening partner Simon Belfield found a few gaps in the gulley area and for a while the scoreboard moved forward in boundaries only. Ryan Ellwell provided solid support before losing patience and scooping a ball into the cover field but the most productive partnership of the innings then followed as Zac Holm (20) joined Belfield (25) to slowly build the innings. When Belfield’s luck outside off stump finally ran out this brought in Jack Warrington to start the process all over again. But a heavy rain storm then led to a break in proceedings and on the resumption an immediate change of bowling broke Norton’s resistance, with the off spinner first gaining surprising bounce to dismiss Holm caught at slip off a glove and then tempting Warrington to overreach and swat a catch to square leg. Simon Ellwell then followed, unluckily adjudged caught close to the bat. With the innings in tatters at 77 for 7 and many overs to go the remaining batsmen were hoping to scrape together another 30 or 40 runs in order to give Norton something to bowl at but it was not to be as the end came quickly in the face of some accurate bowling.

With such a low score there was no margin for error for Norton’s bowlers and Chris Dyer and Zafar Iqbal both produced challenging early spells to restrict the Eccleshall openers. Overall, however, despite having to dodge quite a few short balls from Zafar the Eccleshall batsmen were probably quite grateful he was not focusing on the stumps instead. Although it was hard work Eccleshall began to grind out a solid reply until Dyer broke through, inducing the edge from Hibberd that had looked on the cards for some time. As he has done all season Holm made a tricky slip catch look easy. After another spell of circumspect play the score began to mount again and the Eccleshall batsmen then began to look more confident but when Dyer bowled a rare long hop Coughlan lashed the ball to midwicket only to see Simon Ellwell pluck a stunning catch out of the air and send the disbelieving batsmen on his way. With both openers gone Norton now began to see a glimmer of opportunity and Zafar adjusted his radar to bowl two of the new batsmen and leave Eccleshall on 54 for 4. Again the score moved forward but just as Eccleshall looked to be getting on top again an attempted sharp single to Chris Dyer at point saw the fielder throw down the wicket with one stump to aim at, as yet another excellent piece of fielding kept Norton in the game. With Norton’s hopes of a shock victory rising, Eccleshall’s Robert Lakin then took the game by the scruff of the neck. After an initial period of wafting at the ball and missing Lakin began to get his eye in and, combining sensible running with some lusty blows, quickly struck 27 invaluable runs to see Eccleshall home.  No argument that Eccleshall deserved the victory but full marks to Norton for making them battle hard all the way.

 

This week’s match was kindly sponsored by Andy Maddox

 

Second XI vs. Woore (a)

A rain affected game at Woore led to  an unsatisfactory outcome as ultimately there was not enough time to give any chance of a result. Even so, despite each side taking seven points from the encounter Norton will count this as a moral victory. Put into bat by Woore, Norton  made a faltering start as both openers were quickly back in the hut with only 10 runs on the board. Kasim Abbas and Liam Hollinshead then restored the balance before Patrick Allman (22) contributed a lively knock to help tilt the game in Norton’s favour. The lengthy rain breaks began to drain time out the game but Abbas continued to tick over the scoreboard before finally departing for a well-made 60. Norton we re now in the position often facing sides batting first in a rain affected game with not enough time to bowl out the opposition but wondering whether there would be enough time for their opponents to launch a smash and grab raid to take the points. This possibility was averted, however, by a valuable late partnership between Paul Evans (13) and Ed Bourne and Norton were eventually bowled out for 139 with around one hour to play. Any outside possibility of Woore pulling off a shock victory on the wet conditions was quickly removed as Norton’s opening bowlers Evans (2 for 4) and Abbas (2 for 15) then went to work to remove Woore’s top order.  There was no time for any more action as Woore then batted out time on 19 for 4 wickets leaving the local rivals with plenty to chew over as their on-field rivalry came to a close for another year.

 

For full scorecards visit: http://nortoninhales.play-cricket.com/

 

Saturday 13th August 

First XI vs. Leycett (a)

Norton returned to winning ways with a comprehensive defeat of a Leycett side currently struggling to avoid the drop to Division 3. This was a fantastic response from Norton 1 Xl after a few weeks of near misses. Earlier in the season the two clubs had fought out two extremely tight matches in KO and league fixtures and, given their recent dip in form, Norton were expecting more of the same this weekend. However, Leycett’s form has also tailed off dramatically as the season has progressed and they needed a win to provide some relief from what looks increasingly like a tough battle against relegation in the closing weeks of the season.

As has become the norm in recent weeks, Norton’s opponents won the toss and elected to bat first in the hope of putting pressure on Norton’s batsmen faced with a run chase. This time, though, the decision backfired drastically as Norton’s new ball attack found plenty of life in the Leycett wicket. Again it was in-form Chris Dyer who made the early inroads with a wicket in his first over and then taking the crucial wicket of ex-Derbyshire star Dan Redfern. Coming in at number three Redfern quickly asserted himself with four boundaries but Dyer responded in emphatic style to pin him lbw and create panic in the Leycett batting line up. Zafar Iqbal then joined the party and following two tidy slip catches by Line and Holm the Leycett innings was in complete disarray at 52 – 6. Worse was to follow, though, as skipper Mike Dyer capitalised on indecision in the Leycett ranks to execute two great run outs and pacy Jack Furnival finished off the innings with some relish in taking the last two wickets for only one run. Again it was a superb effort from Norton in the field and Leycett had capitulated to 71 all out (Zafar 3 for 33; Dyer 3 for 33; Furnival 2 for 1).

Surely even accounting for Norton’s batting nerves of recent weeks this was a sure-fire 20 point victory! In fact, that is exactly how it turned despite the bizarre dismissal of James Ruscoe to the first ball of the innings increasing the blood pressure. Ruscoe was caught at slip not playing a shot but as the bowler delivered the ball before he was ready to receive it the umpire signalled a dead ball and not out. But after a strong protest from the Leycett players the umpire overturned his decisions to give the wicket.

Panic was averted though, as the promotion of Jack Furnival to opening slot paid dividends as he patiently batted through for 29 not out to see Norton home. Zac Holm (18) kept him company for most of the way before his departure brought in Ryan Ellwell (17 not out) to confidently finish the match with four fours in five balls. So, victory for Norton keeps them in the promotion hunt and hopefully this will instil the confidence required to win games either batting first or second but with five games to go a few bigger challenges await before the season’s close.

 

Second XI vs. Meakins (h)

Norton seconds also recorded a resounding victory agianst opponents Meakins. Batting first Norton got off to a great start as openers Rob Warrington (50) and Gary Rudd (38) quickly put on 90 for the first wicket. A mini collapse followed but Tom Furnival (22) picked up the momentum again before brothers Jack and Ed Warrington put the bowling to the sword with a rapid century partnership. The pair struck 19 fours and two sixes between them and with Ed finally dismissed for 63 and Jack not out on 53, Norton were able to declare on 255 for 8 after only 45 overs.

The early declaration gave Norton plenty of time to bowl out their opponents but they were to need it as Meakins batted stubbornly to salvage a draw. Opener Shahid Mahmood proved to be the main stumbling block as he carried his bat through the innings to make 100 not out. Norton chipped away at the other end, however, and although it took fully 60 overs,  Jack Warrington eventually bowled the last man for a last-gasp victory. Remarkably only one other batsman made double figures but the rest of the Meakins team stuck limpet-like to the crease until a terrific mid-innings spell from Matt Day who took 4 for 25 from 8 overs. Paul Evans then took over to take two further wickets and set the scene for Jack Warrington’s late strike and 25 points to Norton.

