Heywood again held their nerve in difficult batting conditions to move into the second round of the John Willie Lees Wood Cup on Sunday.
They scrambled home by six runs in a game that had a sizeable crowd on the edge of their seats all afternoon. Now Heywood face a tough trip to in-form Milnrow on Sunday 17 June.
Bobby Cross and Ross Zelem struggled to find any fluency and reached just 14-0 after 10 overs. But they did get the run rate approaching three an over in an opening stand of 59, until Cross top-edge an attempted sweep to backward square leg and went for what proved to be a top score of 32 in the whole game.
Travis Townsend went 19 runs later in mysterious fashion as Crompton first appealed for a stumping which was turned down by the square leg umpire – then saw the other umpire at the bowler’s end give a catch behind, to the surprise of virtually everyone.
Zelem, meanwhile, carried on in his anchor role, although struggling to rotate the strike. But when he was bowled by Malindu Athalida for 20 on 98-3, the rot set in.
Clifton claimed the crucial wicket of Danny Pawson, run out when trying to take a single despite Dale Latham’s call of no, and when Latham later followed him back to the pavilion Heywood were struggling to post a competitive total.
That they passed 150 was down in the main to Robert Slawson, promoted from No 10 to No 7 to bolster a brittle middle order, and he again showed his experience with what was to prove a crucial contribution of 18.
And with Hamish Paterson producing a couple of meaty hits in a quickfire contribution of 12, Heywood did at least close on 152-9.
That looked a defendable total on a difficult wicket, particularly when wicket-keeper Pawson pulled off two fine catches to get rid of Adam Holt and Athalida with the score on 26.
Chris Kaye came into the attack to join Townsend and they strangled the Clifton innings to such an extent that they looked down and out on 77-5, as Kaye had dangerous visiting professional Amal Perera caught and bowled for 21 with the penultimate delivery of his spell.
But the visitors hit back through Tom Derbyshire and Dave Barton, and they looked in with a real chance on 124-5, needing just over five an over.
Cross, however, brought opening bowlers Humza Naeem and Paterson back into the attack and they answered his call impressively.
The 16-year-old Naeem sent both the established batsmen packing, and followed up with the scalp of Liam Dorsey.
And when Australian overseas amateur Paterson bowled the threatening Greg Jennings in the last over for 12, then Matthew Wright was run out going for a second run, Heywood had scrambled through by just six runs.
R Cross c Athalida b Wright 32
R Zelem b Athalida 20
T Townsend c Dorsey b Wright 13
D Pawson run out 12
D Latham c and b Jennings 11
L Grogan c Dorsey b Wright 5
R Slawson c Derbyshire b Jennings 18
J Lovell c Derbyshire b Jennings 0
H Paterson c Derbyshire b Jennings 12
H Naeem not out 0
Total (for 9 wkts, 50 overs) 152
Fall of wickets: 1-59, 2-78, 3-98, 4-103, 5-108, 6-135, 7-140, 8-148, 9-152
Bowling: Perera 10-3-20-0, Jennings 10-3-16-4, Morris 8-1-31-0, Lord 5-0-23-0, Wright 10-2-24-3, Athalida 7-0-26-1
M Athalida c Pawson b Townsend 10
A Holt c Pawson b Paterson 11
J Evans b Lovell 20
D Morris lbw b Townsend 6
A Perera c and b Kaye 21
T Derbyshire c Cross b Naeem 22
D Barton c Pawson b Naeem 17
G Jennings b Paterson 12
L Dorsey c Cross b Naeem 4
A Lord not out 3
M Wright run out 1
Total (49.5 overs) 146
Fall of wickets: 1-26, 2-26, 3-40, 4-73, 5-77, 6-124, 7-127, 8-140, 9-141, 10-146
Bowling: Paterson 9.5-1-25-2, Naeem 8-0-27-3, Townsend 10-3-18-2, Kaye 10-2-20-1, Lovell 8-0-30-1, Slawson 4-0-19-0
- Clifton Exploit Heywood’s Lack Of Confidence
- Zelem Finds Top Form To Overhaul Clifton
- Jennings’ Late Burst Leaves Heywood Stunned
- Clifton Feel Power Of Pawson And Townsend
- Heywood Set Up Walsden Wood Cup Final Showdown After Clifton Victory
- Dominant Heywood Sweep To Clinical Clifton Victory
- Kaye And Slawson Hold Nerve As Heywood Win Thriller With Scorecard (Full Report And Pics On Monday)
- Heywood Crush Werneth To Confirm Gulf In Class
- Chapman Guns Down Startled Heywood
- Old Guard Hold Nerve To Deny Brave Crompton