Khan helps Lancaster make it three in a row

Lancaster sub-professional Mohammed Zaman Khan hits a six as he finishes 79 not out at Chorley CC. Picture: Go2Pictures - Josh Vosper
Lancaster sub-professional Mohammed Zaman Khan hits a six as he finishes 79 not out at Chorley CC. Picture: Go2Pictures - Josh Vosper

Sub-professional Mohammed Zaman Khan helped Lancaster pull off their third Northern League victory in a row in an engrossing encounter at Windsor Park.

He took four wickets with the ball before an unbeaten 79 helped guide Lancaster home from the precipice of defeat at 110-7 as the visitors chased down 165 to win.

Without regular skipper Ben Simm, Jamie Heywood stepped in as captain and true to previous form, lost the toss.

The pitch looked batsmen-friendly as Chorley openers David Fisher and Andrew Griffiths got off to positive start against Lancaster’s opening pair of Liam Moffat and Iain Perrieman.

Some excellent pressure bowling from the in-from Moffat, however, resulted in the first breakthrough as a Griffiths inside edge looped off his pad to Danny Welbourne at square-leg.

Chorley were happy to consolidate and keep wickets in hand after this loss, as Fisher and Dickinson slowly accumulated.

Lancaster kept the scoring rate in check through Zaman Khan’s off-spin and a tight wicket-to-wicket spell from Matt White.

At 73-1 at the 30-over mark, Dickinson forced Zaman Khan to Lee Sparks at mid-wicket who took a sharp catch above his head.

The slow pitch meant the spinners were difficult to force away as Will Moulton found out finding Heywood at long-on off Alex Metcalfe.

Fisher continued to hold the Chorley innings together, but the pressure told at the other end as Lancaster’s persistence paid off.

From 100-2, the hosts fell to 101-5 as Zaman Khan removed Stuart Naden and Alex Weetman in consecutive deliveries.

Fisher went beyond his 50 and accelerated picking off the spinners’ loose deliveries and was ably supported by Chorley skipper Andrew Holdsworth.

Zaman Khan and Scott Sparks, who bowled admirably in the final overs of the innings, kept Chorley in check as Fisher finally fell for 74 finding Moffat on the boundary going for his second maximum.

The hosts finished on 164-7 with Zaman Khan finishing with four for 56, a score no higher than par, even on a deteriorating pitch.

Lancaster got off to another fairly solid start, Charlie Swarbrick playing a wonderful early cover drive off Richard Flood, to take Lancaster to 20 without loss.

Both openers departed in quick succession, however, as Metcalfe fell driving loosely outside the off stump to Billy Smith before Swarbrick came up against an unplayable over from Flood and nicked a vicious off-cutter to ‘keeper Alex Weetman.

Stand-in skipper Heywood and Zaman Khan continued to play their shots with mixed success, but managed to put together a very important partnership of 57. Heywood finding form by using his feet and looking to be positive while Zaman Khan took the aerial route to success.

Both milked the spin of Iain Critchley and an under-the-weather Gaurav Dhar and had built a solid platform at 81-2.

When Critchley removed Heywood and Perrieman leg before three balls later, Lancaster were right back on the back foot.

Flood returned to the attack to exploit Lancaster’s increasingly weak underbelly, the middle-order, by removing Kieran Moffat, Welbourne and White to a mixture of fine fast bowling and excellent catching.

Lancaster still had a sniff with Zaman Khan at the crease, but brief salvation came in the form of the mercurial Lee Sparks who, despite the game situation, proceeded to launch Flood for two huge sixes.

His cameo 21 from 10 balls was ended by a spectacular catch by David Fisher at cover, but kept the visitors in the hunt.

With Lancaster 30 runs short with only two wickets left, however, Chorley were still firm favourites.

Zaman Khan had other plans however, as he moved past 50 with some crunching boundaries and farmed the strike away from the second Sparks brother, Scott.

The younger Sparks offered a straight bat to any remaining deliveries he was required to face as Zaman Khan slowly chipped away at the total. Chorley tried one last throw of the dice, bringing back Dhar for one final go.

A paddle sweep from Zaman Khan brought the scores level, before a slog sweep gave Lancaster their third win in as many games to keep them fourth in the table.