A ROLLER-coaster game produced a cliffhanger conclusion as Heywood took another step towards Greater Manchester Premier League safety.
Heywood eventually defeated fellow relegation battlers Greenmount by one wicket with one ball of the game left at Brandlesholme Road.
But those facts barely begin to scratch the surface of a match of several momentum swings.
Greenmount looked set to post a modest total when reduced to 151-9 by a persistent Heywood attack, only for Cameron Smith and Sam Greenhalgh to put together an unbroken stand of 58 and take the home side to a healthy 209-9 from their 50 overs.
Heywood, however, looked to be chasing down their target with relative comfort when they reached 138-3, with skipper Travis Townsend and Sean Burrill looking in control.
Seven runs later, it had gone pear-shaped.
Townsend went caught at mid-wicket for 47, and only two more runs were added when Burrill was trapped lbw for an aggressive 39 made from 45 balls. Then when Jack Morley and Mikey Grogan followed in quick succession it was 145-7 and it seemed that the game was up.
So when Simon Dawson, who had earlier claimed a five-wicket haul in the Greenmount innings, marched in to join Wes Hunt there were few expectations from the Heywood contingent. That pessimism proved misguided.
Dawson came out all guns blazing and sent the scoreboard rattling along, allowing Hunt to settle in at the other end as they forged an impressive partnership.
So much so that Greenmount responded by spreading the field far and wide after several big boundary hits by Dawson, who quickly raced past the 30 mark.
And just when it seemed that the duo had swung the game back in Heywood’s favour with a stand of 48 to take the total to 193-7 there was another twist.
Hunt angled a delivery from Smith just behind square, the energetic Dawson raced halfway down the wicket for a single only to be sent back and slipped as he tried to recover his ground – but
was narrowly beaten by the throw back to the bowler.
That brought in Roger Smethurst, who hung around grittily until slicing a catch to backward point to make it 200-9 at the end of the 48th over, leaving Tom McQuinn the last man to partner Hunt.
But Heywood inched their way towards their target, helped by a fortuitous edged four for Hunt, and three runs were needed from the last over.
And the duo duly came up with the goods, Hunt clipping a shot to mid-on and scampering a quick single for the winning run from the penultimate ball before being engulfed by his team-mates on his return to the pavilion.
The stand-out performers were Dawson, for a 5-63 bowling return then 34 from 26 balls with the bat, plus Hunt for his determination to see his side home with an unbeaten 31. But there were other key contributors to the Heywood cause.
Townsend looked cool and composed in his contribution only to get out disappointingly, and Burrill again underlined that he seems a much better player when showing positive intent.
Yet the outstanding innings of the day came from Greenmount professional Kaustub Pawar, who made 80 out of a total of 120 before being crucially stumped by Hunt off Morley.
So where does it leave Heywood? They have moved up to fifth from bottom, three points ahead of Denton St Lawrence, seven clear of Greenmount and nine in front of second bottom Edgworth, with bottom club Denton West already doomed.
Four teams will be relegated and the Crimble side’s remaining four games include clashes with three of those four clubs directly below them, starting with Edgworth at Crimble on Saturday. So their fate is clearly in their own hands.
K Pawar st Hunt b Morley 80
V Batra c Pawson b McQuinn 1
O Feakes c Pawson b S Dawson 3
R Senior b S Dawson 6
T Heaton c Hunt b S Dawson 0
S Khan run out 17
L Dove c Hunt b S Dawson 15
P Heaton run out 0
C Smith not out 41
M Stewart b S Dawson 0
S Greenhalgh not out 21
Total (for 9 wkts, 50 overs) 209
Fall of wickets: 1-27, 2-43, 3-66, 4-67, 5-120, 6-124, 7-128, 8-151, 9-151
Bowling: T McQuinn 10-1-69-1, S Dawson 15-2-63-5, D Pawson 11-1-26-0, T Townsend 3-0-16-0, J Morley 11-2-33-1
A Kerr c Dove b P Heaton 24
A Dawson b Smith 15
T Townsend c Senior b Smith 47
D Pawson c Feakes b Pawar 0
S Burrill lbw b Senior 39
J Morley c Feakes b Smith 2
W Hunt not out 31
M Grogan b Senior 0
S Dawson run out 34
R Smethurst c Pawar b Stewart 1
T McQuinn not out 1
Total (for 9 wkts, 49.5 overs) 210
Fall of wickets: 1-34, 2-71, 3-74, 4-138, 5-140, 6-142, 7-145, 8-193, 9-200
Bowling: C Smith 13-2-48-3, M Stewart 12.5-1-47-1, P Heaton 7-1-37-1, K Pawar 9-0-25-1, L Dove 3-0-19-0, R Senior 5-0-22-2
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