A DOMINANT display saw Heywood march into the group area final of the Royal London National Club Championship.
A decisive seven-wicket defeat of Walsden was punctuated by only one 20-minute period of nervousness in their run chase, after toppling their former Central Lancashire League rivals for 112.
Bobby Cross and Andy Kerr had seen Heywood off to a fluent start in a stand of 24 before the former edged Stevie Barker to wicketkeeper Matt Dawson, and Kerr was adjudged lbw to the impressive Jamie Shackleton without further addition.
And when Jack Morley, again promoted to No 3 in the order, became another lbw victim – this time to Barker – for the addition of only a further four runs there were some alarm bells ringing.
But skipper Danny Pawson came in to join professional Travis Townsend, and, after playing a missing a few times, the duo eventually got on top of the Walsden attack.
They stuck to their task to such effect that they soon started scoring freely and put together an unbroken stand of 85 to ensure victory with more than 20 overs to spare.
Pawson’s contribution of 47 took his batting average for the season past the 100 mark and his awesome form has been well documented.
But Townsend has played a vital role in the team’s resurgence this season, too, and his latest offering of 35 underlined his value to the side.
His last eight innings have produced 285 runs with five unbeaten contributions in that spell, and the local fans were again impressed in this latest Cup win with his application in battling his way through a difficult early period.
He has also made vital contributions in the field, particularly with his terrific slip fielding underlined by three more victims on this occasion.
Slick catches accounted for Walsden openers Josh Gale and Matt Dawson, and a third saw off Joe Gale later in the piece, as the Heywood attack – well led by the Dawson brothers – took a stranglehold on the tie.
Jack Morley also made a decisive contribution, trapping the dangerous James Rawlinson lbw with his first ball and forcing Stevie Barker to play on with the last delivery of the same over.
Pawson and Kate Cross made sure that the pressure was never relaxed and at 47-7 Walsden looked in danger of being toppled for little more than 50.
But the experienced Stuart Hanson came in to join his son Cameron and the family duo, helped by an inexplicable couple of simple dropped catches, gave their side a fighting chance.
Hanson Jnr was the aggressor and the duo put together a partnership of 26 before Kate Cross had Hanson Snr stumped by brother Bobby.
The younger Hanson continued to play freely and was last out for a fine 40, the last of three wickets for Andy Dawson, as he and Pawson finally polished off the tail.
M Dawson c Townsend b Pawson 18
Josh Gale c Townsend b A Dawson 0
N Barker lbw b S Dawson 8
J Rawlinson lbw b Morley 9
C Hansen c Grogan b A Dawson 40
S Barker b Morley 0
Joe Gale c Townsend b Pawson 0
A Colclough b Pawson 1
S Hansen st R Cross b K Cross 13
D Howley c Kerr b A Dawson 7
J Shackleton not out 7
Total (43.4 overs) 112
Fall of wickets: 1-3, 2-17, 3-38, 4-38, 5-38, 6-43, 7-47, 8-73, 9-104, 10-112
Bowling: S Dawson 9-1-19-1, A Dawson 8.4-1-22-3, D Pawson 8-2-24-3, J Morley 9-4-22-2, K Cross 9-1-24-1
R Cross c M Dawson b S Barker 8
A Kerr lbw b Shackleton 13
J Morley lbw b S Barker 2
T Townsend not out 35
D Pawson not out 47
Total (for 3 wkts, 24.4 overs) 113
Fall of wickets: 1-24, 2-24, 3-28
Bowling: J Shackleton 9-2-31-1, S Barker 6-2-23-2, Josh Gale 4-0-19-0, N Barker 3.4-1-19-0, Joe Gale 2-0-20-0
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