REPORT BY ROGER SMETHURST: Heywood 3rds travelled to Radcliffe following a gloomy Sunday morning and arrived at East Lancs Paper Mill’s venue to find the covers off and wickets pitched with the ground fit for play at 2pm.
When Heywood won the toss and opted to bat first Matt Hood decided that, on a wet wicket with variable bounce, a positive approach was the best option.
He rapidly raced to 28 in an opening stand of 45 with Matt Dearden before perishing playing one shot too many.
This led to a mini-collapse as, in quick succession, Roger Smethurst and Joey O’Neill both fell without troubling the scorers. And Heywood looked in a precarious position at 46-3 when 14-year-old Ethan Clarkson joined Dearden.
Both played watchfully at first, running well between the wickets, and as their confidence increased they sought to put the bad balls away.
A partnership of 39 eventually proved crucial in the overall game, and it came as a surprise when Clarkson was eventually bowled for 14 in what was easily his best innings of the season for the 3rds.
Dearden continued to accumulate runs at the other end, showing great patience in valuing his wicket on a difficult surface, and with the lower order he helped Heywood to eventually reach 134.
It was a shame, therefore, that he was dimissed in the 31st over for a hard-earned 27. But in the circumstances this was a fantastic effort from the 14-year-old, who as the season goes on continues to grow into the role of opener.
Heywood knew that early wickets would be crucial and it didn’t take Rick Purser long to get into the action, snaring the East Lancs captain without troubling the scorers.
He went on to pick up a second wicket soon afterwards and Heywood appeared in total control when John Keyworth then claimed his first wicket.
East Lancs had other ideas, however, and with the weather closing in they decided to take an aggressive approach to get ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis target.
Purser in particular came in for heavy punishment, conceding 48 runs in his 10 overs before he was replaced in the attack by Will Taylor.
Keyworth eventually made a further breakthrough for Heywood and finished with the creditable figures of 3-18 from his 12 overs in what was easily his best performance of the season.
Everything now hinged on Heywood’s change bowlers and Taylor stood up to the task, bowling a tight line and length supported by some disciplined fielding, the highlight of which was a catch on the long-on boundary by Joey O’Neill to remove the dangerous Turnbull.
A further rain break followed and Heywood were then able to wrap up the East Lancs innings, with young Ollie Simpson running out the East Lancs number 10 with a direct hit from square leg in what was a sharp piece of fielding.
Taylor finished with the fine figures of 3-7 from his seven overs with Dave Hilton picking up the other East Lancs wicket.
This was a fine performance from some of Heywood’s younger players, with Dearden and Clarkson playing excellent innings and Taylor offering good support with the ball after the early efforts of Keyworth.
M Hood c Lomax b Birtwistle 28
M Dearden c Turnbull b Dwyer 27
R Smethurst c Lomax b Pattison 0
J O’Neill c Turnbull b Pattison 0
E Clarkson b Birtwistle 14
D Hilton lbw b Turnbull 10
A Russell run out 5
R Purser c Pattison b Dwyer 4
O Simpson c Saliparri b Dwyer 1
W Taylor b Dwyer 3
J Keyworth not out 1
Total (38.4 overs) 134
Fall of wickets: 1-45, 2-46, 3-46, 4-85, 5-105, 6-115, 7-120, 8-129, 9-130, 10-130
Bowling: A Birtwistle 12-3-36-2, B Pattison 6-0-23-2, C Dearden 5-1-21-0, W Turnbull 8-2-18-1, D Dwyer 7.4-0-15-4
C Saliparri c Smethurst b Purser 0
D Barbe b Purser 3
B Pattison b Keyworth 22
A Campbell c Dearden b Keyworth 17
W Turnbull c O’Neill b Taylor 31
C Dearden b Keyworth 0
K Turner b Taylor 0
A Birtwistle b Taylor 12
L Lomax b Hilton 4
D Dwyer run out 6
C Dearden not out 0
Total (33.3 overs) 105
Fall of wickets: 0-1, 18-2, 35-3, 66-4, 70-5, 71-6, 84-7, 97-8, 105-9, 105-10
Bowling: R Purser 10-2-48-2, J Keyworth 12-4-18-3, W Taylor 7-0-7-3, D Hilton 4.3-1-27-1
+ THE 3rds are next in action this coming Sunday in a re-arranged game at Crimble against local rivals Bamford Fieldhouse (2pm).
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