On the hottest day of the year and under a cloudless blue sky a big crowd gathered at Brook Lane for the top of the table clash where Bootle were the visitors. Neither team had lost a game in the Premier League this season and so the stage was set for a great afternoon’s cricket and that is exactly what was delivered. Over 450 runs were scored over the two innings to include a century for Andy Baybutt and yet another tense finish in which Ormskirk extended their lead in the table over their opponents by virtue of earning more bonus points.
It all started when Matt Glayzer won the toss and elected to bat on a well prepared wicket with Andy Baybutt and Michael Jones opening Ormskirk’s account with a partnership of 100 runs. Michael (42) was the first to go when after a very assured innings ventured down the wicket to attack the bowling of Dan Davies only to be deceived by the delivery and was stumped by Neil Williams.
Michael’s dismissal brought John Armstrong in to join the fray and the partnership realised 42 runs before John (20) was run out to bring in George Lavelle , who with a lively knock of 18, to include one huge 6, took the score along to a healthy 181-3.
The on form Gary Knight joined Andy and it was during this partnership that Andy reached his
century, but it was not without a major scare when he was on 98. He went for the “ton” with a big hit to see the ball go high into the sky and look to be falling very comfortably into the hands of a grateful mid wicket fielder. To the relief of all the Ormskirk contingent the ball inexplicably fell though the fielder’s hands and two balls later Andy survived to reach his century with a safe single. His joy was uninhibited and his efforts much appreciated by the big crowd.
After the break for tea, Andy’s innings came to a close when Bootle’s paceman, Scott Butterworth, bowled him, much to the relief of the large gathering of Bootle supporters.
Ian Robinson joined Gary Knight to take the innings to 251 when Matt Glayzer declared the innings. Gary (33*), for the second week running, looked assured and completed a chanceless innings while Ian (13), on returning to the First XI, was totally in charge of the proceedings.
Vishal Tripathi and Michael Farrell opened the reply for Bootle with a partnership of 53 runs. It was the introduction of Simon Kerrigan into the attack that brought the first taste of success when he bowled Farrell (22).
Without a run being added Simon took the wicket of the new batsman Jakson Knight (0) when he had him trapped lbw, much to the joy of the home crowd.
A strong partnership developed for the third wicket between Vishal Tripathi and Dan Davies. They looked to be very comfortable against the bowling and added 87 runs before Davies (39) edged a catch to Matt Glayzer at first slip to leave the score on 140 -3 bringing in James Hurlin to join Tripathi who was batting beautifully and while he was there Bootle were in with a very good chance chasing down the runs.
Hurlin (3) didn’t last long when Tom Hartley, who had joined Simon in an all spin attack, completely deceived him into edging a catch behind the wicket to George Lavelle to leave the score on 157-5.
The big breakthrough came three runs later when the wicket of Tripathi (88) was claimed by a
brilliant piece of fielding by George. With the batsman going for what looked to be a comfortable run George received the ball from well behind the stumps, shied it at the wicket and hit the ‘jackpot’ with a direct hit to leave the batsman out of his ground and on his way back to the pavilion.
Even with the loss of their star batsman, quickly followed by Will Purser (2) who was out to a catch by Scott Lees off the bowling of Tom Hartley, Bootle remained on course to reach the required total as a partnership of 46 developed between Neil Williams and Craig Prince.
As nerves got edgy in the Ormskirk camp Simon Kerrigan stepped in to bowl Williams (25) and without a run being added Scott Lees dismantled the stumps of Prince (21) to leave the score on 204-8
The odds were now in favour of Ormskirk who needed to take the last two wickets in 4 overs to claim victory.
The final session was akin to the ‘Siege of the Alamo’ when fielders crowded the bat in the attempt to unsettle the batsmen. In a further attempt to unnerve the batsmen, the crowd were treated to the unusual spectacle of Michael Jones bowling an over. The siege was, however, to no avail, and the tail end batsmen Scott Butterworth (0*) and Chris Liptrott (0*) batsman survived.
It was a great game of cricket and a draw was well earned by both sides.
The choice for the nomination of Ormskirk’s “Man of the Match” goes this week to Andy Baybutt for his fine century against a very strong bowling line up.
Approaching the half way mark in the season Ormskirk head the table by a margin of 28 points. Things are looking good.