A brilliantly judged run chase from Heywood Seconds meant they eased to victory over Middleton at Towncroft in their Burton Cup clash.
Stars of a chase – that saw Heywood overhaul Middleton’s par total of 194 – were the red-hot Wes Hunt and Dom Fawcett.
Hunt, in the runs the previous day at home to Royton, set up the chase with a steady half century, then Fawcett, who had scored a half century the day before, anchored the final phase of the innings to finish unbeaten on 44 with Heywood cruising home with two overs to spare.
Heywood lost the toss and Middleton decided to bat. Although they lost no wickets, they started off very slowly on a good wicket as if their plan was to see off Rick Purser and Lee Grogan and try to pick off Heywood’s back up bowlers.
Sam Byrne made the first breakthrough with the score on 58, before the second wicket to fell in controversial circumstances. Middleton number three Copeland, having been warned about his excessive backing up by captain Smethurst, continued to flout the rules and Byrne removed the bails resulting in him being run out.
This caused much discussion around Towncroft, to say the least!
All the time Middleton opener Mo Zahid was looking untroubled and was joined by Middleton captain Rob Bennett, and a decent total appeared on the cards.
However the introduction of Mikey Grogan changed the complete nature of the innings and Middleton’s plans to attack the fourth and fifth bowlers came unstuck in the face of quality bowling.
He had Shahid caught at square leg by Purser, then cleaned bowled the experienced Gareth Hughes before bowling the very dangerous Mark Buckley.
From looking at a score of 240 plus Middleton then had to consolidate. Dom Fawcett returned to the attack and trapped Bennett lbw and it was left to Sam Warren and the veteran Tommy Astley to drag Middleton up to 194, with Fawcett helping himself to three wickets along the way.
Heywood at tea were quietly confident that this was a gettable target with a short boundary to the clubhouse side and were aided by an opening partnership of 78 between the ever-improving Hunt and skipper Smethurst.
Hunt was the man in command, playing his trademark shots through midwicket that separates the good players from the pack.
Smethurst had ridden his luck at times and was out trying to smash spinner Zahid out of the ground, edging to slip.
This brought in Dom Fawcett, but it wasn’t long before Hunt went immediately after reaching his excellent 50 .
Sean Burrill came and went having played two of the best shots of the day so Dom Fawcett was then joined by his brother Adam and they set about chasing down the Middleton target, batting as well as they had in the previous day’s defeat of Royton.
They never let the run rate get too high, but when Adam went, Mikey Grogan fell soon after and the nerves began to jangle slightly.
There was no need. Chris Booth rotated the strike while Dom Fawcett played nice shots all around until he ran Booth out stupidly.
However, Lee Grogan made sure there was no slip and Heywood were comfortably through to the semi-finals at home to Clifton.
What was especially pleasing about the result was that most runs and wickets were taken by players 21 and under, who are learning how to play under the tutelage of Smethurst, Grogan and Purser.
It bodes well.
M Zahid c Purser b M. Grogan 72
R Tierney lbw Byrne 26
A Copeland run out 19
R Bennett lbw D Fawcett 25
G Hughes b M Grogan 3
M Buckley b M Grogan 2
S Warren c Burrill b D Fawcett 21
B Lee c L Grogan b D Fawcett 2
T Astley not out 12
P Foden not out 1
Total (8 wickets, 50 overs) 194
FOW: 58, 108, 125, 137, 142, 165, 175, 184
Bowling: Purser 10-1-33-0; L Grogan 10-2-28-0; D Fawcett 10-0-46-3; S Byrne 10-0-42-1; M Grogan 10-0-41-3
R Smethurst c Buckley b Zahid 24
W Hunt b Lee 53
D Fawcett not out 44
S Burrill c Collins b Lee 10
A Fawcett c Shahid b Hugher 15
M Grogan b G Hughes 4
C Booth run out 14
L Grogan not out 3
Total (6 wickets, 48 overs) 195
FOW: 78, 99, 111, 151, 158, 187
Bowling: Hughes 10-1-50-2; Copeland 8-1-27-0; Tierney 6-1-18-0; Buckley 10-0-36-0; Shahid 8-1-20-1; Lee 7-0-32-2
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- Seconds Pay Price For Below-Par Target
- Seconds Fall At First Hurdle
- Purser And Grogan Stay Calm, Norden Seconds Are Vanquished
- Clifton Swept Aside As Seconds March Through To Second Round Of Burton Cup
- Experience Bowls Royton Out After Youth Sets Up Big Target
- Seconds Unbeaten Start Ended At Clifton