Most victories are built on a collective effort but perhaps none more so than Heywood’s triumph in the Tom Hardman T20 Finals Day on Sunday.
The day was splendidly hosted by Norden and a sizeable crowd was treated to three tense games of cricket in mostly good weather.
The Heywood team had come into finals day having won only one group game and scraping through a quarter final tie at Monton where the home professional missed the match as he was stuck in traffic. Such pieces of luck often make a difference in sport.
The first semi final saw Rochdale defeat the hosts in a low scoring game and book their place in the final later in the afternoon. It was then Walsden again standing before Heywood to join them in the final.
Having lost the toss Heywood took first knock and got off to a fast start with both Cross and Mason finding early boundaries. The good work was continued by Nicol and Pawson but the team were indebted to the initial patience, and then late clean striking, of Dale Latham who ended the innings with 47 not out.
A total of 141 was always going to make for an interesting chase and Walsden, despite losing Harkal first ball, showed positive intent through professional Karunaratne and skipper Nick Barker. However the Heywood bowlers stuck to their task and with four overs left another 32 runs were needed for victory.
Skipper Danny Pawson took two key wickets removing both set batsman and it came down to just 7 to win from the final over to be bowled by Andy Dawson. He responded to the pressure by clean bowling both Rushton and Shackleton with his first two deliveries and followed up by removing Josh Gale’s stumps with the fourth delivery.
Six needed of two balls and Dawson managed a priceless dot ball and when Howley could only find a boundary four off the final ball Heywood had clinched a final berth by one run!
Dawson finished with four wickets including three in the final over.
The final was played an hour later and this time the toss was won and again Heywood had first go on the wicket. This time Mason could not find the same start and went in the first over and with Nicol and Pawson soon following it was left to Cross and the middle order to rebuild the innings.
Progress was painfully slow at times with only 29 on the board after 8 overs but at least Heywood had a platform to launch an attack from. And so they did.
Wes Hunt batting at six scored 35 off just 22 balls with some sublime reverse sweeps off Lansdale in particular sticking in the memory. Cross, too, began to accelerate and was dismissed for 49 in the 19th over.
A lovely straight six from Sean Burrill and some good late scrambling from Simon Dawson and Joe Lovell took Heywood to a total of 124 with nearly 100 runs coming in the last 12 overs.
A good start was needed to defend the total and Simon Dawson obliged, removing Dom Ayres without scoring. A sharp chance behind went down off Lansdale before he had scored and this looked like it may prove costly as he and overseas Bend began to find the boundaries.
However, the introduction of the spin of Nicol and Lovell halted progress with the Heywood pro removing Bend and then taking two further wickets to finish his spell taking 3-10.
Lovell contributed perhaps the most telling blow when his first ball, a complete loosener, was dragged down and could have been hit anywhere. Rochdale pro Lansdale looked on in disbelief as he only managed to hit it straight to Sean Burrill at deep square and Heywood sensed they were on top.
Lovell finished with excellent figures of 2-14 and whilst Harling and O’Neill made a late fight of it the match came down to Rochdale needing 23 to win off Andy Dawson’s last over.
Once again he proved able to handle the pressure and conceded just four singles as Heywood picked up their first silverware since the 2013 Wood Cup victory. Cross was named man of the match for his rebuilding innings helping to set a defendable total.
It was a sweet moment for Danny Pawson in his second year as captain to lift the trophy and it is noticeable how well he leads his young side and how well they responded to the pressure of the big occasion.
It was a great day superbly hosted and all eleven players played their part over the two matches.
Heywood probably came into the day as outsiders but T20 is a funny old game and the lads thoroughly earned their celebrations later in the evening.
TWENTY20 CUP SEMI-FINAL
R Cross c Joe Gale b Shackleton 14
L Mason c and b Joe Gale 16
R Nicol run out 13
D Pawson b Joe Gale b N Barker 28
D Latham not out 47
W Hunt c N Barker b Shackleton 9
S Burrill lbw b Joe Gale 1
A Dawson b Joe Gale 10
J Lovell not out 1
Total (for 7 wkts, 20 overs) 141
Fall of wickets: 18-1, 40-2, 43-3, 92-4, 108-5, 112-6, 128-7
Bowling: J Shackleton 4-0-26-2, S Barker 3-0-28-0, Josh Gale 3-0-16-0, Joe Gale 4-1-16-3, U Kararunaratne 4-0-31-0, J Hooson 1-0-13-0, N Barker 1-0-9-1
J Hooson c Cross b S Dawson 10
S Harkal b A Dawson 0
U Karunaratne c Cross b Pawson 46
Joe Gale c Latham b Lovell 5
N Barker c Cross b Pawson 52
C Rushton b A Dawson 8
Josh Gale b A Dawson 5
J Shackleton b A Dawson 0
S Barker not out 1
D Howley not out 4
Total (for 8 wickets, 20 overs) 140
Fall of wickets: 6-1, 13-2, 41-3, 114-4, 128-5, 135-6, 135-7, 136-8
Bowling: S Dawson 4-0-20-1, A Dawson 4-0-33-4, D Pawson 4-0-23-2, R Nicol 4-0-27-0, J Lovell 4-0-32-1
TWENTY 20 CUP FINAL
R Cross c Landsdale b W Avery 49
L Mason c Landsdale b T Avery 0
R Nicol c O’Neill b T Avery 2
D Pawson b T Avery 4
D Latham st O’Neill b W Avery 11
W Hunt st O’Neill b Highton 35
S Burrill c O’Neill b W Avery 7
A Dawson b W Avery 0
J Lovell not out 7
Total (for 7 wkts, 20 overs) 124
Fall of wickets: 1-1, 12-2, 22-3, 60-4, 105-5, 112-6, 112-7, 113-8
Bowling: T Avery 4-1-10-3, M Harling 4-0-38-0, D Highton 4-0-23-1, W Landsdale 4-0-24-0, W Avery 4-4-0-28-4
D Ayres c Burrill b S Dawson 0
W Landsdale c Burrill b Lovell 20
M Bend b Nicol 19
T Avery c Pawson b Lovell 10
K Ahmed b Nicol 5
J Avery lbw b Nicol 2
M Harling b Pawson 17
D Faulkner c Hunt b Pawson 3
J O’Neill not out 13
D Highton c and b Pawson 8
W Avery not out 2
Total (for 9 wkts, 20 overs) 106
Fall of wickets: 0-1, 45-2, 45-3, 56-4, 62-5, 62-6, 69-7, 91-8, 102-9
Bowling: S Dawson 4-0-28-1, A Dawson 4-0-24-0, D Pawson 4-0-30-3, R Nicol 4-0-10-3, J Lovell 4-1-14-2
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- Mason Shows True Form, But Dale Target Too Tough For Heywood
- Heywood Batting Woes As They Crumble At Crimble
- JW LEES WOOD CUP: Cross And Dawson In As Heywood Need 39 To Win
- Top Order Fails As Kaye And Lovell’s Super Spells Go Unrewarded
- Kaye Leads Way As Heywood Turn In Great Performance In Field
- JW LEES WOOD CUP: Cross Leads Heywood Home
- Heywood Surrender Promising Position To Lose In T20 Thriller At Clifton
- Pitch-perfect Pawson Leads Team To Superb Redbrook Victory