For full scorecards visit: http://nortoninhales.play-cricket.com/

 

Saturday 6th August 

First XI vs. Caverswall (h)

Norton were left kicking themselves after letting another potential win slip out of their grasp in their top-of-the-table clash with Caverswall. A glorious summer afternoon provided the perfect backdrop for what should have been one of the matches of the season on a slow, low batting pitch. After a disciplined bowling and fielding performance, though, the match ended in disappointment for Norton as their batting yet again failed to fire as they chased a low target.

Perhaps sensing a weakness, Caverswall elected to bat first on winning the toss and immediately went on the attack with a smattering of boundaries. Zafar Iqbal and Chris Dyer struck back, however, with both openers departing to smart slip catches by Zac Holm. Batsmen Rob King (23) and Naz Ali (35) then stuck to their task gamely in putting Caverswall back on top; Ali in particular concentrating hard despite playing and missing in frustrating fashion. At 75 for 2 Caverswall seemed to be taking the game away from Norton but, after conceding 13 from his first over, young Jack Furnival then produced a spell of 3 for 9 in six overs to turn the game back in Norton’s favour. With Zafar reintroduced to the attack Norton now began to chip away at the Caverswall batting order and the innings went into a slow decline to end at 136 all out. Zafar finished with 4 for 42 and Furnival 3 for 22.

Caverswall’s total looked about 30 or 40 runs short of par on what was a good batting surface, except for one thing. One notable feature of the Caverswall innings was that the lower order batsmen were able to use the pace of Norton’s bowlers to deflect and edge runs behind the wicket. The Caverswall attack, two slow medium-paced openers and two spinners, offered a different challenge and one more suited to the pace of the pitch. Initially, though, Norton seemed up for the challenge. Despite losing Simon Belfield early on James Ruscoe, mixing careful defence with powerful hits, put Norton firmly in control. At 62 for 2 Norton seemed to have put their batting collapses of recent weeks behind them. Even when Ruscoe (44) departed, Zac Holm and Ryan Ellwell seemed to have the measure of the Caverswall attack, waiting for the bad ball and putting it away without too many problems. At 95 for 4 the game seemed to be almost over but a rush of blood from Holm (18), skying a drive off left arm spinner Ali, then opened the door to Norton’s middle order batsmen. With around 40 overs left and 42 runs required to win it just needed someone to get in and grind out 20-odd runs. Instead there seemed to be a concentrated effort to knock the ball into the next county with the result that within 5 or 6 overs Norton found themselves 9 wickets down with 27 runs still required for victory. Skipper Mike Dyer and Martin Rowley then applied themselves to the task in hand and reduced the deficit to 12 runs. With the opposition just beginning to get alarmed, Dyer advancing down the track, was struck on the pad by a full toss that appeared to be drifting down the leg side and a desperate appeal was met in the affirmative by the umpire. A frustrating end to a frustrating batting display. There is no doubt that there is ability in the batting line up but sometimes the game situation requires someone to rein themselves in to ensure a victory. Here that just didn’t happen.

Second XI vs. Moddershall (a)

Norton seconds also lost to the top team in their division but this was a much better performance than in recent weeks – with a full 11 turned out and the team almost pulling off a shock victory. Missing most of their front line bowlers Norton did extremely well to restrict Moddershall to 156 from their 50 overs and only a gritty unbeaten 98 from Moddershall opener Jackson prevented Norton shooting their opponents out for a low score. Kasim Abbas took 2 for 32 from 15 tidy overs but pick of the bowlers was young Matt Day who produced an excellent spell of 1 for 8 from his seven overs including the wicket of Moddershall’s star batsman. Norton were determined to chase down the total and, after a solid start from skipper Gary Rudd (19) and James Tavernor (10), Abbas (43) and Day (20) followed up their performances with the ball with a stirring partnership. At 120 for 4 Norton looked to be in the driving seat, but as with the first XI, no one seemed able to back up the early batsmen. Although Oliver Adams (17) battled bravely in his first knock of the season Norton were unable to close down the target and they finished all out 12 runs short. Despite losing though, this was a really spirited performance against a team who look destined for promotion.

 

Saturday 30th July

First XI vs. Weston CC (a)

Another defeat for Norton on Saturday sent them tumbling from top spot in Division 2 as their run of poor form continued. This latest defeat followed the pattern seen throughout this season, with the side batting second being unable to chase a relatively low total. As this malaise has regularly affected both Norton and their opponents perhaps this points to a weakness in batting strength in the Division overall, or at least an imbalance in terms of (some of) the bowling being stronger than the batting. Whatever the cause, Norton must have thought 20 points were theirs for the taking on Saturday as they kept Weston down to 112 all out. Chris Dyer again got the ball into the right places early on, bowling all of the first three Weston batsmen, and at 23 for 4 Norton were well on top. With Zafar Iqbal wheeling away at one end in miserly fashion a brief counterattack saw Dyer take some punishment but he had the last laugh in taking two further wickets. The tail wagged, however, and as in previous low scoring games this proved to be the difference between the two sides. Weston’s ninth wicket pair managed to add 36 runs – taking Weston from 76 to 112 – and in the context of this game, and this season, the partnership was priceless. Chris Dyer finished with 5 for 60 and Zafar took 4 for 17 from 20 overs in an immaculate display of seam bowling.

In reply, the early signs for Norton were not good as Simon Belfield was bowled second ball and Zac Holm, so often the mainstay of the top order this season, followed shortly after. Ryan Ellwell lasted only two balls before a mini stand between Jack Furnival (18) and Ali Moon gave some hope. However, no one was resilient enough to hang around until Luke Claydon (20) dropped anchor, first with skipper Mike Dyer and then with Zafar. With the score at 81 for 7 there was still an outside chance of victory but there was to be no tail-wagging by Norton. The departure of Zafar, soon followed by Claydon, brought the game quickly to a close as Norton had no answer to Weston’s Zeeshan Maqsood who finished with figures of 7 for 32.

 

Second XI vs. Crewe (h)

This was a pretty demoralising fixture for Norton as they were only able to turn out 8 players (including a ten year old) against a team they would normally hope to beat with a full strength side. All credit to the players who turned up as they gave it a good shot. Batting first Norton managed to muster 100 for 7 before the innings closed with Jack Warrington scoring an impressive 34. Paul Evans (12) and Matt Day (10) also chipped in to at least give proceedings an air of respectability. In the field opening bowler Jack Warrington (1 for 27) put in a great effort to contain the Crewe batsmen with so few fielders around and if a couple of catches had been held things could have been interesting. But ultimately Norton had no chance with only 8 players. With the holiday season now in full swing things don’t look much better for the coming weeks but unless things improve for the rest of the season it is not going to be very enjoyable for the players who do turn out.

