Heywood CC skipper Danny Pawson believes Sunday’s superb Tommy Hardman CLL T20 Finals’ Day triumph is a “sign of things to come” for the club.
Heywood saw off a powerful Walsden side in a last-over thriller at Woodhouse Lane in the semi-final to win by one run, then turned in a superb all-round performance in the final to beat Rochdale by 18 runs.
The day was notable for performances from all players, including a three-wicket, last over burst from Andy Dawson to snatch victory in the defeat of Walsden, and a superb display of placement from Wes Hunt to help Heywood set a target they could defend in the final.
Some excellent slow bowling from pro Rob Nicol and Joe Lovell, a brilliant innings from Dale Latham, committed fielding, bowling and batting from everyone in the side and the steadying influence in the final of former skipper Bobby Cross – along with Pawson’s blossoming captaincy and increasingly impressive seamers – were too much for their local rivals.
With Heywood departing the Central Lancashire League for the Greater Manchester Cricket League in 2016, and the club celebrating it’s 150th anniversary this year, victory for a youthful and largely homegrown team is as sweet as anything the club has achieved in the past 15 hugely successful years.
A delighted Pawson said: “We just tried to keep it simple, we tried to set fields to where we wanted the ball to be hit and minimise boundaries, but this is a lot easier of course when you have runs on the board – hopefully this a sign of things to come in the future.
“We are a young squad and if we stay together there is a lot of potential to be a great side for a long time. We are all obviously looking forward to next season and starting afresh in the GMCL.
“But I tell the boys every week that there is still a lot of cricket to be played. We are just taking each game as it comes and hopefully this will now give us the momentum to push on and secure a top five spot.”
While Pawson has never been one to single out his own performances, there is no doubt he is growing into the captaincy role. He endured an, at times, difficult first season with a number of different professionals making life difficult.
But Nicol has been a positive influence, and handing over the gloves to Dale Latham has allowed him to be more pro-active and more observant in the field.
Pawson’s growing comfort in the role is evident for all to see, manifesting itself not only in on-the-field authority but also in confidence he shows around the club on matchdays, and his awareness of what a good attitude and winning mentality brings to the club and supporters.
So victory was extremely sweet for him.
He continued: “This win obviously meant a lot, with it being the first as captain.
“I was just extremely proud of the boys with the performances that everyone put in yesterday in both games – I think we were written off by a lot of people to not even get through the semi.
“But it’s a strange game cricket and T20 in particular is even stranger.
“It’s good to bring something home for the club in the 150th year and its last in the CLL.”
Results (report and full scorecards to come):
Semi final: Heywood 141-7 (Latham 47 not out) Walsden 140-8 (A Dawson 4-33)
Final: Heywood 124-7 (Cross 49, Hunt, 35) Rochdale 106-9 (Nicol 3-10, Pawson 3-30, Lovell, 2-14)
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