Bobby Cross powered back into top form to lead his side to a comfortable victory over Middleton at Crimble.
Coming in first down after a blistering start from Andy Dawson, Cross took time to establish himself alongside Ross Zelem, then played beautifully late on as wickets fell to ensure Heywood posted the total they should have.
He finished on a brilliant 97 that set Heywood up for a score of 247-9 that was beyond what Middleton were capable of chasing.
Heywood’s innings got off to a superb start with Dawson continuing to impress in his role as a shot-making opener.
The big-hitter smashed a shell-shocked Midd opening attack all around Crimble for the four overs he was in, hitting some big sixes before he was run out badly when going for a fourth that was definitely on but which Zelem, at the other end, was just not aware of. Dawson fell for an excellent 30 with the score on 37 in the fourth over.
To Zelem’s credit, he quickly put this mix up behind him and started to play some lovely shots straight down the ground to give Cross time to bed himself in.
And when he brought up an excellent 50, it looked as though he was in to stay. But, sadly, he was stumped when trying to hit Ashar Zaidi, Middleton’s deputy pro, down the ground for 61 with the score on 114.
Pro Travis Townsend played a rare loose shot to be caught behind off Mark Buckley for 2, and then Danny Pawson, looking so comfortable as usual, edged one behind off Zaidi on 18.
With George Walker bowling straight and aggressively from the Lake End, the new batsmen were given a tough time and Dale Latham, Simon Dawson and Riley Paterson all went cheaply.
All the time, Cross was looking better and better and in Wes Hunt found a player willing to graft. Although it was not Hunt at his most fluent, he is too good to be batting at number nine and he scored a crucial 13 as Heywood lifted themselves from 173-7 to 203-8.
Cross then put his foot on the accelerator, and in the final over took 15 runs off Walker, including a huge six over midwicket and out of the ground, to finish on a brilliant 97, much to the delight of the Heywood faithful who are always pleased when their skipper scores runs.
Middleton were in a hole from the off as they attempted to chase Heywood’s big total as Paterson and Humza Naeem made the ball swing both ways. It looked as if, at times, they didn’t know which way it was going themselves.
The pair bowled fewer wides than of late and made the batsmen play regularly, so it was no surprise when Paterson bowled Walker with a beauty.
Naeem took the key wicket with a real gem of a delivery – Zaidi trapped lbw leaving a late inswinger that could have hit all three wickets half way up – and with it he took away Middleton’s hopes.
Grant Jones and Paul Bennett led a counter-attack and played some lovely shots, Jones in particular looking a real class act and never in trouble.
But two wickets apiece for Townsend, Chris Kaye – he is now six away from David Fare’s amateur record – and Simon Dawson late on, meant Middleton never threatened the Heywood target and were all out for 151.
With Walsden, Littleborough and Rochdale all winning, it was an important result for Cross’ men.
R Zelem st Stanworth b Zaidi 61
A Dawson run out 30
R Cross not out 97
T Townsend c Stanworth b Buckley 2
D Pawson c Stanworth b Zaidi 18
D Latham b Walker 1
S Dawson lbw b Zaidi 4
R Paterson b Walker 1
W Hunt c Stanworth b Zaidi 13
H Naeem c and b Zaidi 11
C Kaye not out 1
Total (for 9 wkts, 50 overs) 247
Fall of wickets: 1-37, 2-114, 3-117, 4-148, 5-155, 6-168, 7-173, 8-203, 9-231
Bowling: Holmes 10-2-33-0, Bennett 3-0-36-0, Buckley 11-0-50-1, Zaidi 15-1-69-5, Walker 11-2-59-2
S Stanworth c Townsend b Paterson 16
G Walker b Paterson 0
A Zaidi lbw b Naeem 4
G Jones b S Dawson 48
S Davey b Naeem 0
P Bennett lbw b Townsend 30
A Copeland c Paterson b Townsend 4
M Buckley c Naeem b Kaye 4
M Foden c Latham b Kaye 1
B Lee c Pawson b S Dawson 10
S Holmes not out 17
Total (39.5 overs) 151
Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-18, 3-22, 4-23, 5-92, 6-110, 7-117, 8-124, 9-124, 10-151
Bowling: Paterson 6-0-41-2, Naeem 7-2-21-2, Kaye 14-2-34-2, Townsend 9-1-36-2, S Dawson 3.5-1-19-2
- Heywood Ruthless In Demolition Of Ailing Moonrakers
- Dawson Leads Way To Another Win But Bowlers And Fielders Set The Tone
- Heywood Lose Out In Last Over Thriller @ Middleton
- Travis Turns On The Style As Middleton Are Humbled
- Cross, Cross And Dawson A Shine In Towncroft Win
- Cross Masters Conditions, Then Townsend, Kaye Take Over
- Zelem Excels As All-Round Heywood Crush Middleton
- A Day To Forget For Heywood In Heavy Crimble Defeat
- Edmeades Brilliance In Vain As Zelem And Townsend Set Up Heywood Victory
- Townsend Turns On The Style, While Pawson Continues To Shine