REPORT BY STEVE MCHUGH: HEYWOOD slipped to a 34-run defeat against Unsworth in a pretty tepid display at Pole Lane.
The home side rattled up a challenging 197-7 from their 50 overs, and the visitors were always up against it after losing the heart of their batting order – Bobby Cross, professional Rob Nicol and Danny Pawson – with just 27 on the board in the face of accurate and penetrating bowling from professional Chris Williams and Ben Eckton.
So it was left to some of the younger brigade to salvage something, with Dale Latham and Sean Burrill leading the way.
At 71-5, with West Hunt also having gone for a patient 26 and new overseas stand-in Steve Wright impressing with 12, Heywood looked odds against getting anything from the game.
But Latham and Burrill showed the urgency that had been missing earlier in the innings, albeit against the home second wave attack after the pacemen had done the damage, to put together a partnership of 75 as they eyed a target of 148 for a bonus point.
They showed some much-needed aggression and ran positively before Burrill was adjudged lbw for 34 with the total 146. Latham carried on to secure the point and deserved a half-century, only to fall six runs short when caught at mid-wicket trying to force the pace.
The Heywood innings folded quickly from thereon, three wickets falling at 160, and when Dominic Fawcett went to the last ball of the match Unsworth claimed what was a deserved five points.
The visitors certainly missed the penetration of paceman Simon Dawson, on holiday, when Unsworth batted, although brother Andy strived manfully to finish with a three-wicket haul.
Australian opener Jeff Keyt, who batted for the most part with a runner but was still later to fulfil his role as wicketkeeper, hit positively to make a half-century out of an opening stand of 83.
It was a base that was to prove crucial in the overall make-up of the match as the rest of the Unsworth batting line-up chipped in, anchored by a patient 44 from Jon Wiggans.
Australian Wright, on holiday with Heywood’s ex-overseas amateur Hamish Paterson, looked promising on his debut with 1-33 from eight overs of off-spin – Nicol was not called on – and a final total just short of 200 still looked within reach.
Williams and Eckton, however, put a stranglehold on the Heywood top order that was eventually to prove decisive.
J Keyt b Wright 53
J Wiggans c R Cross b A Dawson 44
C Long lbw b Pawson 32
C Williams c Grogan b Pawson 6
A Arora b Lovell 11
A Jones c Nicol b A Dawson 16
J O’Brien c Burrill b A Dawson 0
A Blake not out 16
Total (for 7 wkts, 50 overs) 197
Fall of wickets: 1-83, 2-127, 3-142, 4-163, 5-167, 6-174, 7-197
Bowling: A Dawson 14-1-56-3, D Pawson 11-1-44-2, J Lovell 17-1-56-1, S Wright 8-1-33-1
R Cross c Keyt b Williams 6
W Hunt c Ramsay b O’Brien 26
R Nicol b Eckton 2
D Pawson b Williams 0
S Wright c Eckton b Williams 12
D Latham c Wiggans b Richards 44
S Burrill lbw b Blake 34
A Dawson st Keyt b Richards 4
M Grogan not out 3
J Lovell b Richards 0
D Fawcett c Eckton b Richards 0
Total (50 overs) 163
Fall of wickets: 1-17, 2-24, 3-27, 4-67, 5-71, 6-146, 7-160, 8-160, 9-160, 10-163
Bowling: C Williams 15-5-22-3, B Eckton 9-2-25-1, J O’Brien 10-2-42-1, A Blake 10-0-35-1, L Richards 6-1-25-4
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