Report by Steve McHugh: A WELL-below strength Heywood side were comprehensively beaten by an improving Rochdale outfit at Crimble.
The 97-run victory for the visitors underlined their superiority for most of the game, and few of even the most diehard Heywood supporters can deny that.
Rochdale rattled up a challenging 191 on the back of a vital 70 by South African professional Wes Lansdale, who was dropped at slip when 25.
But a depleted Heywood attack of just Simon Dawson, Danny Pawson and professional Rob Nicol stuck at it to restrict Rochdale to a score under 200 – which looked likely to be much greater at the halfway point of the innings when they were 109-2.
Another setback came when Chris Booth pulled a hamstring early in the Rochdale innings and took no further part in the game.
So Heywood were indebted to Australian visitor Steve Wright, who had been in the country for only a few hours on holiday with the club’s ex-overseas amateur Hamish Paterson, for stepping into the fielding breach and claiming the last catch of the innings.
Heywood then needed their top order to perform again, with Bobby Cross and Pawson in terrific form recently. But the task was almost herculean after the first 20 minutes when Tom Avery got rid of Wes Hunt, Cross and Pawson – with Mo Bux claiming Nicol’s scalp.
That left the home side on 12-4 and a target of 137 to rescue a 75 per cent batting point became a realistic aim. And Liam Mason stepped forward with his best innings to date to give some hope of salvaging something from the wreckage.
Mason looked far more assured in the No 5 spot, and fully deserved the enthusiastic reception from the home crowd for his unbeaten 56 out of a final total of 94.
The measure of the Rochdale attack’s domination, however, was that Dale Latham and Simon Dawson, the latter batting at No 9, were the only other Heywood players to reach double figures.
The positives for a Heywood side containing four players who have been in the second team for the greater part of the season were the way the bowlers stuck to their task.
Pawson with four wickets again underlined what a fine job he has done with the ball since passing on the wicketkeeping gloves to Dale Latham.
And Mason can only gain confidence from his impressive contribution.
J Avery c Mason b S Dawson 14
J Henderson b Pawson 4
W Lansdale c Latham b S Dawson 70
M Bend c Mason b Pawson 36
A Dawson c and b Nicol 0
D Faulkner c Latham b Nicol 12
M Harling c Mason b Pawson 11
T Avery c Cross b S Dawson 14
J O’Neill not out 14
D Highton b Nicol 1
M Bux c sub b Pawson 1
Total (48.3 overs) 191
Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-44, 3-110, 4-113, 5-143, 6-145, 7-159, 8-186, 9-190, 10-191
Bowling: S Dawson 18-2-75-3, D Pawson 15.3-3-54-4, R Nicol 15-1-59-3
R Cross c O’Neill b T Avery 4
W Hunt lbw b T Avery 0
R Nicol lbw b Bux 5
D Pawson c O’Neill b T Avery 0
L Mason not out 56
D Latham c A Dawson b Bux 10
B Thulborn b Highton 2
S Evans b Highton 1
S Dawson c Bend b Highton 12
J Mills b Harling 0
C Booth did not bat (inj)
Total (33.2 overs) 94
Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-8, 3-12, 4-12, 5-47, 6-62, 7-68, 8-88, 9-94
Bowling: M Bux 12-7-25-2, T Avery 8-3-20-3, M Harling 8-2-18-1, D Highton 5-1-29-3
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