What a difference 24 hours made to Heywood CC!
On Saturday, Heywood were getting rolled by a game but limited Clifton side in Salford.
On Sunday, Heywood made mincemeat of a talented Middleton side, overhauling the visitors’ total of 140 for the loss of just one wicket to smash their local rivals for the third time this season and firmly put behind them the disappointments of recent weeks.
Heywood had not won since June 5, and the return to form could not have come at any better time than at home to neighbours who, although a club we share close bonds with, are always a top target for all at Crimble.
Star of the show was pro Travis Townsend. The South African has struggled to find his top form of late, although he has not been helped by others around him failing to perform.
On Sunday and in front of a big home crowd, he showed emphatically that he has class in abundance, taking two vital wickets to put the skids under Middleton then playing probably his best innings – 75 not out – of the season to lead his side to a massive victory.
With Chris Kaye picking up six wickets, it was a welcome return to form for Heywood’s key performers.
Victory had looked a distant dream as Middleton raced to 57 off 10 overs before Townsend removed Steve Davey and shortly afterwards Scott Stanworth.
This opened the door for Heywood and with Hamish Paterson finding his range, the Middleton run rate ground to a halt.
Paterson picked up pro Michael Smith and then Rob Slawson, replacing Townsend after the pro picked up a back injury, grabbed the key wicket of former Heywood all-rounder Tom Hardman. Hardman looked slightly aggrieved with the lbw decision, but it was all Slawson deserved for a superb spell from the Lake End.
With Paterson used up after an impressive spell of 1-32 off 14, on came Kaye and he capitalised on some sorry stroke play from Middleton. His 6-30 was a major tonic to Kaye and the supporters, especially as Kaye has been in need of a boost.
However, it is hard to play down the role of Slawson, who bowled magnificently to finish with 1-31 off 14 overs. He really tied the Middleton batsmen up and helped immensely in restricting the visitors to 140.
With the wicket offering something for the seamers, Middleton would have fancied their chances.
But skipper Bobby Cross pulled off a master-stroke in promoting Andy Dawson to the top of the order. Although he only scored 26, he did this in quick time and played some glorious strokes, including a truly memorable straight drive for four off Zaman.
When he went in strode Townsend. Whether it was the knowledge of having made his only century to date against Middleton earlier this season, whether it was knowing Cross was deeper in the order to add some solidity, or whether his stars were aligned correctly, Townsend looked a totally different player than of late.
With Ross Zelem able to anchor the innings in his inimitable style, Townsend flourished. From his first ball pull for four off Hardman, he looked in total control. He hit well down the ground – something which he has not done of late – and made full use of the crease to make the Middleton attack look very ordinary.
It was fitting he brought up the winning runs – albeit with his least convincing shot – and his unbeaten 75 brought forth generous applause from the many people drinking and enjoying the cricket on the patio.
It was a great victory and a real filip. And the site of the patio – without doubt the best viewing area in the CLL – full of fans and people just enjoying the day made us all hope for some more rain-free days this summer.
S Stanworth c and b Townsend 26
S Davey lbw b Townsend 24
M Smith b Paterson 6
T Hardman lbw b Slawson 1
G Walker b Kaye 1
C Smith c Cross b Kaye 22
D Core c Townsend b Kaye 1
R Jones c Townsend b Kaye 3
D Highton c Cross b Kaye 14
R Fitton b Paterson b Kaye 11
Z Zaman not out 4
Total (48.1 overs) 140
Fall of wickets: 1-57, 2-62, 3-76, 4-76, 5-91, 6-95, 7-105, 8-124, 9-131, 10-140
Bowling: Paterson 14-5-32-1, Naeem 4-0-28-0, Townsend 6-0-14-2, Slawson 14-5-31-1, Kaye 10.1-1-30-6
R Zelem not out 34
A Dawson c Stanworth b Hardman 26
T Townsend not out 75
Total (for 1 wkt, 36.5 overs) 142
Fall of wickets: 1-37
Bowling: Hardman 9.5-0-38-1, Zaman 7-0-31-0, Highton 9-1-33-0, Core 9-1-29-0, Fitton 2-0-7-0
- Cross Back To Top Form To Help Heywood Crush Middleton
- Chanceless Cross Makes Light Work Of Unsworth
- Townsend Turns On The Style, While Pawson Continues To Shine
- Dawson Leads Way To Another Win But Bowlers And Fielders Set The Tone
- Cross In Top Form As Heywood Cruise Past Flixton
- Zelem Excels As All-Round Heywood Crush Middleton
- Pawson Sets Tone For Heywood CC’s Fourth Win In A Row
- Heywood Ruthless In Demolition Of Ailing Moonrakers
- Bowlers And Zelem Usher In Crushing Nine-Wicket Royton Victory
- Heywood Look Back With Regret As Another Game Slips Through Their Fingers