Heywood Seconds clinched victory over Norden at Crimble in what was, to paraphrase skipper Roger Smethurst, a good-old fashioned nailbiter.
Amid controversy and acrimony, Rick Purser and Mikey Grogan put on 32 for the last wicket as Heywood chased down Norden’s 138 and claimed a crucial five points from their close rivals.
Norden batted first and suffered a massive blow when Rick Purser trapped dangerous Asif ‘Beamer’ Saeed lbw to the first ball of the innings, much to the batsman’s chagrin.
Purser and Lee Grogan bowled well, the latter picking up the crucial wicket of captain Blair Paterson, caught behind by Scott Jones, and after 25 overs Norden were 57-3.
It became apparent the wicket was low and slow, but all the while opener Buckley was pushing on and brought up his 50.
Dom Fawcett bowled and finished a good spell, but with Simon Dawson and Sam Byrne missing, Smethurst was forced to use himself and Mikey Grogan. The pair bowled exceptionally well, taking three good wickets apiece, and with Lee Grogan returning for the final wicket, Norden were all out for 138.
In reply, opening pair Fawcett and Sean Burrill found the going tough against Beamer and 15-year-old Dom Humphreys, but survived until Fawcett was given out, harshly, lbw to Humphreys.
Matt Hood helped see off the opening salvo off Beamer before he ran himself out stupidly, and then Paul Morrell started to find the spin that caused Heywood to lose wickets at regular intervals. Only Chris Booth showed any application, hitting a patient 27 before he became one of Morrell’s victims.
The game looked over at 107-9, but Mikey Grogan and Purser were resolute and with Morrell finishing his 15 overs there was some respite.
Buckley was forced to come into the attack and the pair found him a lot easier to play and brought it down to three needed off two overs.
Then controversy reared its head. Ste Wild bowled the 49th over and after Purser took a single, Mikey Grogan went to pull a short ball and hit it straight back to the bowler. Purser stood his ground, Wild dived into him and dropped the catch.
The visiting team implored the umpires to give Purser out, but they conferred and rightly adjudged Purser to have stood his ground. So upset was Wild, he went on to bowl two wides and gift Heywood the game with Purser 18 not out and Grogan 8!
Smethurst was delighted with the win, but realistic enough to know the side’s batting has to improve.
He said: “It was a good performance in the field, with all the bowlers bowling well, but the batsmen again struggled to chase down what should have been a gettable target.
“The game showed the strength of the club in that fringe players Mikey Grogan Sean Burrill both came into the team and did well.
“It was a big win with Norden being second in the league before the game, two points behind us. Victory in the end was undoubtedly down to Rick and Mikey who held their nerve in a high pressure situation.
“Next week it’s a tough game for us, as we are away at Walsden. Team selection could be interesting with Simon Dawson, Sam Byrne, Adam Fawcett all back available.”
A Saeed lbw b Purser 0
D Buckley c P Dawson b M Grogan 57
B Paterson c Jones b L Grogan 12
S Wild c P Dawson b D Fawcett 11
J Colin b Smethurst 6
P Morrell c L Grogan b Smethurst 1
J Forks lbw b M Grogan 2
R Colin c Hood b M Grogan 3
G Flemming c Booth b Smethurst 6
D Humphreys b L Grogan 16
M Saeed not out 1
Total (48.3 overs) 138
Bowling: Purser 15-5-28-1, L Grogan 10.3-4-32-2, D Fawcett 5-0-18-1, R Smethurst 9-0-32-3, M Grogan 9-0-26-3
S Burrill lbw b A Saeed 21
D Fawcett lbw b Humphreys 7
M Hood run out 19
B Thulborn b A Saeed 0
P Dawson lbw b Morrell 4
R Smethurst lbw b Morrell 0
C Booth c J Colin b Morrell 27
L Grogan lbw b Wild 0
S Jones run out 3
R Purser not out 18
M Grogan not out 8
Total (for 9 wkts, 48.4 overs) 139
Bowling: A Saeed 15-4-33-2, Humphreys 6-1-19-1, Morrell 15-2-32-3, Wild 9.4-0-26-2, Buckley 3-0-15-0
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