Hanging Heaton's brave ECB National quest ends in agonising semi-final defeat
Hanging Heaton's brave run in the Royal London ECB Clubs Championship came to an end when they lost out in a closely fought quarter-final at Ormskirk last Sunday.
Heaton won the toss and elected to bat, making a brisk start with Gary Fellows (20) and Nick Connolly putting on 30 runs for the opening wicket before suffering a double blow with Fellows and Richard Foster falling lbw.
Heaton also lost Nick Connolly for 29 but in-form batsman Callum Geldart and Joe Fraser got their innings back on track with a 59-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Geldart fell for 59 but Fraser took the game to Ormskirk with some lusty blows before falling for a top score of 63.
Ormskirk fought back through Alex Mason (3-50), while opener Scott Lees claimed 3-51 as Heaton were bowled out for 228 with three balls of their 45 overs remaining.
Opener Andrew Baybutt stroked six fours in a score of 27 at the top of the Ormskirk reply before he was caught by Geldart off the bowling of David Stiff.
Baybutt’s fellow opener Michael Jones and Joshua Bohannon (34) shared a 67-run second wicket stand before Stiff trapped the latter lbw to spark a Heaton fightback.
Gary Knight struck 30 from 31 balls before falling to a Geldart catch off the bowling of spinner Connolly and when Jones was bowled by second teamer James Byrne for 71, the Heaton travelling support had hope their side would pull off victory.
Stiff finished with econimical figures of 3-16 from nine overs, while Byrne — who was only drafted in on the morning of the match — backed up his seven wicket haul for the second team against Batley 24 hours earlier by claiming 2-46 as Ormskirk slipped to 207-8.
Tom Hartley (20no) and Alex Mason (6no) held their nerve to steer Ormskirk over the finish line with eight balls to spare to the delight of the large home support.
Ormskirk will travel to Wolverhampton in the semi-finals, with the ECB Cup final to be played at Chelmsford on September 17, while Heaton are left to concentrate on their quest to win a first Bradford League top flight title in 18 years.