THREE victories in succession, seventh place in the table, and yet Heywood are still not immune from relegation from the Greater Manchester Premier League!
A six-wicket defeat of Edgworth at Crimble was virtually as routine as it sounds and leaves the visitors virtually doomed to the drop.
Denton West are already relegated and, with Greenmount 10 points adrift of fourth bottom place, it leaves those two sides also hot favourites to go down.
But four teams will take the drop and the final place looks to be between Denton St Lawrence on 50 points, Egerton 51, Heywood 52 and Woodhouses 53.
So it’s still all to play for with three games of the season left, and Heywood entertain St Lawrence this coming Saturday for what is obviously a crunch game.
Their last two fixtures are at Denton West on September 8 and at home to Clifton on September 15.
Edgworth looked capable of posting a competitive total at Crimble, despite the early run-out of overseas amateur Phil Thompson, when they reached 49-1 with almost 31 overs left.
But once opening bowlers Tom McQuinn and Simon Dawson were rested after probing spells without any luck, to be replaced by Danny Pawson and Travis Townsend, the picture changed quickly.
Pawson had Jamie Smith claimed at slip then saw Dave Gornall slice a catch to Sean Burrill at point, and the visitors did not help themselves when Summit Panda became a second run-out victim.
Josh Fallows played on to a slower ball by Townsend and when Adam Syddall was a third run-out casualty it was 79-6 and the visitors faced the prospect of subsiding for less than three figures.
So it proved with Pawson completing a four-wicket haul by yorking top scorer Liam Watkinson for 16 and forcing last man John Gosling to play on, with Townsend cleaning up George Holliday and Adam Hulston in between.
Pawson finished with 4-40, Townsend claimed 3-17, and an Edgworth total of 99 did not look too challenging for Heywood. So it proved despite one brief period of alarm.
Bobby Cross and Andy Kerr put on 26 smoothly for the first wicket, so it was a surprise when the former on 20 drilled a hard-hit drive straight to Gosling at mid-off.
Skipper Townsend looked similarly secure only to also fall for 20 in almost identical fashion to a catch by Gosling, who had switched to mid-on. Then three balls later 67-2 became 67-3 as an attempted drive by Pawson saw him edge a catch to slip.
Kerr, meanwhile, was looking untroubled at the other end and took control for the rest of the innings.
Burrill helped him add 23 for the fourth wicket until playing on to Syddall before Riley Paterson joined Kerr, the latter sealing the victory with two smooth on-drives.
His unbeaten 40 came off 66 balls, underlining his calming influence at the top of the batting order and making sure that Heywood maintained their momentum.
P Thompson run out 8
J S Smith c Cross b Pawson 25
D Gornall c Burrill b Pawson 13
L Watkinson b Pawson 16
S Panda run out 9
J Fallows b Townsend 5
G Haynes not out 6
A Syddall run out 5
G Halliday lbw b Townsend 0
A Hulston b Townsend 0
J Gosling b Pawson 0
Total (38.5 overs) 99
Fall of wickets: 1-17, 2-49, 3-50, 4-63, 5-72, 6-79, 7-85, 8-93, 9-98, 10-99
Bowling: T McQuinn 8-3-18-0, S Dawson 9-2-17-0, D Pawson 11.5-3-40-4, T Townsend 10-2-17-3
R Cross c Gosling b Watkinson 20
A Kerr not out 40
T Townsend c Gosling b Fallows 20
D Pawson c Panda b Fallows 0
S Burrill b Syddall 6
R Paterson not out 1
Total (for 4 wkts, 24.4 overs) 100
Fall of wickets: 1-26, 2-67, 3-67, 4-90
Bowling: L Watkinson 6-1-24-1, A Syddall 10-1-29-1, J Fallows 6.4-1-31-2, D Gornall 2-0-10-0
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