The home side were excellent with the ball and in the field, restricting Heywood to 178-9 off 45 overs.
And, led by opener Stephen Lucas, they chased this total down without any bother, reaching 183-3 off 31.5 overs. Northern really are the best side by far I have seen this season.
Heywood captain Bobby Cross won the toss and batted, and his side were under deep pressure from the off thanks to the opening attack of Tom Bailey and Stephen Cole.
The former was the pacier and extracted good bounce, but Cole was the more probing, bowling wicket to wicket with a hint of swing and seam either way. On a pitch that offered a little variable bounce early on, he proved difficult to get away and picked up Andy Dawson with a delivery that nipped away and took his off stump.
Northern were stopping everything in the field, and Heywood lost Ross Zelem for 10 when he became the first victim of left-arm slowy Tom Sephton when he tried to break the shackles put upon the Heywood batting by the home attack.
With all-rounder Danny Pawson missing with an ankle injury, Cross and pro Travis Townsend knew they had to dig in and the pair were initially very watchful.
However, they took every opportunity to take ones and twos and gradually the pressure was released by the Ormskirk bowlers.
Cross was the first to bring up his half-century and Townsend soon followed, and they started to play a little more expansively against Northern’s fourth and fifth bowling options.
But, after putting on 116 for third wicket and with overs running out, first Cross was bowled for an excellent 66 and then Townsend perished to a great catch straight behind the bowler for 64.
From 154-4, Heywood were unable to push on and they ended on 178-9. It was enough to give the supporters who had travelled in good numbers some hope …
This was dispelled very quickly. Openers Lucas and Jack Boardman took a couple of overs to play themselves in before Humza Naeem bowled the latter with a beauty for 10.
From then on, a couple of sharp chances withstanding, Lucas and number three John Wildman were outstanding.
They punished all the bowlers and where Heywood found boundaries difficult, these two made scoring quickly look easy.
Lucas was the main aggressor, hitting with power in front of square on both sides of the wicket and he and Wildman both brought up 50s.
Joe Lovell picked up two wickets as Northern closed in on Heywood’s total, but Lucas continued to shine brightly and his side cruised home with 13 overs to spare.
It was a pretty ruthless demolition job by Northern, who now face Bamford Fieldhouse in the final at Old Trafford.
Huge thanks to all at Northern for making it such an enjoyable day at what is one of the best sporting complexes around, and we wish them all the best in the final.
R Zelem b Sephton 10
A Dawson b Cole 8
R Cross b Woosey 66
T Townsend c Biddlestone b Boardman 64
D Latham c Bailey b Woosey 2
W Hunt lbw b Woosey 1
R Paterson not out 13
S Dawson b Bailey 1
J Lovell c Boardman b Sephton 2
H Naeem lbw b Bailey 2
C Kaye not out 2
Total (for 9 wkts, 50 overs) 178
Fall of wickets: 1-10, 2-29, 3-145, 4-154, 5-165, 6-158, 7-160, 8-163, 9-173
Bowling: Bailey 9-1-30-2, Cole 9-1-21-1, Sephton 9-0-39-2, Boardman 9-1-41-1, Woosey 9-0-45-3
S Lucas not out 86
J Boardman b Naeem 12
J Wildman c Hunt b Lovell 52
M Walling st Latham b Lovell 16
T Bailey not out 7
Total (for 3 wkts, 31.5 overs) 183
Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-133, 3-171
Bowling: Naeem 6-2-31-1, Paterson 4-1-28-0, A Dawson 3-0-16-0, Kaye 9-0-44-0, Lovell 8.5-0-58-2, S Dawson 1-0-3-0
[Gallery not found]
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