Leigh won the toss and elected to bat but they got off to a poor start, thanks mainly to a fine spell of opening bowling by Scott Lees who was ably supported by Ryan Maddock.
The first wicket fell when Scott Lees bowled Ross Zelam (1). He followed up to take his second wicket when he had Ben Smith (12) caught behind by Gary Knight with the total score on 21. Just one run later Scott took his third wicket, that of Matthew Hibbert (2), again with the assistance of Gary Knight behind the wicket.
Nineteen runs were added before the fourth wicket fell when it was that man again, Scott Lees, who strode up to uproot the stumps of Adam Shallcross (9).
Leigh were now at 41-4 with Scott having, very effectively and cheaply, removed the top four batsmen. It was as good a piece of opening bowling as any Ormskirk supporter would have wanted to see.
Toby Bulcock, the Leigh captain, was now at the crease and he needed to perform a rescue act. Danny Hewitt (12), his partner didn’t help him or his team’s cause when he was bowled by Ryan Maddock and neither did his next three partners. Lewis Pearson (4) was caught by John Armstrong off the bowling of Josh Bohannon, Alex Seddon (9) was bowled by Nicky Caunce and Harry Church (0) who was caught behind by Gary Knight to give Nicky his second wicket.
At this stage Leigh were 85-8 with Toby Bulcock on 31 not out, partnered by Patrick Allen.
The tactics soon became very apparent, with Patrick Allen protecting his wicket and taking just the odd single to allow Toby Bulcock to get as much of the strike as possible. It was a tactic that worked as the score moved along to 161. The vital wicket of captain Bulcock (89) was taken at that score and it was taken in style, with a superb one-handed catch by Nicky Caunce off the bowling of Ryan Maddock.
The final wicket was taken by Tom Hartley when he trapped Nathan Graham (0) lbw. This left Ormskirk to score 162 to win the match. Or, at least, that’s what everyone thought.
The reply opened well with Andy Baybutt and John Armstrong putting on 48 runs before John Armstrong (21) was caught, bringing Josh Bohannon in to join the fray. Andy Baybutt (27) was the second to lose his wicket just two runs later when he was bowled by Adam Shallcross.
With Josh Bohannon now partnered by Gary Knight, confidence was still high as 14 runs were comfortably added. That confidence was somewhat shaken when Josh (9) was caught at mid-wicket. At that juncture, some form of altercation took place which sent the two umpires into a huddle with the Leigh captain and Ben Smith the wicket taker. The umpires moved away from the two Leigh players and then went into discussion with the Ormskirk captain Nicky Caunce, who had come on to the scene from the Pavilion. It was mystifying because nobody, except the umpires and players very close to the action, had witnessed anything untoward. The end result, after a curtailment of play lasting 10 minutes, was that 5 penalty runs were awarded to add to Leigh’s total with spectators none the wiser as to what it was all about. This now left the required total upped to 167. The score was now 64-3.
Play resumed with Gary Knight and, newcomer to the First XI, Luke Platt in partnership. Unfortunately, the partnership didn’t last long when Gary (12) nicked one down the leg side to the waiting hands of wicket keeper Matthew Hibbert.
It was tense out in the middle when Ian Robinson joined Luke Platt. Both players kept their cool and gradually the score started to move along steadily. It got to 152 when Ian Robinson (57) was caught. He had played a fine innings full of composure, calm and style.
Ryan Maddock joined Luke Platt to see Ormskirk home to victory as ‘a formality’ but it wasn’t as easy as that.
First, Luke Platt (28) went to a catch and then Ryan Maddock (1) was on his way back in the dressing room having looked back over his shoulder to see his stumps in disarray and the bails sailing gracefully through the air. From being 152-5 it was now 157-7.
It was left to teenagers Alex Mason (4) and Tom Hartley (2*) to knock off the runs, which they did with the help of a few byes.
It was the bowling of Scott Lees to dismiss Leigh’s opening four batsmen so cheaply and Ian Robinson’s 57 runs under very testing conditions that highlighted the Ormskirk winning performance. Both deserve high praise and it would be unfair to say that one above the other was the ‘Man of the Match’. So, in fairness, they share the title.