For full scorecards visit: http://nortoninhales.play-cricket.com/

 

Saturday July 23rd

First XI vs. Alsager (h)

In yet another close fought game Norton lost out to Alsager on Saturday. Despite losing, however, they rejoined Caverswall at the top of the table as they collected more points than their title rivals who also lost. Batting first, Alsager struggled against in-form Chris Dyer (2 for 18) and Zafar Iqbal (5 for 32), losing three early wickets. In response, a determined fourth-wicket stand between Pickford (36) and Insulkar (43) put Alsager back on top as the two batsmen patiently put the innings back together. Jack Furnival (3 for 26) then made a double breakthrough and Zafar made further inroads but a late flurry by the Alsager tail (Bason, 30) gave the total a more than respectable look as they were finally toppled for 162 from 49.3 overs.

Norton’s reply started rapidly with Zac Holm (15) and James Ruscoe (17) peppering the boundary ropes but the opening pair took up only 17 balls before making the return to the pavilion. Jack Furnival (22) and Ryan Elwell (17) went about their task in more circumspect fashion but, having got themselves in, failed to capitalize. Nevertheless a sound base seemed to have been provided and when Kashif Ali Moon (28, including one four and three sixes) and Muhammed Mobeen (20, three fours and a six) suddenly exploded into action the match was there for the taking, with around 20 runs needed and only four wickets down. Unfortunately, it was Alsager who took the spoils as a change of bowling turned the game completely on its head. The introduction of Ben Dixon into the attack saw him dismiss Ali Moon and Mobeen in quick succession and then follow up with three further wickets as Norton’s late order batsmen struggled to get their pads on quickly enough. In a remarkable finish, Dixon recorded figures of 6.2 overs five wickets for seven runs and Norton were left wondering what had happened as they were bowled out for 151, twelve runs short of victory. Norton’s innings had lasted just 28.2 overs.

Second XI vs. Porthill (a)

Norton seconds were also left wondering what might have been as they were foiled by an exceptional individual performance by Porthill’s Alex Lockett. Norton were without Ed Warrington, on first team duty, but concerns about his absence from the bowling attack seemed to have been misplaced when Porthill were reduced to 24 for 5. Brother Jack Warrington did the main damage with four early wickets and Norton seemed firmly in control. However, Lockett took it on himself to blast Porthill out of trouble with an impressive innings. When Lockett was last man out for 97 the Porthill total had been lifted to 148 with only two other batsmen making double figures. Jack Warrington finished with figures of 5 for 49.

Scoring the required 149 was not an impossible challenge but there was inevitably a feeling that the game had been snatched from Norton’s grasp. If there was any doubt this was the case, Lockett made it certain as he charged in to take three of the first four Norton wickets to fall, eventually finishing with four wickets for six runs. With Norton’s first five batsmen mustering only 12 runs between them the innings was in ruins but old heads Rob Warrington (18) and Paul Evans (25) worked hard to give the score some respectability as Norton were eventually bowled out for 87.

 

Sunday 17th July Second XI vs. Porthill Park (a)

Cricket Cave Plate Quarter Final

Norton Seconds travelled to Porthill Park hoping to beat the formbook and reach the semi-finals of the league knockout competition. It wasn’t to be, however, as their decision to bat first on winning the toss backfired. After losing Jack and Ed Warrington, both without scoring, Norton never really recovered. Although Rob Warrington (17) and Paul Parton (16) started a minor recovery, their departure signalled a collapse as Norton’s middle order was swept away by a persistent Porthill bowling attack. Only young Fred Furnival was able to put up any resistance with an unbeaten 21 but no-one else was able to reach double figures in a disappointing showing. Extras (31) turned out to be top scorer in Norton’s all out total of 106. To stand any chance at all Norton had to strike quickly with the ball and both Ed and Jack Warrington took an early wicket to raise Norton’s hopes. However a positive third wicket stand between Mason (34) and Butler (35 not out) sealed Norton’s fate and despite a late flurry of wickets Porthill romped home in just 19 overs. Jack Warrington ended with 3 for 44 and Ed Warrington 2 for 30.

Saturday 16th July First XI vs. Crewe

Norton were left cursing their luck with the weather on Saturday. While their title rivals in Stoke on Trent managed a full days play, the fixture list found Norton in Cheshire desperately trying to beat the elements. Unfortunately, four points from a rain-affected draw at Crewe was not enough to keep them on top spot as Caverswall won at home and took a marginal lead at the head of the table. At Crewe the weather meant that Norton’s innings was reduced to 35 overs, leaving Crewe only 25 overs to bat. Batting first, Norton had a shaky start in losing three early wickets. As in the previous week, however, Ryan Ellwell (37) played a solid innings to put Norton back into the game while at the other end James Ruscoe cracked a typically belligerent 42, including 5 fours and 2 sixes. Chris Dyer added a quick 17 meaning that Crewe’s target would be 139 runs to win. The run chase didn’t really materialize, however, and although Zafar Iqbal struck early with two wickets Crewe were content to cruise to 76 without further loss at the close.

Second XI vs. Stafford (h)

The Second XI enjoyed a comfortable victory at home against what looked like a fairly under-strength Stafford team. Norton decided to bowl first and immediately took control as first Paul Evans and then Jack Warrington (4 for 29) broke through the top order. Only two Stafford batsmen reached double figures but any sign of a revival was snuffed out when Matt Riley was introduced to the attack. Obviously invigorated by his recent holiday, Riley quickly dispatched the tail with a spell of four wickets for 8 runs in only five overs, leaving a stunned Stafford team all out for only 71. Things got worse for Stafford, though, as Norton openers Seb Ruscoe (23) and Paul Parton (37 not out) set about their task with relish. Only 8.2 overs were required to complete the job. Ruscoe perished in his enthusiasm for a quick victory but young Fred Furnival then saw things through with Parton to lead Norton to a comfortable nine-wicket win.

Saturday July 9th

First XI vs. Stafford (h)

A mid-morning mopping-up operation paid dividends on Saturday as Norton Firsts inflicted a crushing defeat on visitors Stafford to retain an 18-point lead at the top of the table. Following torrential rain Simon Line, standing in as captain for injured Mike Dyer, led from the front as the standing water was cleared away to ensure only one hour of game-time was lost. Unfortunately some water had run under the covers to leave damp patches at each end of the wicket. Stafford won the toss and had no hesitation in asking Norton to bat first but a combination of positive batting and some moderate bowling allowed Norton to progress without too many alarms. Zac Holm (36) immediately went on the attack and cracked five fours and two sixes before falling to a super catch low at mid on. At 46-2 Ryan Ellwell then joined Jack Furnival in what proved to be the most important partnership of the game. Initially, Furnival looked out of touch on the tricky surface but both batsmen took responsibility for the situation and batted patiently to slowly take the game out of Stafford’s reach. As the pair got on top they both began to strike the ball sweetly and a high total started to look likely. However, immediately after stroking a six effortlessly over mid-on Furnival (39) was harshly adjudged runout after attempting a quick single and the 80-run partnership was over. Ellwell (38) followed shortly afterwards to a ball that scooted through low and this then set off an incredible 20-minute session where the last seven wickets fell for only five runs. Norton were all out for 131.

