Wes Hunt continued to shine at Redbrook with the match-winning performance as Heywood Seconds thrashed Rochdale on their own turf on Saturday.
Hunt, 19, had won the man of the match award last week in the delayed Under-18s Taylor Cup final victory over the same opponents.
And on a pitch that has clearly benefited from some clement weather, he hit a measured and classy 81 to set Heywood on the way to a total of 204-7, which proved far too much for Rochdale who were dismissed for 131.
Delighted captain Roger Smethurst said: “This was a fantastic win for the team, based on a fine innings by Wes, well supported by Chris Booth (32 not out).
“The bowlers then put in another strong performance on what was a quality wicket.
“Simon Dawson bowled as quickly as I have seen anyone bowl in our second team, Sam Byrne bowled with control and was a real threat, and Rick Purser and Dom Fawcett got us off to a strong start against a very aggressive Rochdale top order.
“This was as good a performance as any over the last 18 months, especially as we were missing Matt Hood and Lee Grogan, against what was a very strong Rochdale side.”
Smethurst won the toss and decided to bat on what was a hard, fast wicket, putting Heywood’s batting woes from previous weeks behind him.
It was quite apparent Rochdale had selected a strong side and former first team bowler Anthony Clough soon got rid of Simon Dawson.
He then bowled one of the quickest spells seen by the second team in the last few years which reduced Smethurst to playing a game of survival “in a manner Geoff Boycott might have been proud of”, while “Hunt leaned on his bat for 5 consecutive overs at the non-strikers end”, scoring at will against Rochdale’s other opening bowler Sohail.
The key point in the game came when Hunt was on 12; he went to drive at a wide half volley and was dropped at backward point by Jack Duffy. It was a costly miss.
Following Smethurst’s dismissal Sean Burrill came in and looked in good touch, getting to 22 before then getting himself out caught at mid on.
Adam Fawcett again looked in before being caught miscuing a full toss and Mikey Grogan fell cheaply, before Booth came in and played his usual fluent innings.
All the time Hunt was scoring freely, playing shots around the wicket and dominating a tiring Rochdale side. With 100 in sight he eventually fell to the returning Clough, who also accounted for Dom Fawcett. It was then left to Byrne and Booth to take Heywood over 200, which looked a useful total but was possibly 30 or 40 short of where they might liked to have been.
The Rochdale innings started in spectacular fashion with Rick Purser clean bowling first ball Kelton Aughey, their promising under-18′s opener who had scored 50 only the week earlier in the cup final.
Things got even better in the second over when Dom Fawcett removed the free-scoring Rochdale captain Ahmed well caught at square leg by Burrill.
It was apparent that Rochdale had rejigged their batting line up to try and counter Purser’s threat, but Purser then removed the dangerous Paul Butterworth out lbw, before Simon Dawson then came into the attack.
Dawson started to bowl a quick, accurate spell that saw him pick up two wickets – one of which involved him taking a fantastic caught and bowled. With Purser finishing his spell with very economical figures again, Dawson switched ends and Sam Byrne came on.
All the time former first team batsman and CLL League player Ian Hague was playing with ease and looked a real danger.
However with the pair bowling tightly, backed up by good fielding, he rapidly ran out of partners with Clough eventually last man out trying to take a suicidal second run to Burrill to allow Hague to keep the strike.
This week sees Heywood at home to Royton, an under-rated team containing the experienced John Punchard and a number of talented youngsters, and then away at Middleton in the Burton Cup in what will be another tough game.
S Dawson c O’Neill b Clough 9
W Hunt c Hamilton b Clough 81
R Smethurst lbw b Hamilton 4
S Burrill c Clough b Duffy 22
A Fawcett c P Butterworth b M Helliwell 12
M Grogan b Duffy 2
C Booth not out 32
D Fawcett b Clough 2
S Byrne not out 13
Total (for 7 wkts, 50 overs) 204
Fall of wickets: 1-16, 2-51, 3-81, 4-121, 5-141, 6-170, 7-182
Bowling: Clough 15-3-46-3, Sohail 6-0-25-0, Hamilton 6-0-38-1, Duffy 10-1-35-2, M Helliwell 13-0-57-1
K Aughey b Purser 0
P Butterworth lbw b Purser 20
K Ahmed c Burrill b D Fawcett 6
J O’Neill c Purser b S Dawson 20
M Mohammed c and b S Dawson 13
I Hague not out 36
M Sohail c Hunt b S Dawson 5
J Duffy lbw b Byrne 15
M Hamilton c and b Byrne 8
M Helliwell c and b Byrne 1
A Clough run out 0
Total (38.4 overs) 131
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-13, 3-43, 4-59, 5-72, 6-80, 7-104, 8-118, 9-127, 10-131
Bowling: Purser 15-2-36-2, D Fawcett 7-0-35-1, S Dawson 10.4-0-38-3, Byrne 6-0-18-3
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