Apr 182012

In fine fettle: Rob Slawson in action against Milnrow

HEYWOOD Cricket Club will be aiming to build on a perfect start to the season this weekend.

The club’s first, second and third teams all scored convincing victories in their opening skirmishes, and have their sights set on an encore on Sunday.

The first team go to Werneth for their second game of the new Central Lancashire season, while the second XI entertain the Oldham area side at Crimble (1pm).

The third team, meanwhile, are at Brooksbottom for their second group game in the Manchester Association’’s Frank Bailey Trophy (1.30).

The treble boost continued the feel-good factor following the pre-season momentum gathered on groundbreaking NatWest CricketForce day.

And the club could be forgiven for thinking that they have made a shrewd signing in new professional Travis Townsend.

The 26-year-old South African batted grittily to play his part in Heywood’’s 149-9 against Milnrow, but it was his skiddy, medium-pace seam bowling that was a revelation as he claimed 5-7 from seven overs.

Skipper Bobby Cross said: “ “He bowled really well and our seam attack now looks healthy.””

Cross and his men will be looking to follow up at Werneth, who slipped to a disappointing defeat at last year’’s wooden spoonists Ashton on the opening day.

Werneth are led by the CLL’’s youngest skipper in 20-year-old Matthew Taylor, and have a dangerous big-hitting professional in Hasnain Abbas, so the visitors will not be taking anything for granted.

Missing from the Heywood ranks will be Chris Kaye, the 42-year-old left-arm spinner who is in the form of his life as he closes in on David Fare’’s all-time record aggregate of 789 victims for the club.

Two more scalps for Kaye against Milnrow lifted his total to 726, but he takes an early season holiday on this occasion to let in 19-year-old Dale Latham, – who made an unbeaten 57 in the second team’’s six-wicket win at Milnrow.

Heywood will be looking for their top order to fire after not really getting going in two pre-season friendlies against Bury and Enfield, plus the Milnrow CLL opener.

They had to rely on Hamish Paterson and Rob Slawson to forge a ninth-wicket stand of 42 to pave the way to a respectable total of 149-9 against Milnrow, and Cross reflected: “ “It shows that we bat right the way down the order these days.

“Hamish and Rob completely changed the course of the game. The innings had not really gone anywhere after the first few overs, and they were the only two who showed some positive intent with the bat.

“It’’s true that our top order does need to get going but I think that will take care of itself as the wickets get better.””

Weekend teams

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