If Heywood are to lose out in their quest for CLL glory, it won’t be for a lack of talent and killer instinct.
Bobby Cross’ men kept up the pressure on Walsden – who hammered Oldham yesterday – with a clinical dismantling of Unsworth at Crimble yesterday.
They were simply far too good for the Pole Lane outfit who, despite a decent start with the bat and a good knock from overseas amateur Husain Badat, never had enough on the board as they posted 145 all out on a good batting wicket.
This was quickly proved correct as, despite losing Cross to his second successive silly run out, Heywood cruised home with nine wickets down thanks to a superb, unbeaten partnership of 124 between the increasingly effective Ross Zelem and Travis Townsend.
Unsworth won the toss and batted and made a decent start, despite numerous plays and misses to opening bowlers Hamish Paterson and Curtis Maguire.
It was Maguire who made the breakthrough, trapping captain John Wiggans leg before with a full toss with the score on 32.
Paterson quickly gained two victims caught behind with excellent length deliveries, but Gregorio and Badat took the score to 74 before Chris Kaye gained the first of his four wickets.
He and Rob Slawson continued to make inroads and despite some decent batting from pro Jon Fowler, the veteran pair bowled excellently and lured the unsuspecting Unsworth batsmen to their doom as the visitors were bowled out for 145.
Job done by the bowlers and gaining the five points was now up to the batsmen.
As usual, Cross looked in prime form before he was run out after trying to take a single despite it being Zelem’s call and despite the ball going straight to an Unsworth fielder.
That is always the prime wicket for a visiting team and Unsworth were visibly buoyed – until Zelem and Townsend started to show their full array of shots.
Both were ruthless in dispatching the bad ball, wherever it was bowled. Zelem is particularly strong through the off-side will Townsend showed a range of shots around the wicket that proved what a good player he is. He still, however, found time for a silly shot which was spilled at mid-off, but that apart he and Zelem played excellently and took Heywood to a deserved victory.
Heywood remain eight points behind Walsden with just three games to go, and there looks little chance of Walsden slipping up to make the final day of the season a real title decider.
But Heywood have now won ten games on the trot, are playing beautifully and have what is the most balanced team in the league. All they can do is keep winning and if fate is on their side they will take it to the final game of the season.
The day was also memorable for a visit from legendary pro Colin Lever, who shared some great stories with the former players and supporters who shared nine hugely successful years with him.
H Badat c Cross b Kaye 56
J Wiggans lbw Maguire 19
A Arora c Pawson b Paterson 2
C Long c Pawson b Paterson 0
A Gregorio c Cross b Kaye 17
J Fowler lbw Slawson 21
A Taylor c Naeem b Slawson 0
A Clarkson c Cross b Kaye 0
N Khawaja c Fawcett b Kaye 12
L Richards not out 0
M Haig b Slawson 2
FOW: 1-32, 2-35, 3-38, 4-74, 5-118, 6-118, 7-119, 8-143, 9-143, 10-145.
Total (all out, 47.2 overs) 145
Bowling: Paterson 12-6-19-2, Maguire 9-0-29-1, Naeem 7-0-33-0, Kaye 12-3-33-4, Slawson 7.2-0-25-3
R Cross run out 10
R Zelem not out 56
T Townsend not out 72
Total (one wicket, 30 overs) 146
Bowling: Fowler 8-2-28-0, Clarkson 6-1-22-0, Badat 4-1-18-0, Taylor 6-1-29-0, Richards 3-1-17-0, Arora 2-0-8-0, Khawaja 1-0-10-0.
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- Clifton Feel Power Of Pawson And Townsend
- Zelem Finds Top Form To Overhaul Clifton
- Pawson Sets Tone For Heywood CC’s Fourth Win In A Row
- Townsend Stands Tall To Send Heywood Through At Unsworth