Ross Zelem was simply sensational in Heywood CC’s season-opening 132-run victory at Middleton today.
In a great all-round performance – which boasted some exceptional, batting, fielding and bowling – Zelem stood out with a performance that showed the boy had become a man.
He played all the shots in the book in an innings of 94 that set Heywood up for an imposing total of 242 off 47 overs at Towncroft.
Zelem, 17, put the short ball away for two good sixes in quick succession towards the Middleton pavilion, punched and drove beautifully anything pitched up and made the spinners rue anything that was not delivered perfectly.
He shared in a scintillating partnership of 119 with Danny Pawson for the third wicket in which both dominated the Middleton attack. Zelem only perished when he tried to loft the impressive young Sadiq Mahmood straight for a maximum. He would have been forgiven for playing out a few more balls for his century, but the standing ovation he received from the Heywood faithful showed what they thought of his innings and his selflessness.
Pawson was at times devastating in his innings of 51, picking up the short ball well over square leg and smashing shots off the front foot all over Towncroft before he was dismissed by Stephen Holmes.
Bobby Cross had earlier fallen for 16 and pro Travis Townsend for 22 – given out caught behind when he thought he had missed it – but Zelem and Pawson proved there is real depth to the Heywood top order.
Then, when it looked like Heywood were faltering, overseas Riley Paterson and Wes Hunt played some cultured shots to take Heywood past 240.
It was always going to be a big ask for Middleton, and they looked doomed from the moment captain Steve Davey hit Paterson to Townsend at mid off for the Australian’s first CLL wicket for the club.
Townsend then bowled Scott Stanworth before Humza Naeem pulled off the first of two remarkable bits of fielding.
He is, in my opinion, the best all-round outfielder in the league, and the catch he pulled off running round from backward square leg to catch Middleton deputy pro Brad Wadlan was stunning.
He followed this up with an amazing caught and bowled to dismiss Grant Jones, stretching out a big right hand to hold on to a fiercely driven shot. It was the sort of stuff even James Anderson could not have pulled off.
Wickets were spread around, with Joe Lovell and Chris Kaye also claiming their share of the spoils, as Middleton were dismissed for 110.
It was a superb all-round performance from Heywood. Cross’s side have started the season where they finished off last year and it will take a good side to beat them this year. But with some good sides in the top flight of the CLL, there will be some great contests to come.
R Cross b Mahmood 16
R Zelem c R Fitton b Mahmood 94
T Townsend c Stanworth b Wadlan 22
D Pawson c Bennett b Holmes 51
A Dawson c Stanworth b Mahmood 0
R Paterson not out 12
D Latham c Core b Holmes 0
W Hunt not out 20
Total (6 wkts, 47overs) 242
Fall of wickets: 1-26, 2-84, 3-203, 4-207, 5-207, 6-212
Bowling: Mahmood 14-3-60-3, Holmes 12-0-69-2, R Fitton 4-1-23-0, Wadlan 11-0-45-1, Core 6-0-41-0
S Stanworth b Townsend 22
S Davey c Townsend b Paterson 4
B Wadlan c Naeem b Paterson 10
G Jones c and b Naeem 7
D Core c Lovell b Townsend 10
S Fitton b Lovell 15
R Jones c Pawson b Naeem 1
R Bennett c Latham b Kaye 11
S Mahmood not out 9
R Fitton run out 7
S Holmes c Latham b Lovell 4
Totsl (38.1 overs) 110
Fall of wickets: 1-16, 2-38, 3-45, 4-61, 5-62, 6-71, 7-85, 8-92, 9-100, 10-110
Bowling: Townsend 12-3-27-2, Paterson 7-2-18-2, Naeem 6-1-23-2, Lovell 7.1-2-18-2, Kaye 6-0-21-1
- Dawson Leads Way To Another Win But Bowlers And Fielders Set The Tone
- Heywood Ruthless In Demolition Of Ailing Moonrakers
- Edmeades Brilliance In Vain As Zelem And Townsend Set Up Heywood Victory
- Cross Back To Top Form To Help Heywood Crush Middleton
- Heywood Lose Out In Last Over Thriller @ Middleton
- Travis Turns On The Style As Middleton Are Humbled
- A Day To Forget For Heywood In Heavy Crimble Defeat
- Heywood Crush Werneth To Confirm Gulf In Class
- Townsend Turns On The Style, While Pawson Continues To Shine
- Zelem Finds Top Form To Overhaul Clifton