Heywood skipper Bobby Cross has a most welcome dilemma when facing Middleton in the CLL season opener.
It was thought that Cross may well drop himself down the order this season, to accommodate swashbuckling Andy Dawson in the opening spot alongside young Ross Zelem.
And with Danny Pawson and Travis Townsend dead certs for the top four, where else could Cross bat, except number five, if Dawson opens the batting, as many at the club believe he should if he is in the side?
There is no doubt this would be an enormous waste of talent in one respect, although it would encourage another talented player to show his skills at the top of the order. Cross has been the leading English amateur on six occasions in the CLL, an amazing achievement.
On the evidence of today’s abandoned friendly at home to Enfield, it’s equally difficult to see where else Cross can bat except at the top of the order. He was simply majestic against what was, in all fairness, a weakened Enfield side, smacking 101 out of his side’s rain-halted 201-3 off 35 overs.
Cross hit the ball to all corners of Crimble, including straight sixes and meaty biffs through the leg side. As his innings progressed he played a shot a ball, understanding that if he was out there was time for another player to bat but at the same time entertaining the Crimble faithful.
He was well supported in an opening partnership of 119 with young Humza Naeem, who batted well for 33 and showed that he will be useful if needed down the order this season.
There was time for our first glimpse this season of pro Townsend, who looked assured for his 33 before being stumped, and a brief innings from Pawson before the rain ended proceedings early.
It’s now on to Towncroft tomorrow (Sunday) for a poignant match against a Middleton side who have been tragically shorn of one of Heywood’s brightest young talents.
The Moonrakers have, of course, lost Tom Hardman from their ranks, a big blow in cricketing terms but an immeasurable loss in every other way. It will be a sad day for all concerned, but somehow fitting that both sides should clash in the first match since Tom’s death.
Middleton are also without Dale Highton, who is now at Rochdale, and Zafar Zaman, who has retired. They will still be a stern test, however.
Looking forward to the match, Cross said: “Middleton is a great place to start and we had a good result there last year.
“Middleton are traditionally very tough opposition and despite losing Dale Highton I am sure they will still be very competitive.
“Clearly the game will be tinged with sadness given the loss of Tom Hardman and we are looking forward to this being the opening game of an annual trophy that the two clubs will play for over the four league games.
“It will be a fitting tribute that both clubs will be fielding strong sides filled with young local players.”
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- Cross And Top Order In Hunt For Runs As Werneth Await
- Heywood Make Heavy Work Of Beating Enfield
- Dawson Leads Way To Another Win But Bowlers And Fielders Set The Tone
- Heywood Lose Out In Last Over Thriller @ Middleton
- Heywood CC v Enfield: Updates
- Strong And Youthful Side To Face Lancashire Under-19s
- Early Friendly For Heywood CC
- Travis Turns On The Style As Middleton Are Humbled