A MASTERFUL unbeaten century by a stand-in professional whose main day job is with neighbours Rochdale consigned Heywood to an eight-wicket defeat by a team recording their first Greater Manchester League points of the season.
The visit of Denton West looked a good opportunity for the Crimble club to make progress in their bid for respectability in the Premier table.
But Ed Moore, the South African who has announced his talent as professional with Rochdale in the Lancashire League this season, obviously hadn’t read the script.
His first contribution was with the ball as his off-spin produced three quick wickets and saw Heywood totter from 41-1 to 48-4.
Yet all looked well for the home side when an accomplished fifth-wicket rescue act of 140 between professional Travis Townsend, 73, and Riley Paterson, 59, inspired the team to 204-8 from their 50 overs.
And particularly when Tom McQuinn trapped fellow overseas amateur Chris Stevenson to leave West on 2-1 and looking like having a mountain to climb.
However, that only brought in Moore who, after a careful start, transformed the face of the game assisted by a battling contribution from opener Dale Pennington.
The duo had their moments, of course, but Moore grew in authority as the overs went by and never panicked despite the asking rate gradually creeping up.
He played with authority and assuredness the longer he was at the crease, and, by the time Pennington was caught behind by Wes Hunt off Jack Morley for 33 made off 137 balls, the visitors had wrestled control at 148-2 in the 39th over.
Moore was by now revealing his considerable attacking talents after surviving his only real blemish on 90 when seeing Morley fail to hold on to a caught and bowled chance at 137-1.
And he found another willing ally in Mike Berry, with the duo putting together an unbroken third-wicket stand of 59 from just 42 balls as the jubilant visitors sprinted to victory.
Moore ended on 135 from just 117 balls, and no-one could begrudge him a standing ovation for one of the optimum individual contributions seen at Crimble in recent times.
So did Heywood under-estimate opponents who entered the game already looking doomed to relegation?
They could look to an attack that seemed to lack a real cutting edge, but that was probably down to the way Moore diligently constructed his innings.
With the bat, Heywood would have been satisfied with a total beyond 200 which is not often chased down by visiting teams, never mind one lacking confidence.
The highlight after quickly losing those three quick wickets to Moore was the stand between Townsend and Paterson, who naturally showed initial caution before blooming towards the end of the innings.
Townsend’s 73 came off 113 balls with seven boundaries and a six; Paterson’s 59 was made from 100 balls with four boundaries.
It probably left most of the crowd basking in sunshine anticipating a home victory. But they hadn’t reckoned with Moore.
R Cross b L Kilburn 4
A Kerr b Moore 23
J Morley c Berry b Moore 15
D Pawson b Moore 0
T Townsend b Lowndes 73
R Paterson c Melling b Stevenson 59
S Burrill run out 2
W Hunt c Berry b Lowndes 3
D Latham not out 8
T McQuinn not out 2
Total (for 8 wkts, 50 overs) 204
Fall of wickets: 1-16, 2-41, 3-41, 4-48, 5-188, 6-191, 7-191, 8-196
Bowling: B Lowndes 12-1-54-2, L Kilburn 7-0-30-1, E Moore 15-2-49-3, C Stevenson 13-1-47-1, M Berry 3-0-20-0
D Pennington c Hunt b Morley 33
C Stevenson lbw b McQuinn 0
E Moore not out 135
M Berry not out 24
Total (for 2 wkts, 46.2 overs) 207
Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-148
Bowling: T McQuinn 10-3-21-1, D Pawson 10.2-2-46-0, T Townsend 7-0-25-0, J Morley 14-0-70-1, K Cross 3-0-24-0, R Paterson 2-0-14-0
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