REPORT BY STEVE MCHUGH: ANOTHER startlingly impressive display of left-arm spin bowling by Jack Morley paved the way to the perfect finish to Heywood’s tenure in the Central Lancashire League.
The 14-year claimed an astonishing 7-29 in 16.1 mature overs to topple the League and Cup champions for 107 in the final match of the season played at Bamford Fieldhouse – because of work started on Norden’s Woodhouse Lane ground.
Then Heywood knocked off the runs for the loss of just professional Rob Nicol for a superb 61 as they cantered to their target by nine wickets.
Ok, Norden may claim that they did not have any real incentive while Heywood certainly had, because their victory clinches fifth spot in the table which qualifies them for a place in the Lancashire Cup next season.
But, and make no mistake, Heywood earned this victory entirely on merit against a side who proved themselves the best in the CLL during 2015 and still had plenty of pride to play for.
It also underlines the emerging talent that is Morley, and proved that his six-wicket haul at Monton and Weaste at the end of August was no fluke with an even more mature performance.
He came on for the 15th over with Norden 34-2 – the feature having been the key run-out of the prolific Simon Harman via a direct hit from Dominic Humphreys at backward point – and bowled for the rest of the innings.
His control of line, length, flight and change of pace meant that none of the highly-rated Norden batting line-up were able to get after him, and he claimed some notable scalps along the way.
Ashley Gowers was stumped down the leg-side; Greg Tattersall scooped a catch to cover trying to break the stranglehold; professional Daniel Salpietro and Rehan Udwadia were caught at slip; and Simon North, Martin Smith and Dan Buckley were all bowled.
No wonder the youngster received a standing ovation, with admiring umpire Phil Ramsbottom joining in the applause, too!
Heywood’s approach to a relatively frugal run chase was careful at first, with Bobby Cross and Nicol taking few chances against Martin Smith and Hashum Malik.
But once they had got themselves in the openers went on the attack, particularly Nicol with a series of sizzling shots off Salpietro, Adam Ahmed and Simon North.
So it was a pity when Nicol, who had smashed the Norden back-up bowlers all around the Fieldhouse ground, went to a catch to point mistiming a drive trying to claim the winning hit.
That honour went instead to skipper Danny Pawson with a boundary from his only ball, with Cross undefeated on 44 at the other end and – not for the first time – making sure that there were no slip-ups in the Heywood chase.
And so ends Heywood’s involvement with the CLL, after being founder members in 1892. Perhaps, after more than 120 years, it’s an overdue time for a change in the shape of the Greater Manchester Cricket League.
S Harman run out 11
S Pimm b S Dawson 4
R Udwadia c Nicol b Morley 26
A Gowers st Pawson b Morley 8
G Tattersall c Hunt b Morley 2
D Salpietro c Nicol b Morley 3
S North b Morley 11
M Smith b Morley 7
A Ahmed st Pawson b Lovell 3
D Buckley b Morley 14
H Malik not out 5
Total (47.1 overs) 107
Fall of wickets: 9-1, 25-2, 48-3, 44-4, 57-5, 72-6, 82-7, 87-8, 89-9, 107-10
Bowling: C Humphreys 15-5-31-0, S Dawson 7-2-18-1, J Morley 16.1-7-29-7, J Lovell 9-0-27-1
R Cross not out 44
R Nicol c Udwadia b North 61
D Pawson not out 4
Total (for 1 wkt, 24.2 overs) 110
Fall of wicket: 1-106
Bowling: M Smith 6-1-10-0, H Malik 7-3-20-0, D Salpietro 3-0-21-0, A Ahmed 5-1-32-0, S North 3.2-0-27-0
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