HEYWOOD got back in the winning groove with a nine-wicket stroll over struggling Unsworth at Pole Lane.
Jack Morley marked his return from England Under-19s duty with a clinical all-round performance, claiming 6-22 with his left-arm spin as Unsworth collapsed from 40-0 to 75 all out.
Then the 18-year-old weighed in with an unbeaten 26 when the visitors raced to 77-1 from just 17.3 overs.
The welcome six points moves Heywood back up to fourth in Division 1A of the Greater Manchester League, six points behind leaders Moorside and only three adrift of joint second-placed Glodwick and Denton West.
Yet they will have far sterner tests in the last quarter of the season than Unsworth, marooned at the bottom of the table and looking booked for relegation.
The home side started well enough as they reached 40-0 at the end of the 13th over despite the best efforts of Heywood’s makeshift opening attack of Sohail Asildada and James Mills.
Both bowlers showed promise, however, Asildada conceding just nine runs from his seven-over spell and Mills – promoted from the second team – turning in a 0-23 return in six overs.
Yet once Morley teamed up in the attack with professional Faisal Iqbal the picture changed dramatically.
Gary Jones was run out from the first ball of Iqbal’s opening over as he and Steve McGuinness were left stranded at the same end, then McGuinness became the first of four lbw victims in the innings as Morley started his wrecking spree.
It was a procession from thereon in his spell of 13.3 overs with only Indian professional Amogh Desai providing any resistance.
Morley proved virtually unplayable to the Unsworth middle and lower order, while Iqbal – who finished with 3-12 from his 11 overs – gave him excellent support at the other end.
And last man out for 22 was Desai, who, seemingly in frustration, took an uncharacteristic swipe at Morley but only succeeded in top-edging a skier – enabling wicketkeeper Wes Hunt to sprint to square leg and take a comfortable catch.
The victory target looked a congenial one, and so it proved.
The opening partnership of James Kettleborough and Bobby Cross motored to 21 after six overs, so it was a surprise when the latter mistimed a lofted drive and Jones ran backwards from mid-off to take a fine catch.
That only brought in Morley to join Kettleborough and there were no further casualties, Kettleborough finishing the run chase with a six to end up with 31 in 50 balls and Morley looking assured in his 26 from 37 balls.
Heywood’s next assignment is at Crimble on Saturday at home to Austerlands, second bottom of the table, before a five-game run-in in their bid to finish in the top two in the table and regain promotion back to the Premier League.
G Jones run out 7
S McGuinness lbw b Morley 20
S Hetherington st Hunt b Morley 2
A Desai c Hunt b Morley 22
M Shah lbw b Iqbal 1
Unsure lbw b Morley 1
A Robinson b Morley 0
A McGuinness c Cross b Morley 0
A Earnshaw b Iqbal 5
M Garner lbw b Iqbal 0
Q Shah not out 0
Total (37.3 overs) 75
Fall of wickets: 1-40, 2-40, 3-48, 4-56, 5-60, 6-60, 7-62, 8-69, 9-75, 10-75
Bowling: S Asildada 7-3-9-0, J Mills 6-0-23-0, J Morley 13.3-6-22-6, F Iqbal 11-4-12-3.
J Kettleborough not out 31
R Cross c Jones b McGuinness 15
J Morley not out 26
Total (for 1 wkt, 17.3 overs) 77
Fall of wicket: 1-21
Bowling: A McGuinness 5-0-19-1, M Garner 4-0-19-0, A Desai 4-0-24-0, S McGuinness 4-0-15-0
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