HEYWOOD’S stand-ins did the club proud as they pushed Bradshaw all the way in the area final of the Royal London National Club Championship.
The visitors to the Bolton area ground did well to reach 210-8 from their 40 overs, mainly thanks to a seventh-wicket stand of 63 between Joey O’Neill (29) and his second team skipper Mikey Grogan (30).
It was a total that still looked well in reach for Bradshaw with Heywood having to piece together vital overs from a makeshift attack.
But they were certainly made to sweat and only got through with three wickets and four balls to spare.
As well as O’Neill and Grogan, Heywood also dug deep into their reserves to call up Matt Hood, Roger Smethurst, Tom Pagett and Cab Hilton. And all played their parts.
Heywood could and possibly should have compiled an even bigger score, with first team regulars Andy Kerr (24), Travis Townsend (27), Danny Pawson (26) and Sean Burrill all failing to capitalise after ‘getting in’.
So when O’Neill and Grogan came together at 139-6 in the 28th over there was not too much optimism among the visiting supporters of a significant boost to the total. How wrong we were!
Both played sensibly mixed with a cavalier spirit to lift the score to 202 with just eight balls left. Grogan’s 30 came off 38 balls with one six, O’Neill’s 29 was made from 36 balls and also contained a maximum, and they certainly gave the bowlers something to defend.
Townsend and Pawson led the attack, the former responding with the first two wickets, then Andy Dawson claimed a third as Bradshaw reached 104-3 at virtually the halfway point of the innings.
Skipper Townsend was by now relying on his support bowlers to get through the remaining 16 overs, and they certainly responded with vigour and enthusiasm.
Australian Brett Ernst proved the major obstacle, particularly when joined by Jordan Mason, and a fourth-wicket stand of 40 looked to be taking the game away from Heywood.
But Mason fell lbw to Pawson for a hard-hitting 30; Ernst perished to Grogan for 49 thanks to a fine catch by Townsend at deep extra cover; and at 172-5 the visitors smelled a chance.
But Bradshaw always looked just in control as Nick Palmer made an unbeaten 26 to see his side home with help from Elliot Dargan.
Two late wickets, one to Andy Kerr having his first bowl of the season, and a run-out complicated things but Bradshaw tottered over the victory line with four balls to spare.
It was still an enjoyable day out for Heywood supporters basking in continental temperatures, and they certainly appreciated Bradshaw’s well-appointed and scenic ground.
T Townsend lbw b Shovelton 27
A Kerr lbw b Mason 24
D Pawson c Evans b Legg 26
A Dawson b Shovelton 2
S Burrill c Ross b Liversedge 21
M Hood c Mason b Legg 4
J O’Neill b Dickinson 29
M Grogan b Ross 30
R Smethurst not out 0
T Pagett not out 1
Total (for 8 wkts, 40 overs) 210
Fall of wickets: 1-48, 2-67, 3-76, 4-113, 5-134, 6-139, 7-202, 8-208
Bowling: S Hornby 4-0-18-0, R Dickinson 6-0-51-1, J Mason 8-0-27-1, J Shovelton 8-0-19-2, T Liversedge 8-1-36-1, I Ross 4-0-15-1, J Legg 2-0-28-2
S Hornby lbw b Townsend 17
T Liversedge c Burrill b Townsend 9
C Evans lbw b Dawson 42
B Ernst c Townsend b Grogan 49
J Mason lbw b Pawson 30
E Dargan b Kerr 13
N Palmer not out 26
J Legg run out 0
R Dickinson not out 4
Total (for 7 wkts, 39.2 overs) 214
Fall of wickets: 1-19, 2-52, 3-104, 4-144, 5-172, 6-208, 7-210
Bowling: D Pawson 8-0-26-1, T Townsend 8-0-48-2, C Hilton 3-0-26-0, A Dawson 8-0-35-1, M Grogan 8-0-38-1, T Pagett 2-0-14-0, A Kerr 2.2-0-12-1
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