A superb, controlled innings of 67 from professional Travis Townsend set Heywood up for an excellent 52-run defeat of Milnrow at Ladyhouse.
On a bowler-friendly, old-fashioned Milnrow pitch that looked as though it hadn’t seen the underneath of its own covers for some time, the South African produced an innings of high-quality and restraint that – along with some valuable contributions all down the order – allowed Heywood to post a total of 175 for eight off their 50 overs.
It was a score that the visiting supporters all thought was too much for Milnrow, and so it proved as they were bowled out for 123, a total which owed everything to a superb solo rearguard action from the impressive Max Power, who finished unbeaten on 47 as no one else could cope with the Heywood attack.
Riley Paterson picked up another four wickets to continue to enhance his reputation with the new ball, and Heywood picked up five points that, with Walsden losing, saw them close the gap at the top of the competitive CLL Premier Division.
As seems common these days, Bobby Cross lost the toss and was put into bat, and it was evident from the early balls this was not a wicket for the shot-makers. Andy Dawson played a couple of lusty blows, but he and Ross Zelem were unable to hit straight with any confidence on the slow Ladyhouse track.
Zelem was brilliantly caught at cover for nine, playing a shot off the hard-working Aaron Brown that would have gone far squarer on a quicker wicket, and soon after Dawson perished to the same bowler, caught behind swishing at a length ball.
Cross put his heroics of the previous day firmly to the back of his mind as he and Townsend set about setting a decent target, faced with some determined home bowling and fielding and the unfriendly track.
The pair never played with any fluency. The shots that flew for four backward of square or straight the previous day went to midwicket or extra-cover respectively, and there was always the chance one would pop or keep low.
Townsend, though, knew he could not afford to get bogged down by home pro Babar Naeem, and when the field was up he liked to use his feet to the left-armer and stroked a lovely shot over long-on for six as he made sure the scoreboard ticked over.
He lost Cross – bowled by one that kept low – and Danny Pawson failed to last long as he was the victim of a wonderful bit of fielding by Power at midwicket off Naeem, caught as he smashed a pull shot seemingly for four.
Townsend had decided that he had to bat long and he reined himself in well, playing delicate sweeps and cuts, running well and never allowing Naeem in particular to settle.
However, he continued to lose partners and he himself perished to Butler when he tried to paddle a straight one to vacant fine leg and missed it completely. His 67 was a fine example of the pro’s art.
At 150-8, two quick wickets would have meant a sub-par total, but Humza Naeem and Paterson hit well, run well and placed the ball with skill to ensure Heywood got up to 175 off their 50 overs.
It didn’t take long for Heywood to scupper the Milnrow innings, with Paterson and Townsend removing the home openers early doors.
They took another wicket apiece in their opening spells with Paterson grabbing the key wicket of Babar Naeem as he flashed at a short, wide one.
There were two wickets for Humza Naeem, and Paterson returned to pick up two more, one a marvellous one-handed catch from Pawson behind the stumps to get rid of Brown.
And Chris Kaye edged closer to his cherished record when he picked up the wicket of Yates, as Milnrow looked like being rolled for less than 90.
But while wickets tumbled at the other end, Power was playing a masterful little knock and he found an ally in number 11 Darren Smith and the pair put on 45 for the final wicket before Kaye snapped up his second wicket of the match.
This was another excellent performance from Heywood, one of their best of the season in difficult conditions.
R Zelem c Sinkinson b Brown 9
A Dawson c Yates b Brown 17
R Cross b Butler 22
T Townsend b Butler 67
D Pawson c Power b B Naeem 11
D Latham c Smith b B Naeem 8
W Hunt c Yates b B Naeem 4
S Dawson b B Naeem 0
R Paterson not out 7
H Naeem not out 17
Total (for 8 wkts, 50 overs) 175
Fall of wickets: 1-20, 2-29, 3-78, 4-104, 5-123, 6-143, 7-143, 8-150
Bowling: Brown 7-1-21-2, Butler 24-4-81-2, B Naeem 19-2-68-4
A Bartley b Townsend 8
N Sinkinson c H Naeem b Paterson 3
B Naeem c Cross b Paterson 9
M Power not out 47
Wilson c H Naeem b Townsend 0
Wilkinson c Pawson b H Naeem 0
S Dryden lbw b H Naeem 5
A Yates c Townsend b Kaye 12
J Butler b Paterson 0
A Brown c Dawson b Paterson 0
D Smith st Pawson b Kaye 16
Total (42.5 overs) 123
Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-18, 3-32, 4-34, 5-39, 6-47, 7-75, 8-78, 9-78, 10-123
Bowling: Townsend 17-5-38-2, Paterson 11-0-39-4, H Naeem 7-2-23-2, Kaye 7.5-0-21-2
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- Wickets For Kaye In Abandoned Milnrow Match
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- Townsend Knocks Over Littleborough, Before Zelem, Cross And Pawson See Heywood To Five-Point Victory
- Bowlers And Zelem Usher In Crushing Nine-Wicket Royton Victory
- Brilliant Fielding Sees Heywood To Thrilling Victory
- Bowlers Set Up Crucial Win To Keep Heywood In The Hunt
- Five-Star Travis Shows He’s Hot Stuff With Bat AND Ball
- Zelem Finds Top Form To Overhaul Clifton