Oct 022012

Travis scored heavily at times all round the wicket

Finally, we’re on to part three of my review of the season.

Enjoy, and feel free to pick holes!


There’s been a lot of tough acts to follow as professional at Crimble. In the last 10 years, we’ve seen the likes of Sherwin Campbell, Johan Botha, Rajat Bhatia and Stephen John take us to league and Wood Cup victory.

Therefore, a pro at Heywood will, these days, be judged against these players, which makes it extremely hard to impress certain more hardcore elements of the support.

So how does Travis Townsend measure up? It’s a difficult one because there are many of us who are glad he is coming back next year, but we also believe he needs to add another 3-400 runs (at least) to his runs for the season to really achieve what we hope to achieve.

Firstly, I’ll look at what Travis achieved. He scored more than 700 runs at an average of over 40, and 48 wickets at less than 12. In a difficult season weather wise, on poor pitches and when we weren’t expecting much at all from him with the ball, those stats look good. And indeed, they measure up to most pros.

The one problem with Travis with the bat this season was in that little period mid-season when we really needed him to win a couple of matches – and he didn’t. On several occasions – most notably for me against Milnrow in the Wood Cup and at Monton and Weaste – we needed him to lead from the front. However, he was reckless at Milnrow and missed a straight one at Monton. He did dig deep at Norden, when the rest of the batting let themselves down, but even then many of us who were there believed he could have scored quicker that day to take some of the pressure off the side.

It’s what you pay your pro for, and it’s where Travis just failed.

However, to judge him from this would be very, very mean spirited. Travis showed with some explosive innings – most notably at the start and end of the summer – how good he is when he hits straight and forgets that the pitch is slow. When he curbed his desire to dominate every attack from the word go, he was a much better batsman. It was as though he felt he was better than the standard of bowler he was facing – which he was – but at times just didn’t treat them with enough respect. He was lucky to have Bobby Cross in such superb form as usual, as this would have increased the pressure on him if Cross had failed.

To balance the occasional sense of disappointment, his bowling was at times a revelation, and helped us in so many games. He set the tone at home to Milnrow in the first game of the season, and took five in that remarkable performance at Ladyhouse towards the end of the season. He bowled straight and was well complimented by Danny Pawson stood up to the stumps, and provided an excellent foil for Hamish Paterson, Humza Naeem and the rest.

So to the second part of my review of the pro. What should we expect next season?

I know what I expect. I expect 1200 runs and 60 wickets. That would put him up there with the great pros of the club’s history and would be enough to win Heywood the new, two division CLL. An extra 400 runs in a better summer would be a great performance and is definitely achievable after what we have seen this season. He can destroy the best attacks on his day, but it’s not these occasions that we need him to work on. He needs to dig deep on poor pitches, realise his responsibilities when things are going badly, and show the resolve that is needed when his team need him to show his real qualities.

His bowling is a great asset, and with no Hamish this year he will expect to bowl more. He has enough guile and control to bowl 15 overs a match and take five and six fors. We will need that.

I expect good things from Travis next season and fully endorse the decision to re-sign him as pro. We know he is a good guy, we know he likes the club and we know what he is capable of.

All we want from Travis next year is to show he has learned from the odd disappointment this season. If he does that, expect silverware at Crimble.

Ross shows his class


This has to go to a first team player, and it has to go to Ross Zelem. It’s easy to forget he is only 17 when he faces up to opening bowlers on a weekly basis, especially when he plays it so well.

I think I, for one, was guilty at the start of the season of expecting Ross to zoom out of the blocks and start scoring big hundreds straight away. In bad conditions, on bad pitches and against attacks heavy on slow bowling, this was never going to happen and it was really about finding his feet again and easing his way into the season.

Maybe he was too cautious early in the season, blocking too much instead of playing the adventurous game that was to serve him better towards the end of the season.

He found himself exposed when the batting around him collapsed mid season, and he struggled as much as anyone.

But then it all seemed to click, culminating in his best innings of the season in the defeat of Royton.

All this came when he started to play his shots. Whether it was the over-cautious coaching of Lancashire or just the dawning realisation that there were great expectations for him, Ross struggled to play his natural game.

When he started playing his natural game – hitting hard straight, punching off the back foot and taking aggressive singles – he looked the sort of player for whom opening in the CLL may just be the start.

Hamish in full flow


Hamish Paterson came to the club in 2011 a boy, and left at the end of 2012 a man, both on and off the field.

He showed glimpses of what was to come in 2011, especially in the final day defeat of Royton, and in 2012 he became a leader of the attack.

There were numerous excellent performances – six wickets away to Radcliffe, five at home to Oldham, five in the destruction of Milnrow at Ladyhouse – but there was much, much more to Hamish than that. Apart from when he was nursing a super hangover – which he was on many a matchday and learned to conquer – he was accurate and hostile up front. He was too much to handle for many opening batsmen and learned to bowl a great line and length throughout the season.

He could be hostile, but he really didn’t waste too many balls and very few batsmen got hold of him at all, including professionals.

With the bat, there was no doubt he could have batted higher, and would have done so in a weaker team. But for those of us who like big hitting, Hamish was a breath of fresh air at times, biffing sixes on a regular basis and even reducing Crimble to a pitch and putt course of a ground.

Add in a great pair of hands and the ability to drink like a fish and entertain everyone he came across, Hamish was a superb player for the club and one of the best overseas we have had.

A worthy player of the year, a model overseas and a cracking lad.


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  One Response to “Heywood CC Review Of The Season – Part 3”

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