Captain Ben Thulborn led from the front to take Heywood under-15s to area National KO Cup victory at Crimble.
The Heywood opening bat made a smart, retired 52 to take Heywood past Royton’s decent total of 103 off 20 overs, and set up a clash with the Saddleworth League winners in the next stage of the competition.
He was well aided and abetted by Morgan Kay, the all-rounder following up superb bowling figures of 2-7 off four overs with an unbeaten 43 as Heywood reached 105 for the loss of just two wickets.
It looked like being a tough chase for Heywood as Royton overcame a very good opening burst from Kay and left-arm seamer James Mills.
The pair bowled accurately to the talented pair of Mitchell and Snape, with Mills repeatedly beating the bat. He has to cut out his no balls, though.
They played their way through the opening burst, though, and runs started to flow as they hit straight and well as some of Heywood’s bowlers failed to bowl with the control they are capable of.
However, and despite some poor fielding, Heywood never let them get away. Mills came back to get the key wicket of Mitchell, Keelan Nugent removed the dangerous Tesz and a two-wicket over from the excellent Kay restricted Royton to 103-4 off their 20 overs.
Thulborn set the tone for the Heywood reply, playing a beautiful shot backward of point for four in Tesz’ first over, and with Kay’s characteristic bludgeons through and over the leg-side field, Heywood moved inexorably to their target.
While Kay is about power and instinct, Thulborn is the more classical batsman and some of his shots through the off-side were a pleasure to behold.
He kept Kay on the straight and narrow, and Thulborn received a huge roar of applause from the excellent home crowd after bringing up his 50 with another classy shot through point.
Heywood lost Nugent, unfortunately adjudged lbw first ball, and Mills, bowled by a vicious Tesz yorker, but Danny James again added urgency to the running and he and Kay saw Heywood home to a great win – they are still unbeaten this season – with almost three overs to spare.
W Mitchell b Mills 33
J Snape c Thulborn b Kay 44
A Tesz b Nugent 7
A Boardman lbw b Kay 0
J Jackson not out 3
R Hadfield not out 0
Total (for 4 wkts, 20 overs) 103
Fall of wickets: Mills 4-0-11-1, Kay 4-1-7-2, Thulborn 4-0-17-0, Joesbury 2-0-21-0, Morley 2-0-13-0, Nugent 2-0-15-1, Taylor 2-0-17-0
B Thulborn retired 52
M Kay not out 43
K Nugent lbw b Boardman 0
J Mills b Tesz 1
D James not out 0
Total (for 2 wkts, 17.1 overs) 105
Bowling: Tesz 3-0-14-1, Jackson 2.1-0-16-0, Hadfield 2-0-12-0, Corless 2-0-17-0, Mitchell 4-0-23-0, Boardman 4-0-21-1
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