HEYWOOD’S two current youngest first team players combined to pull off a dramatic victory at Denton West in the Premier Division of the Greater Manchester League.
The visitors looked down and out at 77-9 chasing a victory target of 110 when 18-year-old Dominic Humphreys was joined at the wickets by Jack Morley, aged just 14.
Their task looked beyond any real hope on a wicket that had proved difficult to bat on all day, the ball often keeping abnormally low and the odd one popping.
But Humphreys, who had a fine all-round game, anchored the lower order after coming in at 56-5 and seeing wickets crash all around him.
He needed an ally and found it in Morley, who last season made a startling impression with his left-arm spin but on this occasion showed that he can certainly bat, too.
The youngsters stayed calm, playing the seam of former Rochdale player Steve Oddy and overseas recruit ‘Stich’ Seyibokwe calmly – as well as the support bowlers, once the chief wicket-taking threats had been forced to retire after bowling their maximum allotted spells of 15 overs each.
They inched towards their target mainly in singles, but even the enthusiastic contingent of Heywood supporters could not envisage the game being pulled out of the fire until the scoreboard showed 100-9.
Humphreys and Morley played and missed at the odd ball, naturally on such a difficult wicket, but they both got right behind every delivery to frustrate the home side.
So it was even more galling for West when, with Heywood 108-8, Sam Sweeney was called for wides with the first and fourth balls of the 48th over to leave the facing Morley pumping the air in delight.
The pair had fought tenaciously for 17.1 overs, Humphreys facing 76 balls and Morley 54, to underline that they are both fine prospects.
The day had started with West winning the toss and raising a few eyebrows when they chose to bat. But, after quickly losing Nick Doyle caught behind down the legside off Chris Humphreys, they took control in the shape of the aggressive Seyibokwe.
The South African got after Humphreys Snr in particular with two sweet sixes and threatened to take the game away from the visitors until he swatted a catch to the same player at square leg from the bowling of Simon Dawson.
From 56-1, West lost wickets regularly as change bowlers Danny Pawson and Humphreys Jnr combined in an impressive spell of seam bowling.
Pawson underlined his all-round talents and showed why Heywood were happy to appoint him as professional with 3-11 from his 9.2 overs. And Humphreys Jnr was just penetrating in his personal three-wicket haul from his maximum seven-over spell.
Heywood’s reply was jolted by the early losses of Liam Mason lbw and Pawson slicing a mistimed drive to Seyibokwe in the covers.
But Bobby Cross had settled in nicely and, when joined by overseas amateur Jayden Borg, steadied the ship to take the total to a comfortable-looking 52-2.
But then the Australian, who looked secure and talented in his contribution of 15, clipped a sweetly-hit drive straight to Andy O’Brien at mid-wicket to set up a mid-innings collapse.
With the total 56, Cross was adjudged lbw, Andy Dawson was caught at first slip and Chris Thomas was also trapped lbw. When Sean Burrill,
Chris Humphreys and Simon Dawson followed them back before too long the game looked up – until the kids proved that they all right!
Perhaps the unluckiest player on the day was the now 36-year-old Oddy, whose impressive display of controlled seam bowling earned him a 5-22 return and brought back memories to the Heywood throng of his impressive days with Rochdale.
N Doyle c Borg b C Humphreys 5
J Barnett b Pawson 13
S Seyibokwe c C Humphreys b S Dawson 34
M Berry run out 7
H Dunlop c C Humphreys b D Humphreys 11
A O’Brien c Burrill b D Humphreys 7
S Sweeney b D Humphreys 3
D Morrell lbw b Pawson 1
M Murphy not out 6
S Oddy c D Humphreys b Morley 1
M Cole lbw b Pawson 3
Total (33.2 overs) 109
Fall of wickets: 1-7, 2-56, 3-70, 4-81, 5-87, 6-97, 7-98, 8-98, 9-100, 10-109
Bowling: S Dawson 7-3-27-1, C Humphreys 7-0-37-1, D Humphreys 7-0-19-3, D Pawson 9.2-5-11-3, J Morley 3-0-9-1
R Cross lbw b Seyibokwe 32
L Mason lbw b Oddy 1
D Pawson c Seyibokwe b Sweeney 0
J Borg c O’Brien b Oddy 15
A Dawson c Berry b Oddy 0
C Thomas lbw b Seyibokwe 0
D Humphreys not out 27
S Burrill lbw b Oddy 8
C Humphreys b Oddy 0
S Dawson b Seyibokwe 0
J Morley not out 6
Total (for 9 wkts, 47.4 overs) 110
Fall of wickets: 1-19, 2-23, 3-52, 4-56, 5-56, 6-56, 7-72, 8-73, 9-77
Bowling: S Oddy 15-5-22-5, S Sweeney 9.4-2-29-1, S Seyibokwe 15-4-33-3, H Dunlop 7-1-12-0, M Murphy 1-0-7-0
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