Chris Kaye, so used to being Heywood’s saviour with the ball, was the last-gasp hero with the bat at Norden’s Woodhouse Lane on Sunday.
Heywood were throwing away a game that the exceptional pair of Travis Townsend and Danny Pawson had set up for a big win over their biggest local rivals, who had posted a total of 230-5 off 50 overs.
From 188-3, Heywood had collapsed to 221-9 and even the most optimistic player thought the rot had firmly set in when Kaye joined Dale Latham with 10 needed to win and four overs to go. Heywood were paralysed against Chris Humphrey’s quality medium pace and pro Michael Price’s flighted and apparently innocuous offies.
But the pair edged, blocked and hurried their way to a final over where three was needed to win.
Kaye mowed one to midwicket first ball, Latham blocked three (he later admitted he was waiting for one in the right slot that didn’t come), managed to get bat on ball for a single off the fifth ball, before Kaye slapped the final ball to mid-off, set off like a man half his age and made his ground while the ball was fumbled. What a finish!
It sparked celebrations from a good crowd who had enjoyed an absorbing contest between two evenly-matched teams, and witnessed some high-quality performances, especially with the bat from both sides.
Norden won the toss and unsurprisingly elected to bat on a beautiful day, but in the back of their minds must have been last year’s T20 match when they were mauled by Andy Dawson. They knew a decent target had to be set.
Price and Pimm made a solid start before Townsend struck, Wes Hunt taking a stunning one-handed catch over his head at mid-off to get rid of overseas Pimm for 15.
Townsend then removed Harvey Fitton, who turned to walk before the umpire raised his finger for an lbw decision.
Simon North joined Price, and the pair rode their luck a number of times before settling down and putting 61 on for the third wicket. Price then took on Joe Lovell and was caught on the infamous short boundary by Travis Townsend. Always a sad way to go when unable to clear the boundary in front of the house on the shortest part of the ground, once referred to by Mark Wright as Calf Corner.
North found an ally in big Olly Makin and they started to bat really well, working the bowlers to all parts of the ground. They set Norden on their way to a big total, but some exceptional out-fielding by Heywood never let them get away.
North became Townsend’s third victim and Makin fell to Riley Paterson, and what could have been 250 quickly became 230. Eminently gettable.
Not that is seemed Heywood would do it after a poor start where they lost openers Ross Zelem and Bobby Cross with just 20 on the board.
This brought Townsend and Pawson together, and they started to show they are two of the best batsmen in the league. They played out the dangerous Humphreys and North, and then took great delight in milking Makin’s off-spinners and Norden’s second-string attack.
Townsend never likes to be pinned down and used his feet excellently to all the bowlers. He’s unafraid to take the aerial route and played some beautiful shots to Makin, Dexter Fitton et al, coming down the track to hit over long-on, then going back on to his stumps to work away the ones and twos.
Pawson is fast maturing into one of the top three amateurs in the league. He gives himself as long as possible to play the slow bowlers, and the number of times he smashed short balls off middle stump to the boundary or for ones and twos showed he was a man in command of his game.
The pair got the score motoring along and it was a shock when Townsend was caught at slip for a marvellous 80 off Pimm with the score on 156 and 75 needed.
Pawson looked like he had taken on the responsibility for seeing his side home, and he moved on imperiously to 80, and Heywood to 188 in the 38th over, before he was fired out lbw to a ball off Makin that had sent keeper Hazelhurst scampering down the leg. But he had to go.
Heywood were starting to stutter at this stage, so Andy Dawson decided to take on Makin and smashed him for 16 off an over, followed by another six off Humphries before he skied a flighted lob from Price back to the bowler. He was out for 24 with the score on 212, but he looked like he had given Heywood enough momentum to get home.
The twists continued though. Paterson was run out, Wes Hunt went first ball and Lovell and Humza Naeem both went without any significant contribution.
Latham was all the time at the other end and although he couldn’t find any fluency, he was still there and Heywood needed 10 when Kaye came in in.
The veteran edged a four off Price to mean five were needed off two overs and Humphreys bowled two wides off the penultimate over before the tension of the final over that saw Kaye hurtle home off the last ball.
It should never have gone to the last delivery, but it somehow made victory that little sweeter to have snatched it from Norden’s hands in the final throes.
M Price c Townsend b Lovell 49
S Pimm c Hunt b Townsend 15
H Fitton lbw b Townsend 0
S North lbw b Townsend 80
O Makin c Hunt b Paterson 53
G Tattersall c Lovell b Paterson 2
C Humphreys not out 13
D Fitton not out 1
Total (for 6 wkts, 50 overs) 230
Fall of wickets: 1-40, 2-41, 3-102, 4-192, 5-200, 6-226
Bowling: Paterson 10-1-46-2, Townsend 15-3-69-3, Naeem 7-0-21-0, Kaye 10-1-45-0, Lovell 8-1-40-1
R Cross c Hazlehurst b Humpreys 10
R Zelem b North 4
T Townsend c Humphreys b Pimm 80
D Pawson lbw b Makin 80
R Paterson run out 6
A Dawson c and b Price 23
D Latham not out 4
W Hunt c Hazlehurst b Price 0
J Lovell b Humphreys 3
H Naeem st Hazlehurst b Humphreys 0
C Kaye not out 8
Total (for 9 wkts, 50 overs) 231
Fall of wickets: 1-7, 2-20, 3-156, 4-188, 5-212, 6-213, 7-213, 8-219, 9-221
Bowling: Humphreys 12-4-39-3, North 6-3-14-1, Makin 11-1-63-1, Wild 2-0-23-0, D Fitton 4-0-22-0, Pimm 4-0-28-1, H Fitton 1-0-10-0, Price 10-1-31-2
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