Sep 112018

BY STEVE McHUGH: HEYWOOD will be keeping their fingers crossed that the weather does not interfere with the final day of the Greater Manchester Premier League programme for a second successive week.

Saturday’s total washout of the fixtures leaves Heywood precariously positioned in the fourth and final relegation place, with Denton West, Edgworth and Greenmount already doomed.

Clifton are the visitors this coming Saturday when only at least a five-point victory will give the Crimble side a chance of avoiding the drop into Division One for a second time in three seasons.

So what are the survival scenarios for Heywood?

The table shows them two points behind Denton St Lawrence, whose final game brings a tricky visit to Worsley area side Roe Green.

A further two points in front of DSL are Egerton, who have a last game home clash with Flixton, the Premier champions for the past two seasons.

Egerton’s star player is leg-spinner Matt Parkinson, but he will almost certainly be required by Lancashire Lightning for finals day of the T20 Blast at Edgbaston when the Red Rose side kick off proceedings against the Worcestershire Rapids.

That certainly does not help the Bolton area side’s chances, but will Flixton be motivated to the same extent as the rest of the season now that they have completed an exceptional double?

And will some of the teams involved in the relegation dogfight possibly be weakened by players making themselves unavailable after booking tickets for the T20 Blast finals?

Clifton, meanwhile, are five points in front of Heywood and still not mathematically safe.

Heywood can take heart from their victory at Clifton back in June, when Aussie fast bowler Tom McQuinn turned his best bowling figures of the season with 7-32.

But the visitors have in Gareth Cross a professional who has had an exceptional season backed by a strong-looking supporting cast on paper.

It certainly promises to be an exciting if nervy finale at Crimble.

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