Aug 082017

A 73-run defeat at Dukinfield, who therefore completed a league double over the Crimble side, was not the biggest surprise in the world considering they were forced to field another well below-strength line-up.

It leaves Greenmount clear at the top of Division One seven points ahead of Heywood, who are in turn just a point in front of Woodhouses and two ahead of Flowery Field.

Edgworth are nine behind them in fifth place but the result of their home game against Winton had yet to be recorded at the time of writing.

Four teams will be promoted and it means that the three remaining home games starting against Denton on Saturday, Worsley and Greenmount – punctuated by away trips to Edgworth and Stretford – assume extra significance.

So why have Heywood found themselves faced with such an anxious end to the season?

A key reason surely has to be their inability to field anything approaching a first-choice side on a week-to-week basis, and it is a problem that must be giving the selection committee headaches.

The players who have stepped up have done the Club proud, and certainly no blame can be apportioned to them.

The irony is that Heywood found themselves in a position at Dukinfield to set up what should have been an acceptable run chase, but once again let the opposition tail-end off the hook.

The home side slipped from 71-2 to 121-8 as a four-man Heywood attack toiled manfully. But what could and possibly should have been a victory target below 130 turned out to be much more significant on a wicket that was never easy to score on.

Joel Morton and Michael Beech admittedly played and missed several times to skipper Danny Pawson and particularly Jack Morley, but they dug in and eventually found a way to put together a crucial 29-run ninth-wicket partnership.

Then Glynn Middleton joined Beech to add a further 14 runs before Morley bowled the latter with the third last ball of the innings.

A target of 164 was certainly not out of reach but Heywood, in truth, were always up against it once key opener Andy Kerr was lbw to the sixth ball of the innings trying to clip a Middleton delivery to the legside.

It brought professional Travis Townsend in to join 15-year-old Michael Witts, and the duo found themselves in a stranglehold exerted by Middleton, home professional Yohan de Silva and then crucially Neil Mistry.

The inexperienced Witts battled hard and emerged with credit while Townsend struggled to find any fluency, despite one fierce pull for a boundary.

And when the youngster eventually was bowled for 22 made from 69 balls then Townsend was stumped for just 12 off 63 balls – both to impressive left-arm spinner Mistry – the asking rate had climbed significantly.

Pawson found himself looking at a score of 45-3 and almost half the 50 overs gone, with the pressure firmly on his shoulders and a diluted late order batting line-up to follow surely at the back of his mind.

Then when he lost Morley (1), Sean Burrill (5) and Dale Latham (0) the skipper was virtually the last hope at 75-6.

He responded in typical style and his 33 from 41 balls was the only fluent contribution of the innings. But once he went in bizarre fashion caught behind attempting a reverse sweep the game was up and Heywood folded tamely for 91.

Mistry eventually finished with a destructive spell of 6-24 from 10 overs and Dukinfield thoroughly merited their six-point haul.

What would have happened facing anything like a full-strength Heywood line-up is open to conjecture.

J Forrester c Pawson b Morley 55
N Mistry b Townsend 6
Y de Silva lbw b Townsend 26
K Mayne c Latham b Pawson 1
A License c Latham b Pawson 0
K Akram c P Dawson b Pawson 8
J Gascoigne c and b Townsend 8
W Allen run out 1
J Morton c Pawson b Morley 18
M Beech b Morley 13
G Middleton not out 2
Extras 26
Total (49.3 overs) 164
Fall of wickets: 1-12, 2-71, 3-77, 4-77, 5-90, 6-118, 7-121, 8-121, 9-150, 10-164
Bowling: T Townsend 15-4-38-3, J Keyworth 6-0-28-0, D Pawson 14-1-51-3, J Morley 14.3-1-41-3

A Kerr lbw b Middleton 2
M Witts b Mistry 22
T Townsend st Gascoigne b Mistry 12
D Pawson c Gascoigne b Mistry 33
J Morley b Mistry 1
S Burrill lbw b Mistry 5
D Latham c de Silva b Morton 0
M Grogan c Allen b Mistry 0
S Evans c Mayne b Forrester 2
P Dawson lbw b Forrester 5
J Keyworth not out 0
Extras 9
Total (38.1 overs) 91
Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-40, 3-45, 4-47, 5-63, 6-75, 7-84, 8-85, 9-86, 10-91
Bowling: G Middleton 13-5-21-1, Y de Silva 9-1-18-0, N Mistry 10-2-24-6, J Morton 4-0-24-1, Forrester 2.1-2-0-2

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