Colne’s new professional, Ali Azmat from Pakistan, made a stunning start to his Lancashire League career with an innings of 168 in an opening day win at Todmorden.
Todmorden won the toss and asked Colne to bat. Azmat came in in the second over and was out in the 50th, and filled the innings with drives, cuts, and showed a particular fondness for sixes over square leg.
Azmat had sensible amateur support throughout the innings. Billy Jamil, opening, scored 23 in a partnership of 51. As Azmat moved into top gear, Ammad Akram contributed 24 to a partnership of 96, and Tom Bradshaw scored 17 in a partnership of 100. Both amateur batsmen rotated the strike willingly to give Azmat maximum opportunity. The innings closed on 251-6. Azmat’s 168 came from 143 balls with nine sixes and 20 fours.
Todmorden’s innings was off to a poor start when Dave Wallbank bowled two men in one over. The second was a beautiful delivery which Elliott Gilford left alone, only to be surprised when it came back and hit the stumps.
Daneyal Qasim knocked Todmorden pro Neser’s stmp out of the ground for 26, and after that, Kristian Garland (72) shared threatening partnerships with Ben Sutcliffe (47) and Andrew Sutcliffe (37), but Akram ran out Ben Sutcliffe with a direct hit from long off, and the other two men were caught off Qasim’s bowling. Qasim looked a fast and dangerous bowler, and took the vital wickets when Todmorden were threatening to score the eight runs an over that they needed at that point.
The last four wickets fell quickly. A run-out, another stump sent flying by Qasim, and two wickets for skipper Matthew Walker gave Colne a 26-run win and the bonus points with 16 balls to spare.
Colne follow up with a trip to Bacup tomorrow, and the first home game of the season is against Rishton on Sunday.