Although Norton’s total was not large, the way the ball had begun to grip in the surface during the latter stages of their innings made it look like a winning score. Norton opened with Zafar Iqbal bowling to the drier end and Chris Dyer wondering whether he could use the damp end to his advantage. It didn’t take too long to find out. Dyer, bowling with pace and skill, hit the right spot immediately to extract enough bounce and movement to create a state of panic amongst the Stafford batting line up. When the Stafford batsmen pushed firmly forward to counter the bounce and movement they found themselves caught in the infield, when they stayed back Dyer trapped them lbw or hit the stumps. Stafford just had no answer to what was a devastating spell of seam bowling. With Zafar looking on in disbelief from the other end Dyer went on to decimate the Stafford innings, taking 9 wickets for 24 runs from 7.2 overs. Stafford’s innings lasted only 15.2 overs as they were bowled out for 41!  So, a remarkable victory and after a frustrating few weeks Norton will be hoping this performance signals a return to winning ways as they embark on the second half of the season.

This week’s match was kindly sponsored by Paul Parton

 

Norton Seconds vs. Betley (a)

Norton’s Second team fixture against Betley was extremely similar to the First XI game – except the result went the other way. A lengthy spell of drying out the field was followed by a late start but in hindsight the pitch probably should have been given more time to dry. Norton found themselves taking first knock with water spraying up from the wicket as the ball pitched in the wet patches. Batting couldn’t have been more difficult and only Jack Warrington, who managed to make 15 before succumbing, really came to terms with conditions. No other Norton batsman made more than five runs as Betley’s James Austin exploited the wicket perfectly to take 8 for 16 and Norton were bowled out for only 38. Norton made a great start to Betley’s innings as the two openers departed without a run on the board and Norton’s bowlers toiled pluckily. Eventually, though, Betley ground out the required runs without further loss from 17 overs. A disappointing day for the Second’s then, but really this was a game won and lost on the toss of a coin.

 

 

Saturday July 3rd

First XI vs. Rode Park and Lawton (h)

Another frustrating day for cricketers ensued as the forecast heavy showers swept across North Shropshire making for a stop-start afternoon in which both teams struggled in vain to achieve a result. Norton batted first and Zac Holm and Simon Belfield made a reasonable start on a wicket offering quite a bit of turn to Rode Park’s left-arm spinner Jalat Khan. Once the opening stand was broken, however, Norton’s batsmen found it difficult to settle against Khan until Ryan Ellwell (13) came in to join Holm. At 68-3 the innings looked secure enough but the dismissal of Holm for a gritty 38 and the first of a series of heavy showers led to Norton’s innings slowly getting bogged down as it became increasingly difficult to score runs and wickets began to fall. With the weather forcing an early tea break and the daylight being more reminiscent of midwinter than midsummer the game ground to a halt. Intermittent spells of bright warm sunshine were then followed by the inevitable showers while Norton’s tail put up a stubborn rearguard action; Luke Claydon (13) and Mike Dyer (15) grinding the total to an eventual 127 all out while reducing the time available for Rode Park’s reply. For the visitors, Khan bowled throughout the innings to finish with impressive figures of 7-57 from 26.3 overs.

With a notional 24 overs to score the runs Rode Park set about their task in positive style with several early boundaries. Norton, handicapped by the loss of opening bowler Mike Dyer who pulled a hamstring during his defiant batting display, quickly reverted to a T20 field as the main question now concerned whether Rode Park could score the runs before the next heavy shower. The answer was soon in coming. In the thirteenth over with Rode Park seemingly on top at 63-1 the skies darkened and the heavens opened for one final time as the heaviest rain shower of the day made a mockery of everyone’s attempts to play to a finish and the match was finally abandoned.

What kind of perverse streak is there to the English character that makes us create and play a game like cricket in a climate such as ours? Perhaps all the experts currently pondering the reasons for the recent EU referendum result might like to think about that for a minute!

Second XI vs. Oulton (a)

Norton Seconds away fixture at Oulton was cancelled on Saturday morning as the home side reported that flooding had flushed silage from adjoining fields onto the ground making the pitch unplayable.

For full scorecards visit: http://nortoninhales.play-cricket.com/

 

Sunday June 26th

NSSC Cave Plate Rd 2

Norton Seconds moved into the Quarter Finals of the league KO competition with an unlikely victory over Checkley 3rds on Sunday. Norton struggled to put out a team for the match but bravely took on the challenge. When Checkley reached 168-1 after 32 of their alloted 45 overs the result seemed to be all but decided. However, the weather turned everything around as persistent drizzle brought the game to an end. As this was the final date for the match to be decided the result now rested on a bowl off (cricket’s equivalent of the penalty shoot out). Norton’s chosen bowlers proved to be the more accurate with youngsters Ed Warrington, Jack Warrington, and Tom Furnival all hitting the target to achieve a 3-2 victory –  a  reward for all those hours of practice! Norton now play Porthill Park (away) in the Quarter Finals on July 17th.

 

Saturday June 25th

First XI vs. Meir Heath (a)

Norton in Hales visited Meir Heath for Saturday’s league fixture and found their hosts  to be tough opponents in a hard fought draw. Norton won the toss and decided to bat and although James Ruscoe and Chris Dyer didn’t hang around too long Zac Holm (18) stayed patient as Ryan Elwell (20) joined him to put together a good partnership. Norton’s middle order then fought hard to get a foothold in the game as everyone got into the mid-twenties before being dismissed trying to increase the run rate. The complexion of the innings then changed as Zafar Iqbal arrived at the crease to smash 75 including seven fours and four sixes ably supported by Luke Claydon who chipped in with a sensible 18 not out. This took Norton to 215 -9 declared after 52 overs; a reasonable total.

Another excellent start by opening bowlers Zafar and Michael Dyer then put Norton in charge as Meir Heath’s reply stuttered to 41-4. At that point though, Norton’s progress was halted by a solid 5th wicket stand of just over 100 runs. And despite going through the bowling changes skipper Mike Dyer was unable to work the breakthrough as the Meir Heath batsmen applied themselves diligently to the task of saving the game. Ultimately, the return of Zafar and a wicket for Chris Dyer, the reward for a very tidy spell of bowling, brought the partnership to an end but by then it was too late to force victory and Meir Heath got their reward. So, Zafar completed another first class performance with 5 wickets but overall it was not to be Norton’s day as, despite battling hard, their lead at the top of the table was reduced to 9 points with closest rivals Caverswall managing a victory.

 

Second XI vs. Stone Swynnerton (h)

Norton seconds consolidated their position in fourth place in the Division 7 table with an impressive victory against Stone Swynnerton. Put in to bat Norton immediately took control as some wayward bowling by Stone allowed Norton’s openers to maintain a good run rate. Skipper Gary Rudd set the scene with a quick 30 and then both Calum Claydon (22) and Rob Warrington (31) maintained the tempo. However, the return of Jack Warrington from university proved to be the real bonus as he cracked 83, including eight fours and four sixes, before being run out. Elder statesman Paul Evans then continued the assault on the Stone Swynnerton bowlers with a run-a-ball 35, before Norton declared with the score on 257-7.

Although this looked to be quite a challenging target the Stone Swynnerton batsmen made a good attempt to knock the required runs and at 99-1 appeared to be in with a chance of victory. But a seven over burst from Paul Evans (3-21) changed things dramatically as he cleaned up three quick wickets to rip through the visitors’ middle order, before taking his sweater to nurse his dodgy knee. Brothers Jack and Ed Warrington then took on the major part of the bowling load to whittle through the Stone Swynnerton batting order, leaving them 212 all out.

