Nearly 20 years ago, Andy Greenwood moved from Norden to Heywood and started a revival in the club’s second team’s fortunes.
Greenwood – nicknamed GOD for his love of a ‘Game Of Darts’ – brought some much-needed pride back to second team cricket at a time when both the club’s first and second teams were in the doldrums.
Leading by example and never wearing a helmet – despite once taking a short ball straight in the middle of his head on the way to a century at Ashton – Greenwood made sure a disparate and ever-changing bunch of characters made the most of their talent.
Among the players to come through the senior ranks thanks to Greenwood were Steve Wallwork, Rob Slawson, Chris Flanagan, Gary Hulme and, most significantly Bobby Cross, who was given a chance to shine up the order by Greenwood at a very early age.
Although league glory was Greenwood’s ultimate aim, that eluded him, but in the summer of Euro 1996, the Manchester bomb and Britpop, Greenwood’s side did something that had only been done once before, in 1984 – winning the Burton Cup.
It was a miserable day down at Crimble when Heywood took on Rochdale, but expectations were high especially as the team boasted the experience of Dave Fare, Dave Cross and David Greenwood, the then under-developed talent of Hulme and the rest who had played at age-group level together at Crimble.
Like today, Heywood had a varied and talented bowling attack led by Flanagan, who on his day could blow away any team in the league. He was well backed up by the medium-pacers of Hulme, Neil Ashworth’s flat left-armers (in the mould of Fare), Fare himself and Wallwork, who back then had high hopes of becoming a useful seamer.
It was this bowling attack that sealed the game for Heywood as they left the Rochdale batting in tatters, eventually restricting them to just 126 off 46 overs. Wickets were shared around, but arguably the key to the success was Flanagan’s early strikes that removed Pattison and Brierley with next to nothing on the board.
It was fitting that Greenwood should make the major contribution to chasing down the target set by Rochdale, and his 60 meant the run chase was simple for Heywood. Heavy rain set in with Heywood within sight of victory but Rochdale realised they had no chance and agreed to play on to settle proceedings.
Current captain Roger Smethurst was part of that side and could earn himself the moniker ‘The New GOD’ if he can lead his side to victory against Middleton.
I’m sure nothing would give him greater pleasure …
P Butterworth c N Ashworth b Hulme 51
Pattison c Cross b Flanagan 1
Brierley c Wallwork b Flanagan 0
Earnshaw c Cross b Hulme 19
Wild c Smethurst b Fare 19
Heywood LBW Hulme 4
Schofield st Cross b Fare 5
Bolingbroke run out 6
M Butterworth st Cross b M Ashworth 3
Gilbertson not out 1
Dodgson run out 7
Total (all out, 46 overs) 126
Bowling: Flanagan 8-4-14-2, Fare 10-1-24-2, Wallwork 10-2-31-0, Hulme 10-0-34-3, N Ashworth 6.2-1-19-0, M Ashworth 1-0-1-1
A Greenwood c Brierley b Dodgson 60
D Cross c Earnshaw b Gilbertson 16
D Greenwood c Brierley b Dodgson 17
Hulme not out 14
Bold not out 5
Total (for three wickets, 38.2 overs) 129
Bowling: Gilbertson 10-2-37-1, Butterworth 8-1-19-0,Dodgson 0-1-32-2, Schofield 6-1-18-0, Earnshaw 4.2-0-15-0.
Heywood won by seven wickets
Heywood team: A Greenwood (capt), D Cross (w/k), D Greenwood, G Hulme, A Bold, S Wallwork, M Ashworth, R Smethurst, DA Fare, N Ashworth, C Flanagan
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