WE ARE THE 2017 CHAMPIONS
Seven points were needed from the game against Bootle at Wadham Road to clinch the First XI Premier League Championship. It sounded relatively easy but games against Bootle are never easy and so it proved.
Ormskirk won the toss and elected to bat.
Andy Baybutt and Michael Jones opened the batting and settled in well to make a stand of 86 when Andy (46) was bowled by Scott Butterworth bringing in Josh Bohannon to join Michael.
The aim was to get to 220 to gain 5 batting points regardless of how many wickets were lost in the process. In the event no wickets were lost as both Michael and Josh showed composure and aggression with the points mounting up as the total grew.
Michael was at the top of his game delivering a fine array of strokes, hitting the boundary at regular intervals. Josh was simply Josh giving a virtuoso display that the bowlers had no answer to.
Just before the tea interval the 220 mark was reached and the 5 batting points were secured. Shortly after with the score on 239 -1 with Michael on an undefeated 90 which included fourteen 4s and one 6 and Josh undefeated on 80, which included nine 4s and one 6, the innings was declared on 239-1.
The task now was to secure 4 wickets to gain the now needed two bowling points. It was down to the bowlers to produce the goods.
Scott Lees and Nicky Caunce opened the bowling and the first of those 4 wickets came with the score on 13 when Nicky claimed the wicket of opener Jackson Knight (11) trapping him lbw.
Scott had bowled extremely well with hardly a single poor delivery but had no luck as he saw one excellent chance dropped. After bowling 7 overs for only 14 runs he was replaced by Josh Bohannon and he achieved the next breakthrough claiming the prize wicket of Vishi Tripathi (26) with the help of a super catch by Michael Jones. It was now 58-2
Simon Kerrigan was introduced into the attack to take over from Nicky and he was rewarded with his first wicket and the team’s third when he tempted Michael Farrell (24) to pop one into the reliable hands of Tom Hartley. It was now 73-3 with the fourth wicket and 7th point tantalisingly close.
The game had gone into the last 20 overs and it was Tom Hartley, who had been brought on to join Simon in a twin spin attack, who took the 4th wicket of Bootle’s captain Craig Prince (1) that earned the vital bowling 2 points to clinch the title.
To say that the joy which the wicket produced was evident would be a gross under statement. It was overwhelming. The players all raced into the middle of the wicket to celebrate, the supporters of both teams stood and applauded to create a huge celebratory atmosphere. To all intents it was Mission Accomplished but there was still a game to be completed and Bootle, with professional Luke Proctor at the wicket still had a chance of winning the game and possibly pour a little cold water on the celebration.
Luke Proctor (78*) and Will Purser (44) did their best to spoil the party for Ormskirk but Tom stepped in to halt the run assault when he bowled Purser (44) to take the fifth wicket.
With time running out for Bootle to get the runs required, the game ended in a draw with the rare spectacle of the final two overs being bowled by John Armstrong and Andy Baybutt respectively.
So there it was. Ormskirk were Premier League Champions with two games to spare.