HEYWOOD had a potential winning position blasted from their hands as Flowery Field leapfrogged them to the top of Division One of the Greater Manchester League.
The visitors looked set to restrict their title rivals to a reasonable target until home professional Michael Burns was joined by Australian recruit Paddy Hammond at 156-8 with just 11 overs and two balls of the innings left.
What followed was carnage as the duo put together a stand of 94 in 11 overs.
Hammond smashed 51 from 33 balls with three sixes and five boundaries before being ninth out at 250-9.
And Burns – well known to Heywood from his days at Radcliffe and Littleborough in the Central Lancashire League – remained unbeaten on 69 from 71 balls with two sixes and eight boundaries as Flowery Field rattled up 253-9 from their 50 overs.
It was still far from an impossible victory target in free-scoring conditions and Heywood did have their moments in the run chase.
Andy Kerr and West Hunt laid a solid if uneventful base with an opening stand of 45 before the former was smartly caught for 24 by Keiron Lawton inches from the mid-wicket boundary rope.
But that only brought Bobby Cross to the wicket and he followed up his notable contribution of six wicket-keeping catches in the Flowery Field innings with a superb impetus to the Heywood charge.
He raced to an impressive 53 off 37 balls with three sixes and five fours, and at 123-1 and just less than half the overs left Heywood could be considered favourites to take the match points.
Then came the second turning point of the game.
Alex Dolly, another Australian recruit, was brought into the attack to bowl brisk off-spinners around the wicket, and his destructive spell eventually settled the outcome.
Cross went to a miscued sweep to backward square leg, and worse was to follow as far as Heywood were concerned.
Hunt was bowled for 40 and skipper Danny Pawson fell the same way for a duck, a rare blemish for the latter in an otherwise exceptional season.
Dolly also went on to account for Sean Burrill and Andy Dawson to finish with 5-48 from 10 overs – and that was to prove decisive.
Heywood eventually folded for 223, 31 runs short of their target with still 3.1 overs left, with only Travis Townsend (24), Burrill (26) and Mikey Witts (13) the others to reach double figures.
It had all looked so promising earlier in the day when the Heywood bowlers toiled manfully after the home side won what was to prove a crucial toss.
Pawson proved the pick of the bowlers with a 4-55 return from 12 overs to help keep things under control – until that late Burns-Hammond destruction act.
O Feakes c R Cross b S Dawson 20
J Garde c R Cross b Pawson 0
A Dolly c R Cross b K Cross 22
K Lawton c R Cross b Pawson 38
S Gibson c R Cross b A Dawson 7
S Wharton c Pawson b A Dawson 7
M Burns not out 69
J Williams b Pawson 1
D Williams c R Cross b Pawson 0
P Hammond c Hunt b A Dawson 51
R Nadeem not out 3
Total (for 9 wkts, 50 overs) 253
Fall of wickets: 1-25, 2-37, 3-64, 4-89, 5-105, 6-129, 7-132, 8-156, 9-250
Bowling: S Dawson 11-0-69-1, D Pawson 12-2-55-4, K Cross 5-0-25-1, A Dawson 14-1-67-3, T Townsend 8-0-36-0
A Kerr c Lawton b Garde 24
W Hunt b Dolly 40
R Cross c Gibson b Dolly 53
T Townsend c Garde b Burns 24
D Pawson b Dolly 0
S Burrill c and b Dolly 26
A Dawson c Burns b Dolly 9
M Witts run out 13
D Latham c Burns b Hammond 8
S Dawson c Burns b Hammond 8
K Cross not out 1
Total (46.5 overs) 223
Fall of wickets: 1-45, 2-123, 3-133, 4-137, 5-165, 6-179, 7-201, 8-210, 9-222, 10-223
Bowling: M Burns 14-2-46-1, P Hammond 11.5-3-45-2, J Garde 5-0-40-1, R Nadeem 6-0-40-0, A Dolly 10-2-48-5
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