Heywood made it two fine wins in a row as they administered a thorough thrashing to Littleborough at Hare Hill.
Beaten convincingly by Boro at Crimble last month, Bobby Cross’s side were evidently buoyed by their magnificent victory over Ormskirk last week in the LCB KO and hammered the home side by seven wickets.
It looks like Heywood are now firmly back on track, and in the returning Travis Townsend have a professional at the top of his game and with an appetite for runs.
He and all-rounder Danny Pawson were in magnificent form to make the Boro attack look weak and ordinary on a decent track.
Chasing a good total of 201 in 45 overs – weather had meant a 2pm start and reduced overs – the pair came together with the score on 33 and put on 145 for the third wicket.
They initially treated Mo Bux with respect, but eventually started to milk the veteran who needed something more in the wicket and some livelier fielding to really be a threat despite dismissing Andy Dawson early on.
As usual, Townsend was quick to get on to the front foot against the slower bowlers while Pawson prefers the back foot approach, but both swept and drove Chris Schofield, Phil Deakin and Clinton Perren with ease all around the wicket.
Pawson played a couple of memorable cuts and pulls for four, while Townsend’s best shots were to long on, where the Boro fielders looked leggy and slow.
It was a shame that Townsend couldn’t see it through, out trying to smack the medium pace of Smith-Butler out of the park for 74, but Pawson, with a memorable, unbeaten 82, and Cross saw Heywood home to a marvellous victory.
Earlier, Schofield and professional Perren had looked to be setting Boro up for an eminently defendable total.
After good opening spells from Humza Naeem – who went for just 11 off his seven overs – and Riley Paterson, who picked up the wickets of former Heywood man Gary Hulme and veteran Jon Henderson, the experienced pair of former first-class cricketers played exceptionally well, until Simon Dawson pulled off a catch of such stunning brilliance at point that Perren had every right to feel bemused as he trudged off.
Chris Kaye then struck a blow to get rid of Schofield lbw for 78, much to the chagrin of the ex-England man who felt he had got an edge on to it. It didn’t really justify some ridiculous appealing later on when he bowled, and thankfully umpire Herbert didn’t fall for his increasingly desperate appeals. Swings and roundabouts.
Chris McDonnell played well for 42, but Kaye swept up three more wickets late on and on a good wicket 201 was always chaseable.
What was noticeable in the chase was the ease with which Heywood played a Boro attack that looked menacing on a damp Crimble last month, and how comfortably ones could be turned into twos when Heywood pushed the fielders.
All in all, a fine victory for Heywood.
G Hulme c S Dawson b Paterson 1
J Henderson c Cross b Paterson 11
C Perren c S Dawson b Townsend 30
C Schofield lbw Kaye 78
C McDonnell b Kaye 42
J Smith Butler c Cross b Kaye 10
M Mickelthwaite b Kaye 9
J Stimpson not out 6
Total (for 7 wickets, 45 overs) 201
FOW: 1, 19, 94, 163, 184, 187, 201
Bowling: Naeem 7-2-11-0; Paterson 11-1-39-2; Moore 3-0-28-0; Townsend 11-2-54-1; Kaye 13-1-65-4
R Zelem b Stimpson 10
A Dawson b Bux 8
T Townsend c Perren b Smith-Butler 74
D Pawson not out 82
R Cross not out 7
Total (for 3 wickets, 42.5 overs) 202
FOW: 15, 33, 178
Bowling: Bux 9-1-28-1; Stimpson 7-0-45-1; Deakin 8-0-36-0; Smith-Butler 6.5-0-40-1; Schofield 10-1-31-0; Perren 2-0-17-0
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