REPORT BY ROGER SMETHURST: Heywood 3rds took on Egerton at Heywood on Sunday knowing that they faced a significantly tougher test than their win against Brooksbottom the previous weekend.
With Tom Sullivan unavailable Heywood made one change, welcoming back veteran Dave Hilton following his return to the UK after five years working abroad.
Heywood won the toss and chose to bat with Matt Hood continuing his rich vein of form in the previous weekend, making a fluent 62 before he became the fourth Heywood batsmen to fall with the score on 102.
At this stage Heywood looked untroubled and seemed set to pose a challenging total. But a sudden flurry of wickets as Hilton, Tom Pagett and Ethan Clarkson fell in quick succession left the home team in the precarious position of 121–7.
While this collapse was ongoing, Connor McNally – another of Heywood’s promising Under-14s – had been steadily gaining in confidence.
He was joined by Will Taylor and the two of them put on a crucial partnership of 31 before McNally fell for 42, his highest score in senior cricket.
Taylor continued to value his wicket and finished unbeaten on 18 as Heywood posted a respectable 167-8 from their 40 overs.
Chief wicket taker for Egerton was Lancashire Under-16s player Cian Dickinson who, bowling tidy leg-spin, finished with figures of 4-22.
Egerton’s reply began in an aggressive manner with Dickinson again showing why he is playing representative cricket and also opening the batting for the first team.
He refused to let the Heywood opening attack of Rick Purser and John Keyworth settle. And, although Purser did snare a wicket for Heywood when Egerton had reached 51, it was only when Heywood’s change bowlers of Will Taylor and Tom Pagett came into the attack that the home team got back into the game.
Taylor snared Dickinson for 59 with one of the worst balls of the day that prompted the Lancashire man hit to the safe hands of Joey O’Neill at ‘cow corner’. And at 72–2 Heywood sensed they were still in the game.
Taylor and Pagett both picked up another wicket and finished with creditable figures of 2-26 and 1-17 respectively from their allotted spells, and as the game entered the last 10 overs the result was in the balance.
Then, when Ethan Clarkson picked up Heywood’s fifth wicket, Egerton’s nerves became apparent as they sent in experienced captain Paul Stafford to try and finish the game.
This he ultimately did with two overs to spare but only after surviving a difficult caught and bowled chance when he was yet to score.
At the other end, another of Egerton’s young players Lewis Rawsthorn anchored the innings and finished unbeaten on 47 after a very patient innings that proved crucial for his side.
Despite this being a close defeat Heywood can look back on the game with a number of positives. McNally showed great promise in his innings, Pagett and Clarkson continue to show much improvement with the ball and Taylor turned in a solid all-round display.
The 3rds have no game this coming weekend and their next fixture is away at Greenmount on Sunday, July 28.
HEYWOOD 3rd X1
M Hood c Patel b Dickinson 62
M Dearden lbw b Stafford 2
R Smethurst lbw b Dickinson 9
J O’Neill b Dickinson 11
C McNally c and b Patel 42
T Pagett c and b Rawsthorn 0
D Hilton c Partington b Dickinson 0
E Clarkson c Thornley b Connor 1
W Taylor not out 18
R Purser not out 5
Total (for 8 wkts, 40 overs) 167
Fall of wickets: 8-1, 49-2, 77-3, 102-4, 108-5, 108-6, 121-7, 152-8
Bowling: A Patel 9-1-35-1, F Stafford 5-0-17-1, G Taylor 7-0-28-0, C Dickinson 8-1-22-4, L Rawsthorn 5-1-24-1, H Connor 3-0-14-1, A Platt 3-0-12-0
EGERTON 3rd X1
C Dickinson c O’Neill b Taylor 59
T Partington c O’Neill b Purser 7
A Patel c Smethurst b Taylor 15
L Rawsthorn not out 47
J Whittaker c Clarkson b Pagett 2
A Thornley c Dearden b Clarkson 11
P Stafford not out 19
Total (for 5 wkts, 37.2 overs) 171
Fall of wickets: 51-1, 75-2, 92-3, 111-4, 139-5
Bowling: R Purser 9-2-41-1, J Keyworth 6-0-34-0, W Taylor 6-0-26-2, T Pagett 7-0-17-1, D Hilton 6.2-0-26-0, E Clarkson 3-0-19-1
- None Found