A big crowd gathered at Brook Lane for the Quarter Final Tie of the National Club Championship on Sunday between Ormskirk CC and the Yorkshire side Hanging Heaton CC. At stake was a place in the semi final against Wolverhampton CC.
In the event it turned out to be a superb game of cricket leaving players and spectators alike in high states of nervous tension as the game came to a close.
Hanging Heaton won the toss and elected to bat
They came to Brook Lane with the reputation of being a strong batting side and that proved to be the case. It was a placid wicket and one that did not offer any favours to the bowlers. Scott Lees, Josh Bohannon and Jamie Barnes, however, took three relatively cheap early wickets but after that the visitors went from strength to strength.
A big middle order partnership developed and Ormskirk were looking at the possibility of having to chase down a score in excess of 250. However, once that partnership was broken by Alex Mason wickets started to tumble and the bowlers enjoyed success with the help of some excellent fielding. Alex and Scott took three wickets each Josh took two wickets with Tom Hartley and Jamie Barnes taking one each.
Hanging Heaton were bowled out for 228 which, although was a good score it was not as good as was expected at the half way stage in their innings. Ormskirk were left with the challenge of scoring at a rate of just over 5 runs an over to secure victory.
All was going well in the reply with Michael Jones enjoying partnerships with Andy Baybutt who made 27 and Josh Bohannon who made a quick fire 34, Ian Robinson who was run out having made 8 runs and Gary Knight who made 30. With thirty of the allotted forty five overs played Ormskirk looked to be sure winners. They were comfortably up with the run rate when Gary went out to a catch and then the doubts started to creep in as John Armstrong, George Lavelle and Scott Lees lost their wickets cheaply and the very real possibility of losing the game came into focus when Michael Jones who had scored a fine 71 was bowled.
Ormskirk from being in a very strong position found themselves on 207-8 with 5 overs left. They needed a hero and were blessed with two in Tom Hartley and Alex Mason.
The atmosphere was intense as every ball was bowled with not a sound being heard around the ground, only to be broken with each run that was scored. The two young men held their nerves under such enormous pressure and the score crept up to equal the visitors’ total. Only one run was need to secure victory and Tom duly obliged by smashing the ball to the boundary. The tension was broken and the big home crowd erupted in delight with the realisation that a semi final place in the National Knockout Competition had been secured.
Gary Knight, the day’s captain, summed up his feelings
“Games like that are why we all play the game, what we turn up to winter nets dreaming about. What you saw today wasn’t luck, it was hard earned. It was a pleasure to stand in as captain for Matty this weekend and I am so glad we rewarded all our valued supporters with a road trip to the semi final at Wolverhampton. On behalf of all the players thank you for your support and long may this success continue.”