Almost at the halfway point of the season, then, Norton Seconds find themselves 33 points away the promotion spots but if one or two very close defeats had gone the other way would now be challenging at the top of the division. Much will now depend on availability for the rest of the season but a few more victories could mean an exciting end to the season.

 

This week’s match was kindly sponsored by Dick and Sue Walton

 

Saturday June 18th

First XI vs. Barlaston (a)

Following a week of torrential rain storms, bright sunshine prevailed as Norton visited Barlaston with another tight encounter in prospect against the in-form hosts. For the second time in three weeks, however, Norton’s batting failures undermined an excellent bowling and fielding performance as they floundered to an 18-run defeat. Bowling first, Norton immediately took the initiative as Mike Dyer and Zafar Iqbal worked their way through the Barlaston top order. At 65-7 the home side looked to be beaten but, as at Eccleshall two weeks earlier, a small wag of the tail was to have major consequences with a seventh wicket stand of 34 runs helping Barlaston to 102 all out. Zafar (6-49) continued his sparkling form with the ball with major support from Mike Dyer (4-47) who took four of the first five wickets to fall.

Everything appeared to be going to plan as Norton’s reply moved to 33 without loss. However, the dismissal of Zac Holm (17) caught and bowled opened the door for opposition medium pacer Jack Davies to take a hat trick, leaving Norton on 41-4. Things went from bad to worse with the departure of James Ruscoe (34), who appeared to be the only batsman able to break the stranglehold imposed by the Barlaston bowlers. With no other batsman able to reach double figures Norton’s innings folded to 81 all out. As skipper Mike Dyer said afterwards, “We didn’t graft….we had no plans and batted poorly.”

 

Second XI vs. Hanford (h)

It was a different story for Norton seconds who, for the first time in weeks, had a full squad to select from. Unfortunately visitors Hanford turned up with only seven players, making the fixture something of a farce. Skipper Gary Rudd then took the rather unusual decision to allow Hanford to bat first and take 20 points rather than the inevitable 25 points from batting first. Hanford bravely survived for 24.5 overs before the innings closed on 50. Norton accordingly knocked the required runs in 8.3 overs and everyone was home for tea time.Waste of a sunny day really!

For full scorecards visit: http://nortoninhales.play-cricket.com/

 

 

Saturday June 11th

First XI vs. Woore (h)

In a weekend of torrential downpours it seemed inevitable that the weather would be the only winner and that turned out to be the case in this local derby. Batting first Norton battled back from an unpromising position to reach 178–8 when the first storm brought about an early tea. Declaration followed and Woore had reached 42-2 in their reply with Norton marginally on top before a further monsoon-like deluge brought proceedings to a close. After the previous week’s batting collapse at Eccleshall it was good to see Norton’s batsmen working hard to set a challenging target on a slow, green wicket in humid conditions. Opener Simon Belfield started well with a polished 41 but the two-paced track caught a few batsmen out before Norton regained the initiative. Two batsmen with contrasting styles led the fight back; Simon Ellwell, at times showing immaculate timing in a classy 38, and James Ruscoe (29 not out) mixing watchfulness with some typical whirlwind hitting, putting Norton in a strong position to declare. In Woore’s reply, Mike Dyer took the two early wickets to fall but Woore’s opener Craig Ruscoe held firm at one end to ensure the rain had the final say. Norton took 8 points from the match.

 

This week’s match was kindly sponsored by Mr Simon Furnival

 

Second XI vs. Oakamoor (a)

After yet another struggle to turn out 11 players, Norton seconds managed to send a full team on the long journey to Oakamoor. Norton competed well but eventually came off second best in another game interrupted by heavy showers. Oakamoor batted first and at 42-4 seemed to be getting the worst of things but they built their innings slowly and surely. The pick of Norton’s bowlers were Paul Evans (3-45) and Ed Warrington (2-30) as Norton worked hard to restrict the scoring rate, but a late flourish took Oakamoor’s score to 152-7 at the end of their 50 overs; a score that didn’t look likely for most of the innings. Norton’s reply got off to a bad start as skipper Gary Rudd was bowled first ball and the innings never really got going as Norton’s batsmen continued to struggle on the rain-affected wicket. At 44-5 Norton were in trouble but Paul Evans (32) then dropped anchor at one end while young Tom Furnival (32) had some fun clouting the bowlers around in a spirited response. The departure of this pair, however, signalled the end and Norton were eventually bowled out for 118.

For full scorecards visit: http://nortoninhales.play-cricket.com/

 

Sunday June 12th

Norton Second XI’s scheduled 2nd round fixture in the Cave Plate KO was cancelled after an early pitch inspection and will now be played on a date to be arranged.

 

Saturday 4th June

First XI vs. Eccleshall (a)

Norton’s winning record in the league finally came to an end with a surprise defeat at Eccleshall. Prior to Saturday’s game Eccleshall had won only one game this season and at tea, having been bowled out for 118, must have thought that their poor run was about to continue. Their Australian pace bowler Brad Gardner had other ideas, however, and produced a devastating opening burst to reduce Norton to 12 for 4 wickets. Although a 40-run stand between Simon Ellwell and Jack Furnival looked to be getting Norton back into the game, another clatter of wickets took the score to 53-9 and at this point Norton looked dead and buried.  Brothers Chris and Mike Dyer (28) then produced the best stand of the innings to give Norton a glimmer of a chance but with the total on 97 Mike was adjudged lbw, leaving Chris unbeaten for the second week running on 20 not out and Eccleshall the victors.

Earlier in the day on a wicket with some variable bounce Norton had reduced Eccleshall to 66-6 after Zafar Iqbal (5-28) produced his own opening statement with with the new ball. Despite having their backs against the wall, Eccleshall’s middle order fought back and although Chris Dyer (1-17), Jack Furnival (1-22) and Kashif (2-20) all produced useful spells bowling Eccleshall clawed their way to a respectable total which, on the day, proved to be a winning one.

 

Second XI vs Woore (h)

At home, Norton seconds salvaged a respectable draw from their derby encounter with Woore. Batting first Woore made the most a perfect batting track to amass 263-7.  Without regular wicket–takers Paul Evans and Kasim Abbas, Norton struggled to make inroads into the Woore batting line up but veteran Matt Riley (4-47) led the way and youngsters Fred Furnival (2-58) and Ed Warrington helped to stem the flow of runs. But eventually Woore’s tail wagged to set Norton a daunting target. With Norton’s batting being out of form for much of the season defeat looked a likely outcome but captain Gary Rudd (29) and vice-captain Ben Furnival (31) set the desired example and Norton battled all the way. With six wickets down there was still some work to do but Ed Warrington (43 not out) calmly took command and, ably supported by experienced Adrian Noden (14 not out), guided Norton to safety and 8 useful points as Norton reached 181-6 at the close.

Match kindly sponsored by Mr Steve Ellesmoor

For full scorecards visit: http://nortoninhales.play-cricket.com/

 

Saturday May 28th

First XI vs. Leycett (h)

Norton Firsts resumed their league campaign against a Leycett team looking for revenge after being edged out of the League Knockout competition by Norton earlier in the season. The result of that game was decided controversially on run-rate and yesterday’s game was just as closely fought as two evenly-matched sides produced a real thriller. Norton took first knock on a placid batting track but Leycett immediately took the initiative with two early wickets. Despite the benign nature of the batting surface Leycett were then able to turn the screw with former Derbyshire and Leicestershire star Dan Redfern bowling a tight spell at one end. Opener Zac Holm again batted fluently (33) but Norton’s middle order flattered to deceive as everyone made it into the teens but no one managed to take control. As a low score began to look likely Chris Dyer, suddenly making batting look easy, rescued the innings with a fluent 38 not out. Unfortunately, none of his partners was able to stay with him and with the last wicket falling at 161 the Norton total looked to be about 20-30 runs below par.

