A WELL-below par performance at Crimble saw a dejected Heywood second team well beaten by Middleton by seven wickets.
With an apparently good-looking ‘deck’ on show captain Adam Fawcett chose to bat first, and saw his side get off to a steady start through Phil Dawson and Roger Smethurst.
At 37-0 after 14 overs, all appeared to be in good order. From then on, unfortunately, the batting surface appeared to play tricks.
Some indifferent bounce accounted for a number of batsmen, with only two going beyond 20 – Smethurst with 22 and Dom Fawcett with an unbeaten 25 showing the required application.
A brief flurry from the recalled James Mills, who made 14, then saw the team grind its way to 146-9 off their 50 overs.
After the turnaround Heywood got off to a promising start, with the evergreen Rick Purser bowling young Middleton opener Carpentier.
However, that proved to be too little too soon as it brought in the big-hitting Middleton Crangle, who frustrated the home attack with an increasing number of boundaries of both agricultural and well-timed nature.
Captain Fawcett tried different bowling combinations, with young Jack Morley again impressing with his left-arm spin. A couple of further wickets fell, but Middleton eased to a comfortable and deserved victory with more than seven overs to spare.
P Dawson st Astley b Hughes 14
R Smethurst lbw b Sajid 22
B Thulborn lbw b Sajid 8
A Fawcett c Crangle b Shahid 6
S Evans b Sajid 14
D Fawcett not out 25
K Nugent c Astley b Holmes 0
J Morley c and b Harris 6
M Grogan c Sajid b Holmes 4
J Mills c Bennett b Holmes 14
R Purser not out 1
Total (for 9 wkts, 50 overs) 146
Fall of wickets: 1-38, 2-40, 3-46, 4-68, 5-68, 6-86, 7-107, 8-113, 9-138
Bowling: G Hughes 15-3-24-1, H Sajid 15-4-42-4, S Holmes 10-2-21-3, M Sohail 4-1-27-0, P Harris 6-2-20-1
M Shahid lbw b A Fawcett 19
L Carpentier b Purser 2
S Crangle not out 60
R Bennett lbw b Purser 27
G Hughes not out 18
Total (for 3 wkts, 42.2 overs) 148
Fall of wickets: 1-5, 2-44, 3-120
Bowling: R Purser 12.2-1-35-2, J Mills 10-0-25-0, D Fawcett 11-2-50-0, A Fawcett 4-1-19-1, J Morley 5-0-12-0