Cruising on 136-5 with Andy Dawson and Wes Hunt (38) playing well, Heywood suffered a mini-collapse to find themselves on 138-8, before Scott Jones and veteran Rick Purser put on what proved to be a crucial ninth-wicket partnership of 33.
Clifton tried to chase Heywood’s total down in ac curiously slow manner, reaching 114-0 in the 43rd over before wickets started to fall with the run rate mounting.
They left themselves needing 57 at more than a run a ball, which proved too much as skipper Roger Smethurst and Andy Dawson capitalised on the growing panic to see Heywood through to the next round.
Another tense affair, this time at Crimble, saw Heywood through to their first Burton Cup semi-final since 1996.
Again, this owed much to the side’s veterans and lower order. Heywood were on 118-8 and in danger of crashing out of the cup when Chris Booth and Rick Purser (again) turned things round with a 50-run partnership for the ninth wicket. Purser’s 28 and Booth’s 38 were key knocks.
In reply, as in the previous round, Royton were in a strong position on 122-3 with Callum Hay looking in fine form. But a combination of Lee Grogan and captain fantastic Roger Smethurst again wreaked havoc on the Royton middle order and Heywood eventually eased to victory as Royton were bowled out for 158.
Rain interrupted what was already looking to be a thrilling game on the Sunday after Heywood had posted a challenging total of 184. There were steady contributions all down the card, but again, no one really took control and 184 looked gettable.
The bad weather then got in the way, and when play resumed on the Monday night, Walsden failed to make much headway against a superb bowling attack of Lee Grogan, Curtis Maguire, Andy Dawson, Simon Dawson and Sam Byrne.
Bad light took it to the Tuesday, when Walsden needed 80 off 12 overs. Talented young Joe Gale was the only player who looked to have a desire to score quick runs, but after Byrne struck in his first over and Maguire returned to the attack, Walsden’s fate was sealed and Heywood were in the Burton Cup final for the first time in 16 years.
- Smethurst Burst Puts Seconds Into Semis
- BURTON CUP FINAL: Final Team Revealed
- Teams For Weekend And Burton Cup Prices – And A Query
- Seconds’ Bowling Too Strong For Timid Villagers
- Clifton Swept Aside As Seconds March Through To Second Round Of Burton Cup
- BURTON CUP FINAL: Shocking Start Paves Way For Middleton Victory
- Cup Clashes For Firsts At Milnrow, Seconds At Home To Royton
- BURTON CUP FINAL: Byrne And Purser Stand Sets Up Deserved Victory
- Roger Smethurst’s Second Team Review Of Season (At Last)
- Maguire Just Can’t Say No To A Hatful Of Wickets (Pics To Come Tomorrow AM)