Norton were intent on making Leycett fight every inch of the way but Leycett set about the task of reaching their target in equally determined mood. The run rate was moderate but Leycett had plenty of time and the wicket was flat enough to draw the sting from Norton’s strike bowler Zafar Iqbal. Despite the odd scare, Leycett’s second-wicket pair of Redfern and Speakman batted watchfully and when a flurry of boundaries took the score to 90-1 Leycett looked to be firmly in command. Within minutes, however, a double bowling change turned the game on its head as Chris Dyer broke through the Leycett middle order with three quick wickets and Holm removed danger man Redfern. Amidst this clatter of wickets some of the tension about umpiring decisions that had been simmering all afternoon came to a head and things became a bit heated. At 99-5 the match was now in the balance and both teams were in the mood to fight every last inch of the way. The return of Zafar to the attack brought another wicket and at 112-6 Norton were now on top. But to Leycett’s credit, they just wouldn’t give up. With plenty of time remaining Leycett’s Richard Walker with a battling innings (28) took them to 145 before he fell to a sharp slip catch by Holm off Zafar. Every run was now precious and Leycett slowly edged their way to a match winning position at 161-8 – two runs needed with two wickets left. Even now Norton believed they still had a chance if they could just take one more wicket. And that was exactly what happened as skipper Mike Dyer kept his head to bowl both of Leycett’s last two batsmen and bring about a remarkable climax to an exciting final hour.

There was plenty to talk about after the match with a number of controversial moments to stew over but both sides should take plenty of credit for producing a memorable game of cricket. Despite being on the back foot for large parts of this game Norton held on to their impressive record of taking maximum points from every League game so far this season with a battling performance.

The match was kindly sponsored by Mr Tony Swire

 

Norton Seconds vs. Meakins (a)

After two narrow defeats (by 2 runs and one wicket) in their last two matches Norton seconds were hoping for compensation in their away fixture at Meakins and so it turned out as they produced a fine victory. As in previous weeks it was the bowlers who led the way as Meakins were shot out for 52. This hadn’t looked likely early on as the Meakins openers moved easily to 22 without loss but two excellent catches by Kas Abbas and wicketkeeper Seb Ruscoe opened the flood gates. Meakins never recovered as first Paul Evans (5-12) and then Matt Riley (2-13) and Abbas himself (3-5) reaped the reward to complete a demolition job. Even with an opening bowler named Mitchell Johnson (not the Australian version) in the home attack Norton had no problem knocking off the required runs with Seb Ruscoe (28 not out), Fred Furnival and Cal Claydon taking only 10 overs to see Norton home. So, this was a nice confidence booster for Norton which took them up to fourth place in the table.

 

For full scorecards visit: http://nortoninhales.play-cricket.com/

 

Sunday May 22nd

Talbot Cup 2nd Rd vs. Woore (h)

At last, a sunny afternoon, but the result of this much anticipated knockout clash with local rivals Woore did not match the weather as Woore ran out easy winners in a one-sided affair. Norton batted first on a wicket that had soaked up plenty of rain from the previous day. After an uneventful opening over the spectators were treated to a private competition between Norton opener James Ruscoe and brother Craig bowling for Woore; James hit Craig for a huge six first ball, Craig comprehensively bowled James second ball. The real match then resumed with Norton enjoying a brisk partnership between Ryan Ellwell (31) and Zac Holm (10) before Holm, aiming to hit over the top, skied a catch to deep mid-off.  In recent weeks Holm has provided the glue that has held Norton’s innings’ together, but following his dismissal  Norton’s  middle order now came unstuck as several batsmen perished to rash shots before getting a start. Zafar Iqbal (20) tried to hit his way out of trouble without success and at 101-9 Norton looked completely down and out. However, a spirited last wicket partnership between Cal Claydon (29 not out, including one sweetly struck six onto the car park) and Simon Line (10) gave some respectability to a final score of 145 all out.

Two Norton old boys Andy Kenvyn (4-21) and Craig Ruscoe (3-49) shared the wickets but it was the two Woore spinners who really applied the stranglehold, bowling 17 overs between them for only 34 runs. To stand any chance Norton really needed to apply similar pressure to Woore’s batsmen but this never materialised as Woore took a positive approach from the start. Zafar took two early wickets but with each bowler only allowed a maximum of 9 overs a lot rested on the shoulders of Norton’s support bowlers who have been lacking match practice in recent weeks. Unfortunately they were never allowed to settle as Oliver (78 not out) and Adams (32 not out) took advantage to flay the ball to all parts of the ground in a rapid match winning stand. This took Woore to their target in only 22.5 overs for a comprehensive victory. A disappointing performance by Norton, then, but good luck to worthy winners Woore in the next round!

The match was kindly sponsored by A.R. Richards

For full scorecards visit: http://nortoninhales.play-cricket.com/

 

Saturday May 21st

First XI vs. Caverswall (a)

Only three balls were possible at Caverswall as torrential rain ensured that there was no play in any of the day’s scheduled Division 2 fixtures.

The current Division 2 league table can be found by clicking:

http://nssc.play-cricket.com/website/web_pages/170016

 

Second XI vs. Moddershall (h)

Heavy rain showers throughout made this a miserable day for cricket but the two teams conjured up a tense finish in the rain. Norton were put into bat on a rain- affected wicket and were soon in trouble against an accurate Moddershall attack. Other than opener Rob Warrington the top order put up little resistance as Norton’s innings crumbled to an embarrassing 30 for 7. Warrington (36) was then joined by Martin Rowley (14) in the only substantial partnership of the innings before some late hitting by Adrian Harvey (13) saw Norton through to 85 all out. As the weather deteriorated even 85 did not look a straightforward target and so it proved. Norton’s bowlers Ed Warrington (1-16, from 12 overs), Paul Evans (3-31) and Matt Riley (3-29) bowled superbly with an increasingly greasy ball to make the Moddershall batsmen fight all the way. Despite several catches going down in the wet conditions Norton battled tenaciously to stay in the game but as the light faded Moddershall began to gain the upper hand. Skipper Gary Rudd then produced a fantastic run out as he threw down the only stump he could see with a direct hit and with 9 wickets down and 5 runs required the game was now in the balance. Ed Warrington’s final over could have won it, with a caught behind appeal controversially turned down and yet another dropped slip catch, but the Moddershall last pair survived to sneak the runs in the next over. Disappointment for Norton, then, to lose by one wicket after last week’s two run defeat at Crewe but it is good to see the seconds playing competitively despite the continuing problems they face with player availability.

