In view of the form shown in the opening two games of the season the visit to Ainsdale looked to be, at least on paper, a good opportunity to cement a place at the top of the League. Newly promoted Ainsdale had lost their two opening games and so expectations were high.
Ainsdale won the toss and elected to field, leaving Michael Jones and Andy Baybutt to get the Ormskirk innings underway on a very chilly afternoon. As it turned out, while the spectators were feeling the cold, the batsmen were on fire as they hammered the Ainsdale bowling to every corner of the ground with Michael Jones playing the leading role in an opening partnership of 146 with Andy Baybutt. He was in sparkling form, looking every bit like a top class opening batsman. Andy was not far behind steadily reaching his half century before losing his wicket, with a personal tally of 56, to a catch off the bowling of Joseph Lowe. Michael playing some fine shots looked to be on his way to a century when, on 93, he was bowled by Martyn Farrell, the ex Ormskirk spin bowler. He was obviously disappointed not to get the extra seven runs he needed but he had done a fine job for his team and could be well satisfied with his afternoon’s work.
Josh Bohannon, the “Ormskirk Run Machine”, ably assisted by George Lavelle, piled on the agony for the Ainsdale bowlers taking the score to 285 before being trapped lbw to Joseph White when he was on 79 and George on 53*. At this stage Matt Glayzer declared the innings, leaving Ainsdale with a formidable target to chase.
Indian professional Faiz Fazal, partnered by Ainsdale’s captain Andrew Barlow opened in reply and made a good start. Fazal, looked to be a very talented batsman and handled the opening attack with ease, playing some delightful shots whilst pushing the score along at a very steady pace. The partnership was broken with the score on 104, when his wicket was taken off the bowling of Josh Bohannon, with a fine catch by Matt Glayzer. It was Josh who took the next two wickets to take the score along to126 -3. Things started to look promising when the 4th wicket fell to Alex Mason but Andrew Barlow was still at the crease looking untroubled by both spin and pace attack. He was still there as the game entered into the last 20 overs protecting the lower order batsmen by keeping the bowling as much to himself as he could. When the opportunities came to attack his partners, the fielders crowded the bat with limited success. Tom Hartley, with the single wicket and Scott Lees taking two, gave a ray of hope towards the end but it was not to be and the game ended in a draw, having been unable to uproot the defiant Barlow (76*), leaving Ainsdale on 210 -7.
Two Ormskirk performances stood out for special mention. Michael Jones’ beautifully executed 93 runs and Josh Bohannon’s performance with bat, ball and in the field were the highlights of the team’s performance. They both warmed the hearts of the very cold spectators.
At the end of the day the drawn game left Ormskirk still undefeated and lying third place in the table with 58 points behind New Brighton and Rainhill