BY STEVE MCHUGH: DID they win it or did we lose it?
The facts show that Prestwich scored a five-run victory over Heywood at The Heys in the fourth Greater Manchester Premier League match of the season.
But the visitors came away still wondering how they failed to capitalise on winning positions of 132-0 and 161-1 chasing Prestwich’s imposing target of 241-4 from their 50 overs.
Riley Paterson and Andy Kerr put together an opening stand of 132 for the first wicket before Paterson mistimed a chip to square leg and fell for an admirable 47 towards the end of the 29th over.
Another 110 needed off 21 overs with nine wickets in hand. A doddle on paper.
And particularly when Andy Dawson, promoted to No 3 in the order, joined Kerr in a 29-run stand. But that’s when the wheels started to come off.
Kerr, whose 88 had come from 85 balls and featured three successive sixes off Nathan Bailey’s first three deliveries, had looked in such control that it came as a shock when he wandered across his stumps and was lbw to Andy Bradley.
The next ball saw the previously assured Dawson fall for 14 to Ryan Stanbury, who had earlier in the piece made a savage century to maul the Heywood attack, hooking the bowler to the deep backward square leg boundary where Lee Dale took a fine catch.
Now 161-3 and Prestwich were sensing their chance. But no need to get alarmed for Heywood, with Bobby Cross and Danny Pawson held in reserve to finish off the job. Or so we thought.
Cross went 10 runs later, caught behind off Bradley from a faint edge to Jonathon Wharmby. Then when Pawson – after smashing a big six – holed out to deep mid-on it was 190-5 and game on.
And, in truth, Heywood never halted the slide. Sean Burrill and Jack Morley fell cheaply trying to hit out as the run rate escalated, and it was left to 16-year-old Mikey Witts to revive Heywood’s hopes with an aggressive 14 from 12 balls.
At the other end, professional Travis Townsend was trying to anchor Heywood to their target but could never really find the necessary impetus and fell for 27 to the last ball of the match trying to hit a six for victory.
Earlier, Stanbury had been the star of the show with an impressive display of clean hitting in a destructive fifth-wicket stand with Mike Hudson to make sure that the home side posted their lofty target.
The Heywood attack had toiled manfully with only classy opener Wharmby really dominating with a cultured 81. So, like Kerr later, it was a shock to the spectators and the player himself when he tamely cut the third bowl from Paterson – bowling off-spin – to Kerr at backward point.
That only brought in Hudson to join Stanbury and they dovetailed perfectly in their partnership of 111 off 81 balls.
Hudson carried out his role to the letter with 23, giving his partner as much of the strike as possible, and Stanbury came up with a terrific display of power hitting.
He smashed five substantial sixes – including probably one of the biggest ever seen on the ground, which saw the ball land on the full in a garden up the steep hill some 40 yards past the boundary edge – and fully deserved to complete his century off the last ball of the innings.
There were plus points for Heywood. Townsend’s first bowl of the season yielded a parsimonious spell of 1-13 from nine overs, and Kerr’s opening century partnership with Paterson grew in authority as it progressed.
But it was eventually a game that Heywood may wonder how they let the points slip away.
J Wharmby c Kerr b Paterson 81
L Dale b McQuinn 0
M Walters c R Cross b Townsend 14
S Holden run out 8
R Stanbury not out 100
M Hudson not out 23
Total (for 4 wkts, 50 overs) 241
Fall of wkts: 1-20, 2-59, 3-91, 4-130.
Bowling: T McQuinn 11-2-82-1, D Pawson 11-0-49-0, T Townsend 9-2-13-1, J Morley 12-2-50-0, K Cross 4-0-24-0, R Paterson 3-0-22-1
R Paterson c Scott b Bradley 47
A Kerr lbw b Bradley 88
A Dawson c Dale b Stanbury 14
R Cross c Wharmby b Bradley 5
D Pawson c Taylor b Stanbury 17
T Townsend c Bradley b Holden 27
S Burrill b Stanbury 4
J Morley c Walters b Bailey 4
M Witts not out 4
Total (for 8 wkts, 50 overs) 236
Fall of wickets: 1-132, 2-161, 3-161, 4-170, 5-190, 6-203, 7-208, 8-236
Bowling: R Stanbury 15-2-56-3, A Bradley 15-2-53-3, N Bailey 6-0-51-1, S Holden 6-0-33-1, M Walters 3-0-16-0, T Scott 5-0-24-0
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