For full scorecards visit: http://nortoninhales.play-cricket.com/

 

Saturday May 14th

First XI vs. Weston (h)

Norton produced a fine team performance to record their fourth victory in succession and continue their impressive start to the season. In a match played on a placid batting track the result ultimately turned on two moments of brilliance in the field and a moment of batting madness. Put in to bat, Norton’s openers Holm (43) and Belfield (33) worked very hard early on against some good tight bowling from the Weston opening bowling pair to deliver another excellent opening stand of 62. This provided a solid foundation to the innings, and good work by Ryan Elwell (41) maintained the progress until he perished in an attempt to increase the tempo. At 141–4 the scene was set for another explosive Zafar Iqbal innings and spectators were not disappointed as he struck a majestic unbeaten 82 off only 41 balls. Zafar, smashed the ball to all parts and beyond and had the cows in the next field running for cover as he took Norton to a daunting 247 for 7 of 55 overs.

On a good batting track with only minimal assistance to the bowlers it was going to be hard work for the Norton attack. Zafar struck early but then Weston’s batsmen dug in and it began to look like three hours of hard toil had just begun for Norton. However, a marvellous piece of wicket keeping by Simon Belfield turned the tide. Mike Dyer slipped a full length delivery down the leg side and Belfield gathered the ball to remove the bails in one swift movement – completing the dismissal with a jubilant lap of honour around the bowlers end! Despite Norton chipping away with regular wickets, Weston’s innings was then held together by Maz Shah (53) who looked to be guiding the visitors to a draw in a stubborn 9th wicket partnership. But with only a few overs left, Dyer returned to the attack to induce an edge from Weston number 10 Barrett and Simon Line in the slips took a magnificent one-handed catch low to his right. With Shah still hanging in stubbornly and time running out the result was still in doubt but with Zafar bowling sharply Shah was pushed into a back foot defensive shot sending the ball bouncing down towards the stumps. Shah instinctively pushed the ball away with his hand, a mighty appeal followed from the Norton in Hales team and the umpire quickly raised his finger giving the batsman out! A bizarre end to a tight game with Weston all out for 147. Zafar finished with 5-45 and Mike Dyer 3-22.

The match was kindly sponsored by Roly Tavernor

 

Second XI vs. Crewe (a)

Norton second XI again suffered from lack of player availability as, despite the long list of players registered for the club, only 10 could be found to turn out at Crewe. Ultimately, this turned out to be the difference between the Seconds winning and losing as they went down narrowly by 2 runs. Oh, for an extra body in the field!

With Norton bowling first, Paul Evans (10 overs, 2-18) and Matt Riley (7 overs, 2-7) returned miserly figures. But the real damage was done by Kasim Abbas who produced a remarkable spell of 5 wickets for one run in two devastating overs, as Crewe crashed from 140 for 3 to 143 all out. In reply Norton’s innings began well with Seb Ruscoe (14), Rob Warrington (16) and Ed Warrington (29) all getting good starts but then the rot set in as the middle order collapsed. Skipper Gary Rudd made a valiant single-handed attempt to score the required runs but with Norton close enough to smell victory he was bowled for a brave 33 and Norton innings ended on 141 all out. Frustrating!

 

For full scorecards visit: http://nortoninhales.play-cricket.com/

 

Saturday May 7th

First XI vs. Alsager (a)

Norton visited a strong Alsager side expecting a stern test after gaining maximum points from their opening two fixtures and that was exactly how it turned out in a tough low-scoring battle. Norton found themselves asked to bat on a slow and low track and quickly realised that it was a case of digging deep and batting for as long as possible. Opening pair Zac Holm and Simon Belfield worked hard to produce a solid opening stand before ‘Bellers’ lost concentration and swung at a short and wide one edging it to the keeper. At 48 for 1 Norton looked to be secure with Holm toiling away and keeping out the odd ball which rolled along the floor! At the other end, though, wickets began to fall as none of the higher order batsmen were able to hang in for any length of time. Norton persisted, though, and the scoreboard slowly ticked over, with one or two middle- to lower-order batsman finding the odd boundary and Zafar Iqbal and Chris Dyer getting into double figures – valuable runs in this context. Holm was eventually out for 46 after a terrific effort which ensured the Norton innings reached 115 all out; a small but defendable total on this pitch.

Norton needed to be on the ball from the start with good accurate bowling and tight fielding and they started well with both Zafar Iqbal and Michael Dyer bowling wicket to wicket and giving nothing at all away. With the pressure building up, sharp chances were taken by Simon Belfield and Simon Line reducing the Alsager innings to 53-6. At this point Norton seemed well on the way to victory but Alsager had other ideas as a stubborn seventh wicket partnership between Bloor (24) and Greenhalgh (31) inched them towards their target. With the game slipping away and only a handful of runs required Chris Dyer then won a crucial lbw decision against Bloor which opened up the tail to Zafar. With the score on 110, Zafar Iqbal produced a couple of straight, full and fast deliveries to bowl out the last 2 batsman to give Norton another fantastic win. This was a real battling performance against an Alsager team who only just missed out on promotion to Division 1 last season and gave Norton their third maximum haul of 25 points in a row. A great start to the season!

 

Second XI vs. Porthill Park (h)

Norton seconds lost their unbeaten record but there could be no complaints about the outcome as Porthill turned in a strong all-round performance to win convincingly. Batting first on a good track Norton were soon in trouble as the visitors’ Alex Lockett cut through the top order with four quick wickets. At 69-5 Norton’s innings looked doomed but three youngsters, Seb Ruscoe (48), Calum Claydon (42) and Ed Warrington (53) led a stirring comeback. At 209-7 Norton looked to be set for a match-winning score but Lockett (7 for 42) then returned to finish off tail and the innings ended at 219. This was much better than seemed likely at one stage but not quite enough runs to make the game safe on a quick outfield, so an interesting second innings was in prospect. Unfortunately, with usual opening bowler Paul Evans absent, Norton’s early overs lacked  control and Porthill’s batsmen took advantage.  With Porthill scoring at more than five runs an over from the outset Norton were unable to apply any pressure and were always behind the game. Young spinner Freddie Furnival bowled a good spell in the middle of the innings but with wickets hard to come by the main threat to Porthill turned out to be the thunderstorm that was gathering around the ground. In the event, Porthill scrambled the winning runs as the first large spots of rain began to fall and before heavy rain engulfed the ground. Norton were left to reflect that a few tidy overs at the start of the Porthill innings might have given them a draw. Overall, though, the visitors ran out deserving winners on the day.

 

Match kindly sponsored by Mr Ian Grandfield of Green Gem Agricultural

 

For full scorecards visit: http://nortoninhales.play-cricket.com/

 

 

Saturday April 30th

First XI vs. Crewe CC (h)

Another very cold day with play interrupted several times by heavy rain and sleet showers meant there was always a concern about whether a result could be achievable in the time allowed. In these circumstances captain Mike Dyer’s decision to bat first was a brave move but it paid dividends as Norton romped to victory and gained the extra five points for batting first. Crewe opened up with spin from both ends and opener Simon Belfield was soon trapped lbw without scoring. This turned out to be the high point for Crewe though. James Ruscoe immediately responded with a rapid 41 including several sixes while his partner Zac Holm bedded himself in to ensure one end was secure. Ryan Elwell and Simon Dyer each moved the scoreboard on nicely in brief partnerships with Holm before he was joined for the final 10 overs by Zafar Iqbal who blasted 57 runs from only 36 balls. Holm was eventually dismissed for 64 and while his runs took 141 balls his was an equally important innings in terms of putting the game out of Crewe’s reach as Norton declared on 206 for 6; an outstanding team performance in the conditions.

