Heywood produced a superb all-round performance at Clifton yesterday to book their place in the final of the J W Lees Wood Cup.
Some powerhouse hitting at the very start and very end of the Heywood innings ensured they posted a formidable target of 295 in perfect conditions for cricket at the well-presented Manchester Road ground.
Then the bowlers held their nerve in the face of a sustained and high-quality chase from Clifton to eventually snuff out the home side’s threat and ease to a 56-run victory.
The win sets them up for a clash at Crimble with Walsden, who hammered Monton and Weaste in the other semi-final. It promises to be a cracker between the two top clubs in the CLL at the moment, on Sunday 4 August.
Heywood got off to a flying start after being stuck in by Clifton, thanks to the explosive bat of Andy Dawson. He took a couple of balls to settle in, but then played some lovely shots, including a powerful pull in front of square from Steve Cheetham, who had recovered enough from the previous day’s groin injury to open the bowling.
With Ross Zelem again able to play himself in while Dawson blazed, this is looking like a recipe for success for Heywood, and when Dawson smashed young seamer Davidson for two sixes in an over, all looked set for a big opening partnership.
But Dawson played one shot too many and was bowled by the experienced home captain Greg Jennings, which again left us wanting more, but with the score on 48 after six overs, no one could really argue.
Zelem and Bobby Cross settled in for the duration, with Zelem playing a crucial role in keeping the runs flowing while Cross proceeded to play a sensible innings.
The young opener found the quick outfield to his liking, and enjoyed picking up anything short of a length as his increasing power and desire to get on to the back foot continues to reap rewards.
They took the score to 118 before Cross was stumped, but Travis Townsend and Zelem made sure things didn’t slow down.
So it was a surprise when Zelem was bowled by home pro Cameron Murray – brought on as every bowler bar the impressive Borritt was leaking runs – for 65, his second excellent 50 of the weekend.
What followed was then exciting stuff, as Danny Pawson and Townsend decided to get cracking. Heywood brought up their 200 with nine overs to go, and the pair cut loose, displaying a full range of strokes to the delight of the Heywood faithful.
Sixes and fours flew all around the tight ground, and by the time the carnage had finished – Townsend was out for 64 and Pawson 68 – Heywood has posted a very challenging target of 295-4 off 50 overs, one which everyone from Heywood thought was more than enough to ensure a comfortable victory.
How wrong this seemed after 14 overs of the Clifton innings when they brought up a 100 for the loss of just one wicket.
Opener Lachie Mason, who batted at eight the previous day, played one of the innings of his life as he smashed everything thrown at him around Manchester Road. He and Adam Holt set the scoreboard racing with shots that went mainly backward of square and through the vacant off-side field as they enjoyed the full-pitched bowling from the Heywood opening attack of Riley Paterson and Travis Townsend.
Holt’s dismissal – the first of four catches for eventual J W Lees man of the match Pawson – only brought Murray to the crease and the pair continued to flay Heywood’s bowlers.
A key moment came with Joe Lovell’s first ball, replacing Townsend at the Manchester Road end. He skidded one through Murray’s defences and the pro was out for 27.
But Mason and Derbyshire continued to play the aggressive game and at the half-way stage Clifton needed less than 140 with eight wickets left.
Lovell then struck the killer blow, bowling Mason for 79, and he and Chris Kaye set about reining things back in.
The wily left-armer struck to remove Derbyshire to level David Fare on 789 wickets as Heywood’s record wicket taker, then passed it when he had Cheetham brilliantly caught behind by Pawson. It was a great moment for Kaye and the support who have enjoyed his commitment to the Heywood cause over the last 25 or more years.
Humza Naeem came back to remove Dean Morris, who had looked dangerous, with an excellent slower ball, and then wickets fell as Clifton’s hopes were left in tatters.
Naeem finished things off, bowling Borritt for three, and Heywood had booked in for what promises to be a cracking clash with Walsden in the Wood Cup Final.
R Zelem lbw b Murray 65
A Dawson b Jennings 36
R Cross st Dorsey b Wright 29
T Townsend lbw b Cheetham 64
D Pawson c Derbyshire b Jennings 68
D Latham not out 3
R Paterson not out 1
Total (for 5 wkts, 50 overs) 295
Fall of wickets: 1-48. 2-118, 3-163, 4-267, 5-293
Bowling: Cheetham 9-0-69-1, Jennings 10-0-78-2, Davidson 6-0-51-0, Borritt 10-1-24-0, Wright 10-0-36-1, Murray 5-0-32-1
L Mason b Lovell 79
A Holt c Pawson b Paterson 27
C Murray b Lovell 27
T Derbyshire lbw b Kaye 24
D Morris lbw b Naeem 32
S Cheetham c Pawson b Kaye 9
W Davidson c Pawson b Naeem 7
G Jennings run out 2
L Dorsey c Pawson b Paterson 0
R Borritt b Naeem 3
M Wright not out 1
Total (45.4 overs 239
Fall of wickets: 1-46, 2-111, 3-157, 4-179, 5-200, 6-222, 7-224, 8-224, 9-226, 10-239
Bowling: Paterson 10-0-48-2, Townsend 8-0-57-0, Naeem 7.4-0-40-3, Lovell 10-0-49-2, Kaye 10-0-36-2
- Jennings’ Late Burst Leaves Heywood Stunned
- Zelem Finds Top Form To Overhaul Clifton
- Dominant Heywood Sweep To Clinical Clifton Victory
- Clifton Exploit Heywood’s Lack Of Confidence
- Bowlers Keep It Tight As Heywood Stay In Hunt For Wood Cup Honours
- Clifton Feel Power Of Pawson And Townsend
- Teams For The Weekend
- Chapman Guns Down Startled Heywood
- Heywood Think Big To Claim Five-Point Clifton Victory
- Cross Steals The Show As Radcliffe Bow To Kaye And Maguire