After the poor performance in the league game against Rainhill it was with some trepidation that the team travelled to play Ramsbottom in the semi final of the Lancashire Knockout Cup. Surely they couldn’t play as badly and indeed they didn’t. Not, however, without a few scary moments to help contribute to the rising blood pressure of the travelling supporters.
Ramsbottom won the toss and elected to bat, which was rather surprising because on inspection the wicket looked more likely to be of assistance to bowlers.
It wasn’t long before the Ormskirk bowlers cashed in on the situation and had the home side in deep trouble. Before they knew what had hit them they were 5 wickets down for 35 runs. The two openers went out for ducks as victims of Scott Lees and Nicky Caunce who had them each caught behind by Gary Knight. Scott took his second when George Lavelle took a good catch off his bowling. Jamie Barnes joined the fray to take the fourth wicket with an lbw decision and the fifth one by comprehensively uprooting the stumps of the hapless batsman.
Worse was to come for Ramsbottom when the sixth wicket fell courtesy of Tom Hartley who deceived the batsmen with the flight of the ball and left himself open to being stumped by Gary behind the stumps. It was 46-6 and the home crowd were stunned into an eerie silence.
Alex Mason was then introduced into the bowling attack and obliged by taking the 7th and 8th wickets with the score having crawled up to 75. There was no respite for the beleaguered batsmen when Nicky Caunce stepped back into the action to capture the 9th wicket with the score on 75.
The last wicket partnership proved to be obstinate and added 15 runs before Alex grabbed the last wicket with the assistance of a catch behind the stumps.
The bowlers had done a wonderful job with each of them taking wickets and in theory leaving the batsmen an easy task. At the back of everybody’s mind though was the fact that it was a ‘dodgy wicket’ and if Ramsbottom found it hard to cope with why should it be any different for Ormskirk? Nevertheless, it was felt that if Ormskirk batted sensibly at the end of the day they should be home and dry into the Final to be played at Old Trafford.
Andy Baybutt and Michael Jones opened the reply and with eight runs on the board Michael (4) was given out lbw. His dismissal brought in Ian Robinson to join Andy. Together they put on 51 runs when Ian (29) was caught and bowled.
George Lavelle was Andy’s next partner and, after scoring 7 runs and looking comfortable, a rush of youthful exuberance overtook him and, when there was no need to chase runs quickly, he attempted to hit the ball into the next parish and was promptly caught on the boundary. The score was now 70-3 but no panic because only 21 runs were needed off 20 overs and seven wickets in hand.
Those seven wickets in hand rapidly went down to four when Gary Knight (5), Matt Glayzer (1) and Nicky Caunce (0) each parted company but Andy Baybutt was playing very sensibly.
The Ramsbottom players and supporters could see that they were in with a chance and the Ormskirk supporters mindful of the batting collapse the day before half believed them.
Fortunately, Andy (36*) who was joined by Scott Lees (6*) believed in themselves and the winning target of 91 was reached leaving the way to a trip to Old Trafford to play in the Final.
The bowlers had laid the foundation to the victory and the batting of Andy and Ian secured it.
The Ormskirk supporters went home with the song “Oh What A Difference a Day Makes” ringing in their ears.