BY STEVE MCHUGH: DANNY Pawson inspired Heywood to one of their best run chases of recent times as they reached the second round of the Royal London National Club Championship.
The skipper, who has started the season in inspired form, produced a master class innings of 89 as his side chased down an imposing target of 228 at Farnworth with nine balls and five wickets of the 45 overs to spare.
But it was not merely a one-man show as some of the Club’s younger players came to the fore.
Farnworth’s total of 227-9 under glorious sunshine certainly looked challenging by a side who reached the final of the Lancashire Cricket Board KO Cup in 2016.
But Heywood structured their chase diligently despite losing Bobby Cross for 11 and professional Travis Townsend for 18 as they slipped to 47-2.
That, however, only brought Pawson to wicket and he quickly reproduced his sublime form to get the run rate on track in a promising stand with Andy Kerr.
Just when the visitors looked to be taking control, however, Kerr was bowled for a valuable contribution of 35, heralding the entrance of Jack Morley to forge the crucial stand of the innings with Pawson.
The 15-year-old underlined his liking for being pushed up the batting order to his new position of No 5 with an assured display of how to keep the scoreboard ticking over as his skipper continued wreaking havoc at the other end.
And with the score 170-3 and 11 overs left to make another 58 runs needed for victory, the hard work looked to have been done – only for Morley to see the bails of the stumps trimmed by a delivery from Ross Sutton after a classy contribution of 35.
If the sizeable Heywood contingent feared a collapse to undo all the good work, they need not have worried as Sean Burrill – who has endured a lean run with the bat – stepped forward to underline his talent.
He provided just the further support that Pawson needed and it was a shame that the skipper could not reach what would have been a tremendous century, and see the job through to the end, as he was bowled for 89 by Imran Mirza with the first ball of the 41st over.
The scoreboard showed 208-5 and Heywood needed 21 runs from the remaining 29 balls to set up the prospect of a nervy finish. But Wes Hunt joined the increasingly settled Burrill to finish off the job.
Both showed purpose and intent and, at 219-5 and 12 balls left to make the further nine runs needed, it was fitting that Burrill should apply the virtual coup-de-grace with a glorious straight six off Nakash Qamar after the bowler had started his over with a no-ball enabling Hunt to score a single from the free hit.
The duo then scampered the winning single and deservedly earned the pats on their backs after a job well executed by the batting line-up.
Earlier, the Bolton League side had showed why they have had recent success by posting their demanding total, led by skipper 65 from skipper Simon Booth.
But the Heywood bowlers toiled manfully, with Pawson making the early breaks in a spell of 3-43 and Simon Dawson returning to the attack to finish with 4-49 from his nine overs.
J Kerrigan c Hunt b Pawson 22
R Sutton b S Dawson 23
J Horrocks c Cross b Morley 21
I Mirza c Townsend b Pawson 4
S B Booth c Burrill b Pawson 65
N Hyde b A Dawson 27
M Hicks lbw b S Dawson 14
D Higham c A Dawson b S Dawson 8
N Qamar c Townsend b S Dawson 6
I McLellan not out 3
V Walcott not out 5
Total (for 9 wkts, 45 overs) 227
Fall of wickets: 1-47, 2-52, 3-64, 4-109, 5-184, 6-187, 7-197, 8-215, 9-219
Bowling: S Dawson 9-0-49-4, A Dawson 9-0-56-1, D Pawson 9-1-43-3, T Townsend 9-0-29-0, J Morley 9-1-39-1
R Cross lbw b Walcott 11
A Kerr b Sutton 35
T Townsend c Higham b Qamar 10
D Pawson b Mirza 89
J Morley b Sutton 35
S Burrill not out 25
W Hunt not out 11
Total (for 5 wkts, 43.3 overs) 228
Fall of wickets: 1-29, 2-47, 3-91, 4-170, 5-208
Bowling: V Walcott 9-1-21-1, D Higham 9-1-43-0, N Qamar 4.3-0-51-1, I Mirza 8-0-36-1, R Sutton 9-0-42-2, M Hicks 4-0-29-0