Gale helps Walsden to final

Walsden v Clifton. Joe Gale.
Walsden v Clifton. Joe Gale.

Walsden are through to the Wood Cup final after Joe Gale and Calum Rushton emerged the heroes from a nail-bitting last four match at Saddleworth yesterday.

The Pennine League leaders looked to have done the hard work when they dismissed their hosts for 103 with Stevie Barker and Umesh Karunaratne each picking up three inexpensive wickets.

However, it was then the turn of the visiting batsmen to find it hard going and four wickets each for overseas amateur Nauman Akram and professional Imran Aslam left the tie in the balance.

Gale batted patiently and picked out the bad balls, hitting two sixes and two fours in the game’s top score of 33 not out.

With Akram and Aslam bowled out, number 10 Rushton struck a six and a four to clinch victory.

The final is at Rochdale on Sunday, August 7 and Walsden will play the host club, who were involved in an even tighter game than James Rawlinson’s men yesterday.

Rochdale, who lost at home to Walsden on Saturday, scrambled home by one wicket against Littleborough.

Simon Newbitt and Ashton Turner were the star performers as Todmorden notched a fine four-wicket win at Nelson in the Lancashire League yesterday.

Left-hander Newbitt hit 73 and was the only batsman to really make an impression in a low-scoring game.

He hit eight boundaries in his 110-ball knock, departing with only five more needed as the visitors chased Nelson’s 122 all out.

Turner was out for a first ball duck - trapped leg before - but the Australian had earlier made a mark with his spin bowling, taking a league best five for 15 as Nelson quickly subsided from 112 for five.

Ben Pearson (17), who figured in an opening stand of 35, was the only visiting batsman apart from Newbitt to make double figures.

Northowram Fields seconds won through to the Bradford League’s Wheatley Cup final yesterday.

Mark Goodall’s side were eight wicket winners at Crossbank Methodists and will play Liversedge at Wrenthorpe on Sunday, August 21,

Methodists made 156 for nine and the Rams were always on course with openers Paul Bottomley (64 no) and young Louis Cockburn (43) adding 73.

Another teenager, Lewis Moore, helped finish the job with 37 not out.