A WELL-DRILLED Denton St Lawrence team sent Heywood tumbling out of the Derek Kay 1st X1 Cup at the quarter-final stage.
Heywood were always on the back foot after being reduced to 8-3 after only 20 minutes play – and, on reflection, it was the decisive phase of the game.
They eventually reached 133, a total that many suspected would not be enough to challenge a side riding high in the Greater Manchester Premier League.
And so it proved as the Saints coasted through by five wickets – two of those falling in their penultimate over – to deservedly reach the last four.
The first few moments of the match certainly stunned the home supporters.
Andy Kerr, who had made a century at Greenmount the previous day, went lbw to the second ball of the day from the impressive Scott Kirwin.
Wes Hunt, given a chance to open the innings again after also doing well at Greenmount, went stumped down the legside to the first ball of the second over.
Then eight runs later Bobby Cross attempted a trademark onside punch only for the ball to appear to grip in the wicket and balloon to mid-on.
To their credit, the rest of the batting line-up gritted its teeth, led by skipper Danny Pawson and professional Travis Townsend.
They put together a recovery stand of 44, led by a series of sizzling boundaries by Pawson, before Townsend was trapped lbw by Jordan Williams for 12. And from then on the innings became a survival test.
Pawson eventually went caught behind off Williams for 31 to make it 65-5, and it was left to Andy Dawson to anchor the tailend of the Heywood innings and provide something for the home attack to work with.
Sean Burrill, Mikey Witts, Mikey Grogan and Simon Dawson also chipped in with useful contributions, but once Andy was seventh man out for 28 with the total 107 the end was nigh – even though Heywood did scramble another 26 runs.
The home side needed an early boost in the field and it came from the 15-year-old Cabhan Hilton, given a chance to open the attack.
He responded in fine style claiming the first two wickets, having Mark Dillnutt caught in the deep and Adam Hawley well taken by Burrill at cover.
But once Kirwin stepped to the wicket to join Sri Lankan professional Lahiru Jakakody the odds swung quickly in favour of the visitors.
The duo put together a stand of 73 before Jakakody was stumped by Cross from the off-spin of Townsend, only for Kirwin to see it through to the end with an unbeaten 72.
He lost Matt Hawley and Kyle O’Reilly to successive balls from Andy Dawson. But by then only three runs were left for the formality of victory which was duly achieved in the next over.
Heywood can take solace from the grit shown by the middle and lower batting order, and certainly the promise shown by the emerging talent of Hilton, who finshed with the fine figures of 2-19 from his five overs.
But they now know the consistent standard they need to aspire to if they find themselves back in the Premier League in 2018.
A Kerr lbw b Kirwin 0
W Hunt st Dillnutt b Jakakody 0
R Cross c Johnson b Jakakody 1
T Townsend lbw b Williams 12
D Pawson c Dillnutt b Williams 31
S Burrill lbw b Williams 10
A Dawson c A Hawley b Roche 28
M Witts b Kirwin 5
M Grogan c Johnson b Williams 10
S Dawson lbw b Roche 12
C Hilton not out 0
Total (45.3 overs) 133
Fall of wickets: 0-1, 0-2, 3-8, 4-52, 5-65, 6-84, 7-103, 8-107, 9-130, 10-133
Bowling: S Kirwin 10-5-23-2, L Jayakody 10-4-28-2, B Tighe 6-1-16-0, J Williams 8.3-0-24-4, K O’Reilly 4-0-15-0, C Roche 7-1-19-2
DENTON ST LAWRENCE
A Hawley c Burrill b Hilton 7
M Dillnutt c Hunt b Hilton 6
L Jakakody st Cross b Johnson 19
S Kirwin not out 72
M Hawley lbw b A Dawson 6
K O’Reilly lbw b A Dawson 0
L Parkinson not out 4
Total (for 5 wkts, 33.2 overs) 136
Fall of wickets: 1-22, 2-25, 3-98, 4-131, 5-131
Bowling: S Dawson 7-0-28-0, C Hilton 5-2-19-2, D Pawson 5-0-24-0, T Townsend 10-2-50-1, A Dawson 6-4-6-2, W Hunt 0.2-0-5-0
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