Crewe’s spin bowlers bowled throughout the innings unchanged and when Crewe batted it was the same story for Norton as Zafar Iqbal and Mike Dyer took centre-stage. Another heavy shower at the end of the tea break made conditions even more tricky for bowlers and fielders but the initial breakthrough came early for Norton courtesy of a sharp slip catch by Holm off Zafar. Crewe then put up stubborn resistance for the second wicket with Mahmood (26), particularly, striking the ball well. Zafar’s patient probing paid off, though, when he uprooted Mahmood’s leg stump with a fine off-cutter. Mike Dyer then got in on the act, bowling opener Clark, and all of a sudden the flood gates opened. Crewe’s batsmen had no answer to the pace and accuracy of Norton’s attack, and quickly subsided to 61 all out. Zafar equalled his figures of 7 for 33 from the previous week and Dyer took 3 for 28.

So, from a match of 76 overs with no bowling changes at all (quite a rarity!) Norton in Hales moved to the top of the table with 50 points gained from the first two games of the season.

Match kindly sponsored by Mr Phillip Smith

 

Second XI vs. Stafford (a)

Put in to bat on the Astroturf at Stafford, Norton seconds were given a solid start by openers Gary Rudd (26) and Rob Warrington (27). As the innings progressed runs became a bit harder to come by but Paul Evans (15), Eddie Warrington (18) and Liam Hollinshead (10) all chipped in with valuable runs on what turned out to be a surprisingly uneven batting surface. With the assistance of a generous helping of 33 extras Norton’s innings ended at 144 which looked to be a useful total and this proved to be the case.  Norton’s bowling attack is looking quite strong at the moment and with evergreen Paul Evans still hitting a good line and length Stafford’s innings soon began to come unstuck. Aided by Ed Warrington (2-30), Evans’ accuracy was a constant thorn in the side of the Stafford batsmen and he finished with figures of 3-23 from 13 overs. Matt Riley then stepped in to tighten the knot and young Matt Day cashed in with three wickets to finish off the innings with a flourish as Stafford were bowled out for 97.  There will be bigger challenges in the season ahead but two wins from two matches represents a great start for new captain Gary Rudd.

For full scorecards visit:  http://nortoninhales.play-cricket.com/

 

Sunday April 24th

TALBOT CUP Rd 1 

First XI  vs. Leycett CC (a)

Norton-in-Hales First XI capped a great weekend for the club by winning a dour battle against the elements and opponents Leycett CC and in the process landing a plum home tie against local rivals Woore in Round 2 of the senior cup competition. In a match reduced to 40 overs a side by rain, Norton batted first to reach 181 all out in the final over of their innings. Openers James Ruscoe and Zac Holm made a bright start but the main partnership of the innings came from Holm (49) and Simon Dyer with a free-flowing 53. Both worked hard to put Norton into a strong position before wickets were lost in the search for quick runs. With every run vital, Simon Ellwell (17) and Chris Dyer (13) chipped in with what turned out to be  invaluable knocks towards the end of the innings. With conditions difficult for bowling and fielding one striking feature of the innings was the pedestrian over rate which, according to competition rules, led the umpires to add 48 penalty runs to the Norton score.

With the Leycett innings due to start at 6.50pm it was by now obvious that the match was going to be decided on run rate and according to calculations Leycett would need to score around around 5.75 per over to win. Zafar Iqbal struck early to dismiss ex-Derbyshire and Leicestershire batsman Dan Redfern but it was his brother Tom who looked to be the main danger before Chris Dyer stepped in to dismiss him for 38, caught at third man by Zafar. The innings now turned into a desperate scramble to keep up with the run rate as the light faded. Bowlers Simon Ellwell and Zac Holm kept their heads to keep the lid on the scoring and veteran keeper Tim Ruscoe contributed two important stumpings and a run out as the innings reached a nailbiting climax. At 8.20pm the game was finally brought to an end as the light became too bad to play on, with Leycett on 124-9 from 23 overs – 8 runs short of a winning total.

Or so most people thought! During the Leycett innings questions had been raised about the umpires calculations in awarding penalty runs to Norton, with some observers now saying the penalty was too harsh. This meant that Leycett might be the winners after all! Although both teams would have preferred that matters were settled on the field, as confusion reigned it now became obvious that a decision would need to be made at a higher level. So, after consultation with the League Manager, the result was finally announced 24 hours later with Norton declared the winners after all. Not a satisfactory way to win the game against a good Leycett team who played the game in the right way. Neither side deserved to lose in this way but it was still a great result for Norton after all their hard work.

For the full scorecard visit:  http://nortoninhales.play-cricket.com/

 

Saturday April 23rd

First XI  vs. Stafford (a)

The First XI started their new campaign with a tricky game against recently relegated Stafford CC. Captain Mike Dyer won the toss and took the brave move to bat first. This immediately paid dividends as a magnificent opening stand of just over 100 from Simon Belfield and Zac Holm provided a great start – Bellers getting his customary 77 on the first day of the season! Life then became a bit more difficult as a few cheap wickets were given away at quick intervals and in the end the team needed a quick-fire 49 from Zafar Iqbal to reach a respectable 191 all out.

 

This was a competitive target but on a good track Stafford had every chance if they could turn in a good batting performance.  Norton’s opening bowling duo of Zafar and Mike started where they left off from our promotion campaign last year with a very tight and fruitful first 20 overs taking 4 wickets between them for not too many runs. But then a strong mid-order stand from Stafford, aided by three dropped catches, looked to have brought them back into the game. Some good tight bowling from Simon Elwell, Chris Dyer and Zac Holm kept the run-rate down but at 170-6 and with opener Mark Foster still at the crease Stafford looked to be well in command. The return of Zafar into the attack changed all that, however, as he proceeded to bowl Foster (84) and quickly mop up the tail as Stafford collapsed to 172 all out. Zafar finished with figures of 7-33, ably supported by Mike Dyer with the other three wickets. It was a great team effort with good contributions all round to gain a huge win and 25 points.

 

Second XI  vs. Betley (h)

Norton Seconds also enjoyed opening day success. After a disappointing campaign in 2015 with defeat snatched from the jaws of victory on numerous occasions, new captain Gary Rudd’s team did exactly the opposite on Saturday to pull off a confidence boosting victory. This did not look likely earlier in the day as (after a frantic search for kit) Club Chairman Roly Tavernor was drafted in at short notice to join several other members of the over-fifties club who were covering for player unavailability. It was one of the elder statesmen, Paul Evans, who was to set up the chance of a win, however, with two exemplary spells of bowling on a slow, low wicket to finish with figures of 6 for 22 as Betley 2nds were dismissed for 129. At 72-2 Betley had looked set to achieve a much higher score but young Ed Warrington broke through by taking the wicket of danger man Tom Blackwood (52) and then Evans did the rest. Norton’s reply started well with skipper Rudd (26) looking set for a good score but his dismissal led to a mini-collapse leaving Norton in disarray at 48-6. However, panic was averted via the combination of age (Martin Rowley) and youth (Matt Day) who put on a steady partnership of 80 runs to take Norton within sight of victory. With two runs needed, Rowley (38) holed out going for the winning hit but Day (41 not out) saw the team home to much celebration. Hopefully a sign of things to come!

Match kindly sponsored by Sue Rowley Architectural Design

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