Heywood seconds put in a poor performance all round to lose at Redbrook on Saturday.
Captain Roger Smethurst won the toss against a Rochdale side missing a couple of key players in what was a crucial game in the fight for second place.
Recent signing for them from Norden, Chris Hartley, opened the bowling and found the wicket conducive to seam bowling, clean bowling the captain early on before Simon Dawson then played a rash shot, trying to drive a wide ball that saw him caught at cover off Sohail.
Tom Blundell, returning to second team action after a long lay-off looked in good touch and was unlucky to be given out lbw to Hartley before Matt Hood then survived a very strong shout off the same bowler’s first ball.
Heywood were finding it difficult to score and a total of 140 looked a potentially match-winning one. However wickets continued to fall at regular intervals with Dom Fawcett clean bowled by an excellent yorker from Hartley, Mikey Grogan given out caught behind off Sohail and Lee Grogan clean bowled by Rochdale captain Gilbertson.
For once, the Heywood tail failed to get the side out of trouble with only Chris Booth offering any real resistance before Rick was last man out, bowled by Gilbertson with Heywood finishing on a below-par 84.
Early wickets were needed for Heywood to have any chance and Rochdale came out with intent with both openers playing aggressive shots to Dawson and Purser before good work on the cover point boundary by Blundell saw Heywood snare their first wicket.
With Purser having settled into a rhythm and Sam Byrne getting significant spin Heywood were well in the game, especially when Purser got rid of the dangerous Rochdale number three Ahmed.
However three dropped catches and a missed stumping proved costly as Rochdale eventually got home with 5 wickets down and nearly 20 overs to spare.
S Dawson c Gilbertson b Sohail 11
R Smethurst b Hartley 6
D Fawcett b Hartley 11
T Blundell lbw b Hartley 6
M Hood lbw b Sohail 3
M Grogan c O’Neill b Sohail 3
C Booth not out 8
L Grogan b Hartley 1
S Burrill b Shah 14
S Byrne b Gilbertson 4
R Purser b Gilbertson 0
Total (35.3 overs) 84
Fall of wickets: 1-16, 2-20, 3-33, 4-47, 5-52, 6-55, 7-56, 8-77, 9-82, 10-84
Bowling: Hartley 15-1-41-4, Sohail 14-2-32-3, Shah 3-2-2-1, Gilbertson 2.3-1-5-2
H Iqbal c Booth b Byrne 8
Z Shah run out 12
K Ahmed lbw b Purser 8
N Hague not out 20
M Mohammed c Smethurst b L Grogan 20
M Green b D Fawcett 1
J O’Neill not out 3
Total (for 5 wkts, 31.2 overs) 85
Fall of wickets: 1-19, 2-27, 3-33, 4-77, 5-78
Bowling: Purser 13-5-16-1, Dawson 2-0-10-0, Byrne 7-0-26-1, L Grogan 6.2-1-15-1, D Fawcett 3-0-11-0
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