Match Report Ramsbottom 1st XI v Norden 1st XI  – 27th August 2023

RCC 145 for 4 (33 overs) NCC 134 all out (32.4 overs)

Scorecard here 

Rams Live to Fight Another Day

A real spirited performance by the Acre Bottom boys against high flying Norden kept our slender hopes of survival intact. One has to hope the weather, which has been awful all season, is kind for the last two games to give us a chance to retain our status in the Lancashire League top division.

After a lot of mopping up Sunday’s game was reduced to 33 overs a side, and having won the toss the home side chose to field. It was clear there was going to be plenty in the wicket for the bowlers and Norden struck an early blow when Ali was caught in the deep off Zaidi.

The in form Ben joined TP at the wicket and the pair looked comfortable with Tom in particular displaying some lovely strokes. He had made 22 out of 33 runs scored when a change of bowling brought about his downfall, chasing a wide half volley and being caught behind.

Enter skipper Harry to join Ben and the pair battled hard with Ben playing the role of the major run scorer. At 54 Harry fell to what looked a really good delivery that cut sharply back and bowled him. Next to the wicket was Seb, reinstated into the 1st XI. He introduced himself  by smashing  Zaidi for a six and his partnership with Ben proved to be pivotal. Both batsmen played some good shots and made batting on a difficult track look fairly straight forward. Ben has performed consistently well for us this year and he hits the ball extremely hard as the Norden sightscreen will testify. He deservedly reached his half century and his pertnership with Seb took us to 127 before the later was stumped for a vitally important 30 runs.

Billy then joined in the fun and although he played and missed against Zaidi on several occasions he did manage to dispatch him out of the ground for a huge six in the last over. Our final total was 145 for 4 with Ben finishing on an excellent 65 not out.

This was a decent total but with the likes of Josh Tolley and Ash Zaidi in the opposition by far from ungettable. Tolley made his intentions clear from the first over when he dispatched the Bird out of the ground. However when he had made 11 he survived a chance at slip. This looked like costing us dearly as he took the attack to the Bird and the score proceeded rapidly to 35 before Matthew had Crabtree caught behind by Harry. With Billy bowling as tight as usual the runs were coming from the other end. After 10 overs Harry replaced Billy with Denty. By this time Tolley was looking ominously good and with Norden well in advance of the required run rate it needed something special to put us back in the game.

It was Denty who provided this with a delivery that spun just enough to get Tolley’s outside edge and TP gleefully held on to the catch at slip. Zaidi then came in and had only made 3 when he was put down to a relatively straightforward catch at deep midwicket.

This looked like a massive body blow to the Rams but on 72, with young Toby having been introduced into the attack, we got the vital breakthrough. The young man will be the first to admit his delivery was not the best in the world, basically a half tracker. The former Norden pro could have hit it anywhere on the ground but despite getting plenty on it he only succeeded in smashing the ball straight at Seb who held on to a fine catch.

This was the spur our lads needed and the fielding and bowling immediately tightened up. Our next wicket came with the score on 95 when Harry brilliantly stumped Taylor off Toby. Even then Norden were ahead on Duckworth Lewis, that had now come into play.

However, Harry was then able to play his ace card by bringing back Billy into the attack. Runs dried up and wickets started to fall and Duckworth Lewis started to swing in our direction.

Our fielding picked up considerably with TP taking a flier at slip which went so quickly at him it hit him in the chest but he reacted quickly enough to grab the rebound. Billy also belied his years by making two great diving stops and a running catch. So it came to the final over with the opposition needing 12 to win.  By this time Denty had replaced Toby and with two wickets remaining and 12 runs to get the game could have gone either way. His first two deliveries completely deceived Butterwoth who was on 17 at the time. He did manage to get hold of the third delivery but only succeeded in top edging for young Ali to take a good diving catch. The next delivery was struck to square leg and there followed an almighty mix up between the batsmen which resulted in Debnam being run out giving the Rams a valuable 12 point victory.

Billy’s figures of 3 for 17 off 10 overs were outstanding but he was well supported by Denty’s 3 for 31 and Toby’s 2 for 37. To be fair to Birdy, who has been a model of consistency for most of the season his figures were tarnished mainly by Tolley, who had been dropped off him earlier.

Man of the Match – Ben Pearson for his excellent 65 not out consisting of four 4s and two big sixes.