Jun 222015

Rob Nicol enjoyed his best all-round performance of the season, scoring 50 and taking 1-15 off 10 tight overs

A CLINICAL run chase saw Heywood reach the quarter-finals of the J W Lees Wood Cup on July 12 – when they will be away to Littleborough.

Bobby Cross and professional Rob Nicol shared an unbeaten century partnership to guide the visitors to 190-1 at Radcliffe, and pass the home score of 186-6 with five overs to spare.

Cross was his usual unflappable self with an almost flawless 90, and Nicol showed what he is really capable of with a 56 that grew in authority throughout his innings.

That, following his best bowling spell of the season which earned 1-15 from his 10 overs, earned the New Zealander the Man-of-the-Match award and the promise of even better things to come.

Radcliffe probably posted a bigger total than they should have, with Heywood spilling a couple of key catches that should really have been taken.

John Keyworth, again filling the breach after impressing in the Lancs KO Cup first round defeat of Royton, did another fine job with the first two wickets and bowled his 10 overs straight through for a creditable return of 2-33.

And it was then Nicol who brought control to the middle overs with his impressive off-spin spell, which was rewarded with the wicket of home professional Raheel Majeed.

Overall, however, it was not Heywood’s most accomplished all-round display in the field, and many of the significant Heywood travelling support thought that chasing almost 190 would be far from easy.

But Heywood made it look so, with Cross and Wes Hunt laying the foundations with a half-century opening partnership.

We all know about Cross, but Hunt impressed in his new role and a straight driven boundary was one of the shots of the day. He would have hoped to cash in with even more than an excellent 26 after doing much of the hard work, but his contribution gives much reason to hope that he can settle into a different niche.

If Radcliffe then thought that they had a glimmer of hope, it was soon snuffed out by Cross and Nicol. They paced things perfectly, Cross looking immovable at one end and Nicol settling down after a patient start.

Once the popular professional had slapped a boundary through the covers to take him into double figures he really started to show what he is capable of, and his 50 brought generous applause from Heywood fans willing him to do well.

Cross, meanwhile, motored on relentlessly, and the fact that Heywood did not need to call on bang-in-form captain Danny Pawson underlined their superiority.

A Ul-Haq c Latham b Keyworth 3
U Malik c Nicol b Keyworth 1
R Majeed c Pawson b Nicol 36
R Riaz lbw b Pawson 73
S Ur-Rehman c Cross b A Dawson 31
C Berry b A Dawson 9
J Dixon not out 11
P Close not out 3
Extras 19
Total (for 6 wkts, 50 overs) 186
Fall of wickets: 1-3, 2-6, 3-64, 4-126, 5-146, 6-181
Bowling: S Dawson 10-2-43-0, J Keyworth 10-3-33-2, A Dawson 10-0-50-2, R Nicol 10-4-15-1, D Pawson 10-2-34-1
R Cross not out 90
W Hunt lbw b Majeed 26
R Nicol not out 56
Extras 18
Total (for 1 wkt, 45 overs) 190
Fall of wickets: 1-84
Bowling: J Dixon 10-2-29-0, S Ur-Rehman 9-1-34-0, A Ul-Haq 8-0-34-0, U Malik 8-0-44-0, R Majeed 9-2-41-1, R Williams 1-0-9-0

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