Having lost the toss, a young Heywood team took the field against a more experienced Elton side with the Elton ground looking a picture, and a sizeable gathering of spectators set to enjoy a good afternoon’s cricket in the warm sunshine.
Few could have forecast what was to follow with Heywood’s young opening pair of Tom Pagett and Ethan Clarkson producing spells of bowling which proved too much for Elton’s top order. Backed by some keen ground fielding and two particularly good catches from Callum Jackson and Aaron Russell, the innings was in tatters at 29-7 when the openers came to the end of their spells with Pagett and Clarkson having taken 3 and 4 wickets respectively.
It was left to P Kent, ably supported by M Pettit and B Astley to repair the innings which they did to great effect against Heywood’s young change bowlers who stuck to their task and made it difficult for the batsmen. The innings was ultimately wrapped up for 116 in the 38th over with Matt Dearden taking the final 3 wickets. A mention should be made for young Callum Jackson who although he didn’t take any wickets, bowled 6 tidy overs for just 16 runs at a time when the batsmen were trying to increase the rate.
The Heywood team were confident of knocking off the runs at the interval and with the opening pair putting on 50 in the first 16 overs, a comfortable victory appeared likely. However, the loss of a few quick wickets and a cautious approach adopted against a bowling attack that suddenly began bowling tighter, started to get the nerves jangling a little among the Heywood following. They need not have worried as seemingly the experienced Joey O’Neill had things under control and made an excellent unbeaten 40 to take Heywood over the line in the penultimate over with young Tom Moulton giving valuable, patient support. Earlier Matt Hood had made a valuable 45 including two typically lusty sixes.
This was a good first win and another valuable learning experience for the young side which should provide confidence going forward.
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