HEYWOOD stayed joint top of Division 4 East in the Greater Manchester Premier League after they pulled the match out of the fire at Moorside.
The visitors eventually won by 22 runs at the Oldham area club, but it was a game where the balance of power constantly ebbed and flowed.
There was little hint of the drama to come when Heywood, batting first, reached 44-2 after almost 13 overs. Yet once skipper Mikey Grogan fell for 26 the wheels started to come off.
The runs dried up and six-and-a-half overs later the scoreboard showed 50-6 when Rob Bennett was joined by Lee Clarkson for what was to proved a crucial seventh-wicket partnership.
The duo put together a stand of 80 in almost 22 overs until Clarkson fell for 29. But Bennett, the lynchpin of the innings, stayed until the bitter end and was last man out for a fine 61 with two balls of the innings remaining.
A total of 149 on a sticky wicket looked to give Heywood a good chance, especially when Moorside subsided to 58-5 as James Mills claimed three wickets and Cav Hilton and Will Taylor one apiece.
But then, just as in the Heywood effort, Moorside put together a mid-innings partnership in the shape of L Kingston and S Mehmood to take the score to 124. That was when Clarkson produced his second crucial contribution.
He got rid of both batsmen in quick succession, for 35 and 36 respectively, and followed up swiftly with the wickets of R Lord and J Taylor. And when Chris Kaye claimed the final wicket of B Robinson for a duck Moorside had lost their last five wickets for just three runs and fell 22 short on 127 all out.
Clarkson’s fine figures of 4-6 from 6.4 overs proved vital, while Mills also deserves credit for his earlier burst of 3-26 from nine overs.
+ HEYWOOD’S third team slumped to 52-run defeat at home to Woodbank when looking to have every chance at the halfway stage.
The Bury side were restricted to 135-6 from their 40 overs as Sam Byrne claimed 3-40, Rick Purser 2-17 from 12 miserly overs and Dan Joesbury 1-27.
And Heywood looked capable of making a game of it when, following the first over fall of Jacob Kaye, Matt Hood and 13-year-old Joe Carter put together a second-wicket stand of 35.
But once the youngster was run out by a throw from gulley looking for a single that was never on the rot set in.
And when Hood went for a hard-hitting 32 from 47 balls it was 46-5 as the visiting attack turned the screw.
Heywood eventually limped to 83 all out from 27.2 overs, with skipper Roger Smethurst, 16, the only other batsman to reach double figures.
- None Found