Supporters braved the weather and enjoyed Crimble hospitality as a Heywood CC XI won the first match of the season on a freezing cold Easter Monday.
Heywood beat a Lancashire under-19s XI by five wickets, with some encouraging performances across the board.
Most encouraging from a Heywood point of view was Andy Dawson. Coming on second change, he turned around a bad first few overs to finish with 2-36 off nine overs as the Lancashire side reached 162-5 off their 45.
Then he biffed 39 – including consecutive leg-side sixes – as Heywood chased down the total comfortably.
But Dawson was by no means the sole performer of note.
Joe Lovell bowled well to concede just 26 runs off his nine overs, and Humza Naeem showed some signs of form although he struggled at times.
Particularly impressive were guest players Scott and Greg Butterworth from Rochdale. Greg picked up 1-17 off nine overs of left-arm slow bowling, while older brother Scott finished with 1-34 off his nine overs.
Scott then showed why his return to Rochdale is such a boost to them, matching Dawson blow for blow on his way to a fine 37 and sharing in the match-winning stand with Dawson.
Earlier in the Heywood innings, Ross Zelem showed his usual appetite for the game, looking untroubled on his way to 34 before being run out.
Special mention must go to Clifton’s Adam Holt, who looked a class player in his unbeaten 80 for Lancashire Under-19s.
That the match was staged was a credit to the hard-working ground crew, and all who came to Sunday’s Cricketforce Day.
The wicket was good for batting and bowling and could easily stage another fixture at a minute’s notice.
There was a good crowd in the clubhouse and around the ground too for a game that didn’t mean a great deal in terms of the result, but heralded the start of a new season.
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