HEYWOOD’S unbeaten start to life in Division One of the Greater Manchester League was quelled by Dukinfield.
The visitors racked up at impressive 228-7 from their 50 overs, after at one stage looking unlikely to top 150, and Heywood fell eight runs short of reaching a recalculated target of 217 following a mid-innings break which cost them almost five overs.
Credit to the visitors for digging in several times when the game looked to be slipping away from them, but Heywood can reflect on possible reasons why their hopes ended in disappointment.
One was before the action actually started, with the Dawson brothers and Humza Naeem missing from the first choice attack.
That left skipper Danny Pawson with just four bowlers – 15-year-old rookie Cabhan Hilton plus himself, professional Travis Townsend and another 15-year-old in Jack Morley.
Hilton certainly underlined his promise in a creditable five-over new ball spell which earned him his maiden senior wicket, and the rest of the attack chipped in to reduce Dukinfield to 113-6 and the prospect of chasing a not too imposing target.
But diligent Dukininfield professional Yohan de Silva was joined by Johnny Gascoigne to turn the innings around in a seventh-wicket stand of 101.
The Sri Lankan paid man continued in his own, controlled manner, while Gascoigne gave him excellent support with a series of improvised shots which frustrated a Heywood attack which lost its composure.
So it was a personal shame for de Silva when he finished three runs short of a deserved century when he skied a catch to wicketkeeper Bobby Cross from a delivery by Pawson with the total 214.
Gascoigne went on to the bitter end, however, and his final unbeaten contribution of 49 was just as crucial.
Chasing down totals of more than 200 is not an everyday occurrence on the big Crimble playing area, and Heywood’s decent start was punctuated by losing the vital wickets of Cross for 17 and Andy Kerr for 18.
Another significant factor was the break of just more than 15 minutes which cost Heywood almost five overs with the total 84-2, meaning a new victory target of 217 at an increased run rate, which became even more difficult when Townsend was caught behind for 40 with the total 92.
Heywood needed a partnership and got it in the shape of Pawson and Morley, to such an extent that at 174 and with just under six an over needed with seven wickets in hand the target looked well achievable.
But Pawson, the lynchpin of the batting order this season, lofted a catch to de Silva in the deep to fall for 53 – and from then on it was a struggle.
Sean Burrill and Wes Hunt went cheaply, and when Morley’s impressive innings was ended on 55 trying to keep up with the run rate the odds swung dramatically in favour of the visitors.
So it turned out with Liam Mason falling for nine, leaving Mikey Grogan and Mikey Witts with a mountain that was too difficult to climb.
Credit to Dukinfield for never wilting, merit to Heywood for getting so close, but in the final analysis the home club may reflect that it was one unavoidable under-strength side too many.
N Mistry c Cross b Hilton 5
L Riley c Cross b Pawson 5
K Mayne c Townsend b Pawson 27
Y de Silva c Cross b Pawson 94
J Fenton b Morley 6
K Akram st Cross b Morley 13
W Allen c Cross b Townsend 5
J Gascoigne not out 49
M Jamil not out 9
Total (for 7 wkts, 50 overs) 228
Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-13, 3-62, 4-80, 5-106, 6-113, 7-214
Bowling: D Pawson 15-1-59-3, C Hilton 5-1-21-1, T Townsend 15-0-81-1, J Morley 15-0-63-2
R Cross b Jamil 17
A Kerr st Gascoigne b de Silva 18
T Townsend c Gascoigne b de Silva 40
D Pawson c de Silva b Morton 53
J Morley c Gascoigne b Mistry 55
S Burrill c Mistry b Morton 1
W Hunt c and b Morton 3
L Mason lbw b Morton 9
M Grogan not out 3
M Witts not out 1
Total (for 8 wkts, 45 overs) 209
Fall of wickets: 1-30, 2-64, 3-92, 4-174, 5-177, 6-184, 7-202, 8-204
Bowling: M Jamil 9-1-48-1, Y de Silva 14-1-54-2, J Morton 14-0-56-4, G Middleton 3-0-26-0, N Mistry 5-0-24-1
- None Found