When it comes to leading from the front, no one does it better than Heywood skipper Bobby Cross.
Cross was in sensational form for his side in Saturday’s crushing eight-wicket defeat of Monton and Weaste at Crimble. His unbeaten, match-winning 122 was his 16th century for Heywood and if he has played many better innings than this then those who witnessed them have been very lucky indeed.
He and wicket-keeper Danny Pawson – displaying the sort of calm and patience we have all be crying out for – put on an unbeaten 185 for the third wicket to chase down a rain-reduced target of 214, after Monton had scored 227 off their 50 overs. Pawson finished on an excellent 65.
On the best wicket seen at Crimble all season, a testament to the efforts of the club’s excellent groundstaff, Monton unsurprisingly won the toss, elected to bat – and made a lightning start.
Overseas amateur Cameron Murray and pro Paul Green weighed into a wayward Heywood opening attack, relishing the even pace and bounce.
Both played shots all around the wicket until Murray, inexplicably, smashed Curtis Maguire to Ross Zelem at long-off with huge gaps all over the field when he was on 41 and the score 75 in just the 14th over. It proved to be the major reason why Monton didn’t post a bigger score.
From here, the Heywood attack managed to rein things in a little, despite Green’s patient 58 and decent knocks from Ben Chapman and Chris Hindle.
Off-spinners Rob Slawson and Joe Lovell picked up three wickets apiece and despite the last seven overs yielding 44 runs, consensus among many – including umpire John Holder – was that Monton were 40 runs short of what they really needed on 227 all out.
Not that it looked to be a problem in the first over when Ross Zelem – usually so solid at the top – was undone by the accurate medium pace of Dominic Gavin. And it looked to be an even better target when pro Travis Townsend played on to Gavin with the score on 29, who has been a thorn in Heywood’s side this season and last.
But Cross was not to be fazed by these early blows. He and Pawson settled down and started to put pressure on the visiting fielders, turning ones into twos and picking the gaps at any opportunity,
Cross found a liking for the delicate back cut off Gavin, but when one gap was plugged he played earlier or later, according to the field setting, to continuously find space.
Both he and Pawson didn’t miss out on fours either, Cross looking imperious through extra-cover and Pawson playing some sublime strokes straight down the ground.
One of the key moments came when Pawson moved down the track and hit Gavin over long-on for four, which forced the bowler to change his line and length and eventually led to his removal from the attack, but not before Cross had pulled him for six.
A couple of rain delays brought into force the CLL’s ludicrous rain rules – which take absolutely no notice of wickets lost nor momentum – and Heywood could have been behind the run rate if the game had been stopped.
But the clouds cleared, and Heywood fans were treated to some more wonderful play from Cross and Pawson as they brought up their century and half-century respectively.
The pair were too good for anything Monton could throw at them and they deservedly saw Heywood home, walking off to admiring applause.
For the stattos, Cross brought up his century off 116 balls, with six fours and one six (two fours all run). His 122 not out took 129 balls in total and included 10 fours. Pawson’s 50 came off 70 balls and in total he hit six fours.
It was great entertainment for the crowd, and Monton played their part. It was also good to see Monton fielded a team of young lads, which bodes well for their future.
MONTON AND WEASTE
C Murray c Zelem b Maguire 41
P Green lbw b Paterson 58
J Lenihan c Townsend b Maguire 15
B Chapman lbw b Slawson 37
C Hindle c Zelem b Slawson 34
J Sandham c Cross b Lovell 0
A Nawaz c Pawson b Lovell 11
D Collins b Lovell 9
A Riaz c Cross b Slawson 1
T Coe not out 2
D Gavin run out 1
Total (49.5 overs) 227
Fall of wickets: 1-75, 2-109, 3-133, 4-180, 5-181, 6-211, 7-221, 8-224, 9-224, 10-227
Bowling: Paterson 8-1-30-1, Naeem 4-0-24-0, Kaye 10-2-36-0, Maguire 11-1-43-2, Slawson 9.5-0-60-3, Lovell 7-0-31-3
R Cross not out 122
R Zelem b Gavin 0
T Townsend b Gavin 9
D Pawson not out 65
Total (for 2 wkts, 40.3 overs) 214
Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-29
Bowling: Gavin 12-1-45-2, Green 6-0-24-0, Collins 7-0-34-0, Riaz 4-0-21-0, Sandham 7-0-40-0, Chapman 4-0-32-0, Nawaz 3-0-7-0
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- Pitch-Perfect Cross Makes Another Piece Of Crimble History (I Think)
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