Heywood seconds fell at the first round of their defence of the Burton Cup at Middleton.
With a team lacking an experienced batsman or two, Heywood wanted a small target to chase down after losing the toss and being told to field by the home side.
And on the good Middleton wicket, the home batsmen posted a total of 208, too much for Roger Smethurst’s side.
Heywood were forced to field on the hottest day of the year and despite Rick Purser settling into his usual miserly spell Heywood were unable to secure an early breakthrough.
Middleton had reached 56 -0 when, following drinks, both openers went in quick succession. Pete Foden was well caught by Smethurst off Simon Dawson and then Gareth Hughes was bowled by Dom Fawcett.
This brought Middleton captain Rob Bennett to the crease, who was watchful against Purser, who had brought back into the attack to try and secure further breakthroughs.
Heywood were unable to pick up quick wickets with three catches dropped, one of which off Bennett would later prove crucial.
Heywood settled into an approach of containment, with Grogan and Smethurst happy to go for singles as Middleton looked to be struggling to set a decent total having reached 140 – 3 with only 6 overs to spare.
However, the dismissal of Matty Collins brought the dangerous Mark Buckley to the crease and with Bennett they savagely attacked the Heywood bowling taking over 40 runs off the last 4 overs with Dawson, Smethurst & Fawcett unable to contain their aggressive hitting.
This left Heywood chasing 209 to win, a total that was probably below-par on a good wicket but would be testing for a batting line up that has struggled to fire this season.
Heywood’s reply started well with Hood and Dawson looking untroubled until Hood picked the wrong ball to try and hit and was caught at mid-off.
Dawson followed shortly afterwards in similar fashion and it was apparent that Heywood required their misfiring middle order to stand up and be counted
However, further wickets fell in the face of tight bowling from experienced former first team bowlers Buckley and Hughes, who had strangely been overlooked for first team selection despite Middleton having an under-strength attack at Crimble.
Dom Fawcett’s recent struggles with the bat continued and when Sean Burrill was out lbw, after a lengthy review by the umpire, Heywood were in deep trouble.
Adam Fawcett & Mikey Grogan set about repairing the damage and both appeared relatively untroubled picking up ones and twos and putting bad balls away.
However having reached 18 Fawcett unfortunately dragged a wide ball onto his stumps and Grogan fell trying to pull a short ball only to be clean bowled to leave Heywood in deep trouble.
Third XI captain Rob Morley lasted only two balls before being bowled by part time bowler Foden who was bowling a key spell for Middleton.
last hopes rested with Booth and Smethurst and these eventually fell with Booth holing out to deep midwicket off and Smethurst trying to hit spinner Foden with the run rate climbing.
When last man Mills was bowled. Heywood found themselves on the wrong end of a heavy defeat.
A disappointed Smethurst said: “This was a disappointing performance from last year’s cup winners. Having lost the toss Heywood struggled when fielding in hot conditions, appearing lethargic with their ground fielding and dropping crucial catches.
“Purser was the pick of the Heywood bowlers with a, with Simon Dawson bowling a tidy spell despite carrying knee and hand injuries and Dom Fawcett also tight in his first spell.
“After solid starts too many Heywood batsmen failed to go on and play the big innings that was needed.
“The Middleton bowlers performed with far more consistency as a unit in comparison to the Heywood attack, which was badly exposed having lost Sam Byrne and Lee Grogan from last year’s team.”
Heywood are back in league action on Saturday against a strong Norden team who are currently unbeaten in all competitions.
Middleton 208-5 (Bennett 77, Foden 33, Purser 0-14, Dawson 1-22, D Fawcett 2-44)
Heywood 151 (Grogan 23, Foden 3-11)
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