Heywood’s 4th team travelled to Chorlton to play South West Manchester for their fourth match in the inaugural Development League and having lost the toss were asked to field first in the warm sultry conditions.
The home team got off to a flier and the young bowling attack struggled to gain any control over the attacking openers who were aided by a rapid outfield and a score of 250+ was looking on the cards. The introduction of Maz Saleem into the attack brought about a bit more control and he was rewarded with his first wicket for the club with the score on 82 in the 13th over and it wasn’t long after when he took his second wicket.
With both openers gone, the run rate started to slow a little and the young Heywood side were able to take wickets at regular intervals. The home side were eventually all out for 188 in the 38th over, a total which Heywood were happy with considering how things were looking earlier in the innings. The wickets were shared around with skipper David Hilton taking 3, Ben Coxell (on club debut) and Maz Saleem each taking 2 with 1 apiece for Jonny McCulloch, Callum Jackson and Yusuf Shafi (who was playing in his first senior game).
The score was challenging for the young side but given the good batting conditions, it was one which was reachable. Openers Matt Dearden and Charles Stanford Campbell set about the target in calm fashion and looked untroubled before Stanford Campbell fell for 9 and No3 batsman Oliver Simpson came in and played a couple of lovely shots before he too fell for 8, leaving Heywood in a bit of trouble on 28-2 in the 8th over.
The experienced Ben Coxell joined Dearden and the pair started to make the job look easy, mixing sensible defence with some lovely controlled attacking strokes and the target was starting to look well within Heywood’s compass. Unfortunately Coxell lofted a drive and was caught at cover for a well made 27 with the score on 77-3 in the 17th over.
Dearden was batting untroubled and he needed somebody to stay with him to build another partnership of substance and whilst the middle order tried manfully, wickets began to fall and the game looked up at 123-7 in the 31st over. Dearden however was not flustered and he was joined by Yusuf Shafi who gave him the support that he needed and whilst the target wasn’t threatened, they did get within 18 runs before the overs ran out with the score on 171-8. Great credit goes to Yusuf Shafi who was out for 14 on the last ball of the innings but the star of the innings was undoubtedly Matt Dearden who batted untroubled through the innings for an unbeaten 79 off 120 balls which was an outstanding effort for a young player in such sapping conditions.
So, a defeat but lots of positives to come out of the game. Player development is the focus of this newly formed team and all ten outfield players were given the opportunity to bowl and they managed to keep a lid on a score that threatened to get out of hand at one stage. Then after a long day in the field the team managed to bat their full forty overs, falling just 18 runs short. The lessons the young team will take away from this are the rewards for sticking at it in the field and the need to put a heavy price on your wicket when batting.
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