Heywood seconds made it back-to-back victories with a well-deserved four-wicket defeat of Rochdale at Redbrook.
A fine all-round batting performance from Heywood was the key to victory, overhauling Rochdale’s target of 193 for the loss of six wickets and with six overs to go.
Sean Burrill and Matt Hood were the top scorers with 37 apiece, but again a key contribution came from Chris Booth, who was unbeaten on 27 to see Heywood home alongside third team skipper Rob Morley.
Earlier, Heywood had arrived at Redbrook to find that a monsoon appeared to have hit the ground overnight, so with the outfield saturated and the wicket very wet, Heywood won the toss and asked Rochdale to bat.
Rick Purser and James Mills bowled a very tight first 14 overs that saw Rochdale crawl to 21 – 1, having lost opener Ikbar to Purser.
The situation could have been worse with Dominic Ayres getting a let-off when he was dropped first ball of the game.
Sharp work from Matt Hood and Burrill accounted for the dangerous Kabir Ali being run out and while Purser kept a break on one end, Heywood were struggling to contain Rochdale from the other end after Mills had finished his spell.
However after 30 overs and with Rochdale only 71, few would have foreseen the onslaught that followed in the last 20 overs with Rochdale scoring at six an over.
Dom Fawcett removed the dangerous James O’Neill with the last ball of his spell and it was only a nagging returning spell from Mills – who picked up two wickets and also ran out two batsmen off his own bowling – that prevented Rochdale amassing an even larger total than the 193 – 8 they reached.
At tea, some Heywood supporters might have been tempted to wander over to the nearby ongoing Lacrosse Flag tournament to ask for a white flag for a Heywood batting line up that had proved brittle the week earlier and was missing its top scorer Ben Thulborn.
However, after a week in the nets the Heywood batsmen seemed rejuvenated and with Dawson and Hood positive in their approach with attacking strokeplay and good running between the wickets the 50 was brought up after 14 overs.
Rochdale appeared somewhat desperate for a wicket to the point where the previously injured Robin Jackson was introduced into the attack, bowling off-spin without a run up from a standing position.
This unconventional approach to bowling seemed to disturb Dawson who fell trying to play one shot too. But this led to Burrill arriving at the crease and he went on to play what proved the match-winning innings.
With Hood departing soon after for a well made 37 and Dom Fawcett – having looked settled – out caught behind the travelling support were fearing a wobble.
However, Burrill was now in his stride and joined by Adam Fawcett, who played some attacking shots through the offside, Heywood appeared in control.
Young Rochdale bowler Joe Pattison seemed to have other thoughts and picked up his second wicket when Fawcett was undone by a ball that stuck in the pitch.
Mikey Grogan played a rash shot to leave Heywood wobbling but this only resulted in the previous week’s match-winner Booth joining his pal Burrill at the crease.
The pair played with maturity, but with victory seeming all-but sealed Burrill then made a rare mistake and was caught trying to hit over the top.
As is the way with Heywood seconds, victory is never easy but with the assistance of Morley, Booth once again saw HCC home with six overs to spare.
A delighted captain Roger Smethurst said: “This was a real team performance, with Rick and Millsy excelling with the ball and then all the batsmen chipping in with solid innings from Hood, Fawcett, Burrill and Booth being the highlight.”
D Ayres st Burrill b Purser 22
H Ikbar b Purser 5
K Ahmed run out 4
J O’Neill c and b D Fawcett 38
M Mohammed run out 48
L Tomlinson c Burrill b Mills 2
M Munawar c Grogan b Mills 20
R Jackson run out 20
I Gilbertson not out 9
A Shah not out 5
Total (for 8 wkts, 50 overs) 193
Fall of wickets: 1-16, 2-20, 3-50, 4-105, 5-123, 6-149, 7-162, 8-186
Bowling: Purser 15-8-19-2, Mills 14-1-52-2, S Dawson 11-1-69-0, D Fawcett 7-1-36-1, Grogan 3-0-17-0
S Dawson c and b Jackson 16
Hood b Shah 37
Burrill c ? b Munawar 37
D Fawcett c ? b Pattison 8
A Fawcett c ? b Pattison 25
Grogan c ? b Pattison 2
C Booth not out 28
R Morley not out 10
Total (for 6 wkts, 44 overs) 194
Fall of wickets: 1-52, 2-63, 3-95, 4-139, 5-143, 6-162
Bowling: Munawar 12-2-52-1, Shah 12-3-22-1, Jackson 8-0-41-1, Pattison 7-1-29-3, Gilbertson 2-0-29-0, Mohammed 3-0-15-0
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