ANDY Kerr picked the perfect time and place to rediscover his best form and help send Heywood soaring back to top of Division One in the Greater Manchester League.
Kerr spent several years at Greenmount before moving to Crimble in the close season, and the top-of-the-table clash at the Bury area club was his first competitive return to his former cricketing home.
And what a return. Kerr rattled up an unbeaten 122 from 118 balls as Heywood hunted down a victory target of 209 with seven wickets and almost 11 overs to spare.
It gives Heywood a three-point cushion over now second-placed Greenmount at the halfway stage of the season as they bid to regain their Premier League status.
Kerr’s class has never been in doubt despite a barren run of form and fortune recently, so to underline his ability to both his past and present clubs must have been particularly sweet.
He had one stroke of stroke of luck when surviving a chance to mid-on when on 18 out of, at that stage, a stand of 26 with Wes Hunt, who himself had been put down at slip in just the third over of the innings.
Both made Greenmount pay in a crucial opening partnership of 93, with Kerr becoming increasingly more confident and hitting key spinner and home captain Phil Heaton out of the attack.
He smashed the left-armer for three successive sixes, and, with Hunt playing a vital role at the other end, the visitors set the platform they needed.
Hunt eventually went for 17, bowled by home professional Kaustub Pawar, and Jack Morley was caught at backward point for eight to make it 116-2.
But any hopes Greenmount may have harboured of getting back into the match evaporated when professional Travis Townsend joined Kerr in an aggressive stand of 77, with the former pulling and cutting fiercely on his way to 42 before holing out to mid-off.
That only brought Danny Pawson to the wicket to help Kerr with the final push, with the skipper ending matters with as legside six as he raced to 17 in quick time.
But the plaudits went to Kerr, and his ovation from both sets of fans was warm and deserved after racking up six maximums and nine boundaries.
Earlier, Greenmount had their own big hit in Pawar, who made 64 out of a total of 89-2 and threatened to go on to a damaging personal score.
But he perished to Townsend’s first ball when he swatted the bowler back over his head only to loft the ball high in the air towards long-off, where Sean Burrill raced in to safely pouch a vital catch.
Other significant contributions came from Darren Foy (28), Andy Bowker (47 not out), Danny Hornby (22) and Bradley Edge (25).
But the final total of 208-7, which looked significant at the halfway stage, proved no problem to Heywood and Kerr in particular.
S K Khan c Pawson b S Dawson 2
K Pawar c Burrill b Townsend 64
T Heaton c Townsend b A Dawson 1
D Foy b Townsend 28
A Bowker not out 47
D Hornby c Kerr b S Dawson 22
B Edge c S Dawson b A Dawson 25
C S Smith b Pawson 3
P Heaton not out 1
Total (for 7 wkts, 50 overs) 208
Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-45, 3-89, 4-110, 5-152, 6-203, 7-207
Bowling: S Dawson 15-0-62-2, A Dawson 8-0-52-2, D Pawson 7-0-35-1, J Morley 15-3-35-0, T Townsend 5-0-16-2
A Kerr not out 122
W Hunt b Pawar 17
J Morley c Bowker b Hornby 8
T Townsend c P Heaton b Smith 42
D Pawson not out 17
Total (for 3 wkts, 39.1 overs) 211
Fall of wickets: 1-93, 2-116, 3-191
Bowling: C Smith 9.1-2-59-1, K Pawar 14-1-58-1, P Heaton 3-0-31-0, D Hornby 8-1-30-1, T Heaton 5-0-31-0
- None Found