Big hitting from Dale Latham just failed take Heywood to T20 victory at Middleton.
Latham and Heywood started the last over of the game needing 17 to win after a stunning 19th over from young Middleton paceman Saq Mahmood restricted them to just three runs and the loss of skipper Bobby Cross
With 15 needed off the last three, Latham smacked George Walker for a four and a huge six before just failing to connect properly with the final ball which brought just one run when only six would do.
It was an exciting end for a good crowd on Towncroft, who would have been heartened by the home’s side’s performance.
Grant Jones was the star man with the bat for Middleton as he and stand-in pro Geeth Alwis got Middleton off to a flying start against Riley Paterson and Humza Naeem, reaching 47-1 off four overs.
Sixes and fours flew off the bat at regular intervals, and it was only when veteran Lee Grogan and pro Travis Townsend came on that Heywood started to get a grip.
Jones eventually fell to the spin of Lovell, caught by Townsend, but Walker ensured momentum was regained and he smashed some big shots to finish on 39 to lead Middleton to 157-3 off their 20 overs.
Heywood started their innings with circumspection in the face of a hostile opening over from Mahmood, and then lost the dangerous Andy Dawson to a superb caught and bowled by Paul Bennett. No one looked as surprised as Bennett that he had taken the chance, and no one as crestfallen as Dawson.
Neither Ross Zelem or Townsend could really make things happen, and Danny Pawson looked like the first Heywood batsmen to really seize the initiative before he was brilliantly caught by Mark Buckley on the midwicket boundary.
But runs started to flow from the bat of Cross and Latham, with the pair running well and playing shots around the wicket.
Cross was deft in his approach to run scoring, while Latham preferred to combine power with his good eye and the pair took Heywood from 76-4 with 10 left to needing 28 off three.
This was reduced to 20 off two, before Mahmood bowled a quick and accurate over that yielded just three runs and the wicket of Cross.
This left Latham and Paterson at the crease, and despite the best efforts of Latham – who finished with a truly excellent, unbeaten 44 – Heywood fell three runs short on 154-5.
It was an excellent day and a great performance from Middleton. It proves the appetite is there for cricket, especially between the best teams in the CLL, with good crowds reported at Norden and Milnrow too.
Next Friday, Heywood play host to Norden in another exciting contest at Crimble.
G Jones c Townsend b Lovell 58
G Alwis c Cross b Paterson 18
S Stanworth c and b Grogan 5
G Walker not out 39
P Bennett not out 13
Total (for 3 wkts, 20 overs) 157
Fall of wickets: 1-31, 2-60, 3-115
Bowling: Paterson 4-0-34-1, Naeem 4-0-48-0, Grogan 4-0-23-1, Townsend 4-1-19-0, Lovell 4-0-26-1
R Zelem b Bennett 21
A Dawson c and b Bennett 4
T Townsend c Alwis b Bennett 8
D Pawson c Buckley b Alwis 19
R Cross b Mahmood 37
D Latham not out 44
R Paterson not out 1
Total (for 5 wkts, 20 overs) 154
Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-31, 3-54, 4-76, 5-141
Bowling: Mahmood 4-1-13-1, Bennett 4-0-28-3, Alwis 4-0-35-1, Buckley 4-0-32-0, Foden 2-0-20-0, Walker 2-0-20-0
- Heywood Ruthless In Demolition Of Ailing Moonrakers
- Cross Back To Top Form To Help Heywood Crush Middleton
- Zelem Excels As All-Round Heywood Crush Middleton
- Dawson Leads Way To Another Win But Bowlers And Fielders Set The Tone
- Edmeades Brilliance In Vain As Zelem And Townsend Set Up Heywood Victory
- Cross, Cross And Dawson A Shine In Towncroft Win
- Tip-Top Heywood Start Wood Cup Defence In Style
- Townsend Turns On The Style, While Pawson Continues To Shine
- Never-Say-Die Spirit Helps Seconds To Another Superb Victory
- Blistering Dawson Sets Up Stunning Norden T20 Victory