May 042021

Heywood’s 4th team travelled to Saddleworth for their second match in the inaugural Development League and having lost the toss were asked to bat first in the distinctly chilly conditions.

The experienced Roger Smethurst and promising young wicketkeeper, Charles Stanford Campbell opened the batting and got the team off to a flyer, reaching 50 off the first 10 overs before Stanford Campbell fell shortly after for a well made 24. Unfortunately the Heywood side couldn’t capitalise on this excellent start and the inexperience in the middle order and some tight bowling from the home skipper, Gallagher, began to tell and the score slumped to 83-6 after 20 overs.

Smethurst was still there however and he was using all of his experience to calmly keep one end going and when he was joined by another experienced campaigner in Lee Clarkson, it looked as though some kind of recovery was on the cards before Clarkson was adjudged LBW with the score on 108-7. Smethurst however continued in trouble free fashion and was just beginning to increase the pace when he was unfortunately run out for a fine 64 in the 35th over with the score on 136-8. A few more valuable late runs were added before Aaron Russell was the last man out and the innings closed on 152 in the 38th over.

Given the good start, the score was at least 30 runs short of where it could have been but nonetheless the Heywood side remained hopeful of defending the score and they got off to a good start when Ethan Clarkson took the first wicket with the score on 15. The contest became very even with the home side building steadily and Heywood picking up regular wickets and with the score on 105-6 the game was evenly poised with Heywood fancying their chances.

However, just as Smethurst had done for Heywood, young wicketkeeper/batsman Dan Jones was keeping an end going and the scoreboard ticking over and when he was joined by the experienced Ward, the pair steadied the ship. Surprisingly Jones fell for an excellent 69 (his 2nd fifty in 3 games to date) with the score just two runs short of victory, but the job was done and the home side completed the formalities just a few balls later. For Heywood, Jacob Kaye was the pick of the bowlers with 2-19 and there were wickets also for Ethan Clarkson (2), Lee Clarkson, Oliver Simpson and Alex Buckley.

This was an excellent game between two teams playing the game in the right way and Heywood can be pleased with the improvement shown against a team who have now won all of their first three games. Indeed they may feel that they had opportunities to win the game but the young players will have learnt more and will be all the better for the experience.

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