Travis Townsend put in the towering performance of the day as Heywood moved into the quarter-finals of the Wood Cup.
He bowled a marvellous spell of accurate medium pacers to take 6-11 off 10 overs to help bowl Unsworth out for 135 at Pole Lane, then hit 30 in the chase that saw his side home to a six-wicket victory.
Following the previous day’s rain, everyone was just glad to see some cricket. But what transpired was a really turgid affair and one which, through no fault of Unsworth, was a shocking spectacle.
The persistent rain had meant the pitch was inconsistent in bounce, some lifting viciously from a length, some skidding through, but all at a pedestrian pace, and it made stroke play impossible.
The outfield was also wet through and there was no value for shots played. One half of the ground barely dried during the day, and evidence of the problems Unsworth have suffered in the past was there for all to see.
Nevertheless, it was a game that needed winning and Townsend bowled superbly well to ensure Heywood would not suffer an upset.
After Humza Naeem and Riley Paterson’s opening spells came and went without any incident – except a rake of wides – Townsend removed overseas amateur Hawke with his first ball, trapping him plumb lbw.
He then proceeded to tie Unsworth up in knots, and opener Wiggans had little choice but to stay in and hope scoring got easier.
It didn’t against the slow left-armers of Chris Kaye, who finished with 1-17 off his 10, but Wiggans did get some help from Earnshaw, who hit some decent shots in his 19, and from Richards and O’Brien before he eventually fell for 48.
There were few fours hit – the outfield, as mentioned, wasn’t yielding anything except to the very sweetest of hits and to the driest areas – and only one six in the Unsworth innings as shots were extremely hard to make.
Heywood knew they would have to dig in and the loss of wickets in bundles was always a possibility.
However, captain Bobby Cross led from the front, despite losing Ross Zelem with the score on 35, and hit some nice shots when taking the aerial route or playing off the back foot.
He lost patience with the run chase well on track but with the pitch denying any batsmen freedom to play shots, and he slashed at a wide one off Clarkson when on 36.
Townsend and Danny Pawson both played some aggressive shots but both fell with the finish in sight and it was left to Andy Dawson and Paterson to take Heywood home.
It really was a game to forget. Although Unsworth as a club were hospitable and worked hard to make the ground look good, the playing surface just couldn’t cope with the appalling early-summer weather we have had and the pitch and outfield made for a poor game of cricket.
Now Heywood face Crompton at Crimble in the next round, who beat Middleton. It should be a combative affair.
J Wiggans c Dawson b Naeem 48
R Hawke lbw b Townsend 9
A Arora c Dawson b Townsend 9
C Williams c Cross b Townsend 0
T Casey c Kaye b Townsend 1
A Clarkson lbw b Townsend 0
A Taylor b Kaye 0
T Earnshaw c Pawson b Townsend 19
L Richards run out 12
J O’Brien not out 10
E Shah b Dawson 0
Total (49.2 overs) 135
Fall of wickets: 1-22, 2-38, 3-38, 4-42, 5-43, 6-48, 7-87, 8-117, 9-135, 10-135
Bowling: Paterson 10-2-26-0, Naeem 10-0-33-1, Townsend 10-5-11-6, Kaye 10-3-17-1, Lovell 6-1-19-0, Dawson 3.2-0-22-1
R Cross c Wiggans b Clarkson 36
R Zelem c Wiggans b Richards 18
T Townsend c Hawke b Clarkson 30
D Pawson c Arora b O’Brien 24
R Paterson not out 4
A Dawson not out 3
Total (for 4 wkts, 41.3 overs) 136
Fall of wickets: 1-35, 2-87, 3-109, 4-131
Bowling: Williams 10-2-20-0, O’Brien 8.3-0-36-1, Richards 8-1-28-1, Shah 8-2-22-0, Clarkson 7-0-24-2
- Chanceless Cross Makes Light Work Of Unsworth
- Perfect Record Gone, But Heywood Still Powering Along
- Brilliant Heywood Simply Too Hot For Unsworth To Handle
- Heywood Fall Short As Unsworth Prove Too Good At Home
- Heywood Frustrated Again As Rain Ruins Walsden Clash
- Heywood Crush Werneth To Confirm Gulf In Class
- Pawson Sets Tone For Heywood CC’s Fourth Win In A Row
- Measured Townsend Plays Perfect Innings To Put Heywood On Road To Victory
- Bowlers Hold Nerve To Record Crucial Victory
- Townsend Knocks Over Littleborough, Before Zelem, Cross And Pawson See Heywood To Five-Point Victory