REPORT BY ROGER SMETHURST: Heywood 3rd X1 took on a youthful Astley Bridge team on Sunday at Crimble and won a close game thanks to a crucial last wicket partnership of 25 between John Keyworth and 14-year-old Callum Jackson.
As Keyworth is not normally known for his resilience with the bat, this proved to be a fantastic effort from ‘The Reverend’ as he played his last game for the Crimble side before moving down South to start a new job in Oxford.
Having been asked to bat, Matt Hood got the home team off to a flier playing in his usual aggressive manner and raced to 21 before becoming the first Heywood wicket to fall.
In what became a strange innings Heywood scored at more than five runs per over but consistently lost wickets at regular intervals, with only Mikey Grogan able to score and remain at the crease for any length of time.
When he fell for 41 Heywood were in deep trouble at 124-9, but thanks to some clean hitting from Keyworth and excellent running between the wickets by Jackson the final pair dragged Heywood up to a respectable score.
The total in fact reached 149 before Jackson was eventually bowled with nine overs of the innings still remaining for a battling six, Keyworth remaining unbeaten on 19.
Keyworth then grabbed an early wicket for Heywood as they set about defending their total, but this proved to be his final hoorah as inconsistency saw him removed from the attack and replaced by veteran Dave Hilton.
Tom Pagett showed greater consistency at the other end and eventually finished with figures of 2-20 from his seven overs as Astley Bridge, like the home team earlier, lost wickets with regularity.
Accurate bowling in the middle overs from Hilton and Olivia Thomas helped keep the pressure on the visitors, who were forced to take risks as the required run rate rapidly climbed to six an over.
Excellent ground fielding from Connor McNally and unconventional wicket-keeping by Roger Smethurst brought about three key middle-order dismissals, and it quickly became apparent that the total was going to be beyond the visitors’ lower order.
There was still time, however, for Jackson to bowl a frugal four-over spell and Jacob Kaye to pick up a couple of wickets with his improving off-spin before the Astley Bridge innings closed 16 runs shy of their target.
The 3rds have no game this coming weekend and have two games remaining in a season that has seen a number of youth players take massive steps forward.
Captain Roger Smethurst passed on his thanks to John Keyworth for his efforts with the club and noted that, despite some struggles in the last 12 months, John had always made himself available for selection for any team and will be badly missed by the club.
The Club wishes John and his wife Helen good luck for the future.
HEYWOOD 3rd X1
M Hood b Akhtar 21
M Dearden lbw b Akhtar 7
J Kaye c Hitchen b Akhtar 3
O Thomas b Akhtar 7
C McNally b Patel 12
M Grogan c Patel b Akhtar 41
R Smethurst b Akhtar 1
D Hilton lbw b Patel 6
T Pagett b Patel 5
J Keyworth not out 19
C Jackson b Mohammed 6
Total (31.3 overs) 149
Fall of wickets: 25-1, 30-2, 39-3, 64-4, 64-5, 69-6, 104-7, 118-8, 124-9, 148-10
Bowling: H Akhtar 9-1-36-3, H Mohammed 5.3-0-28-1, H Akhtar 5-0-9-3, H Patel 2-0-20-0, I Patel 5-1-22-1, M Patel 5-0-30-2
ASTLEY BRIDGE 3rd X1
M Patel b Keyworth 17
H Akhtar c Hood b Pagett 21
M Shahid c Smethurst b Pagett 9
H Akhtar run out 28
T Khan st Smethurst b Thomas 5
R Hitchen st Smethurst b Kaye 27
I Patel not out 11
H Mohammed b Kaye 3
A Khan run out 2
J Bailey not out 1
Total (for 8 wkts, 40 overs) 133
Fall of wickets: 20-1, 46-2, 51-3, 63-4, 108-5, 120-6, 129-7, 131-8
Bowling: J Keyworth 6-0-29-1, T Pagett 7-1-20-2, D Hilton 9-1-22-0, O Thomas 6-1-19-1, C Jackson 4-0-13-0, J Kaye 5-0-21-2, M Grogan 3-0-7-0
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