Gowers stays calm to guide Norden into second round of LCB
ASHLEY Gowers played a brilliant innings to guide Norden into the second round of the LWC supported LCB knockout.
Gowers faced 77 deliveries for his unbeaten 63 and stayed calm and collective as wickets tumbled to an extent that Stags were 94 for six, then 113 for seven when chasing a target of 165.
When skipper Hashum Malik was eighth out Norden still needed another 26 runs, with only Chris Hartley, a player not exactly known for his batting, left in the shed.
But Hartley wasn’t needed as Chris Humphreys provided support for Gowers and rounded off the job with a boundary.
Gowers’ knock gave him the man of the match honours, but almost equally important had been a wicket taken earlier in the day by Martin Smith.
Netherfield professional Obus Pienaar was the big danger man to Norden and arrived at Stag Park with the record of a run machine.
He looked in form, but on 17 Smith bowled him with a peach of a delivery which decreased a possible Netherfield total by a lot of runs.
Smith bowled well, as did Chris Humphreys, Naveed Zamurad, Greg Butterworth and Hashum Malik. They chipped away at the innings and kept the runs down.
Overall it was a good display by Norden in the field, especially with Hartley unable to bowl much due to injury.
Netherfield made their way to 23 before Chris Humphreys split the opening partnership. Bradley Earl made to hit to leg, top edged a skier, and Steve Pimm took the catch at point.
Ben Barrow was next to go when he lofted a delivery from Smith into the safe hands of Rehan Udwadia at long off, and when Smith got Pienaar it was 76 for three.
Five runs later Malik bowled John Huck, then Lewis Edge looped up a catch to Dom Humphreys.
Josh Dixon compiled a decent 33 before trying to hit Zamurad out of the ground and only found Udwadia for the catch.
Matthew Goodall was run out by a direct hit at the non-stri ke end from Zamurad, and Netherfield looked done at 120 for seven.
But the tail wagged and Norden faced a target that was perhaps 20 or 30 more than it might have been.
Greg Butterworth bowled Lewis Richardson for 23, and with the final delivery of the 45 overs Butterworth had Mark Clarkson stumped by Gowers.
What followed was anything but comfortable for Norden followers.
Josh Tolley was out to a catch with only nine on the board, and Rehan Udwadia was then trapped leg before.
Zamurad and Gowers took the total up to 44 before the former smacked a delivery into the covers for a catch. Steve Pimm was out next ball and Norden were in trouble at 44 for four.
Dom Humphreys and Gowers almost doubled the total before Humphreys slashed at a delivery from Clarkson and offered a slips catch which was taken, and it was deep gloom round the ground when Greg Butterworth was leg before to Clarkson.
Netherfield had the edge, and that edge sharpened with the final ball of Pienaar’s nine overs when Martin Smith went for a big hit and lofted a catch.
Malik was out in similar style, and at 139 for eight you wouldn’t have put money on Norden’s chances.
But with their three leading bowlers having bowled out Netherfield looked to have run out of options.
Gowers and Humphreys took advantage.
On the day it would have taken something special to dismiss Gowers who was unfazed by a couple of very loud appeals against him and looked a class act.
Norden will be away to Walsden in the next round on 11 June.
Norden in batting action against Heywood