LDCC Premier League
Ormskirk won the toss and elected to field
There was a welcome return to Brook Lane for Gavin Griffiths who graduated from Ormskirk as an eighteen-year-old to play first class cricket, first with Lancashire and now with Leicestershire and he opened the bowling with Scott Lees.
It was not long before Gavin showed his presence was no ‘cameo appearance’ as he claimed the first three wickets to leave Highfield on 64-3. He had both James Taylor (11) and Michael Gaskell (7) caught behind by Gary Knight and then bowled Owais Shah (20).
It was then that heavy rain came and interrupted play for two hours much to everybody’s frustration and annoyance. Why did the change in the weather, to give much needed rain, have to come on Saturday afternoon?!
Play eventually resumed after the players had taken an early tea and Shaun Brocken had supervised the mopping up operation to satisfy the Umpires that it was safe to carry on.
Ryan Maddock was the next wicket taker when he bowled Darshan Misal (31) and Gavin Griffiths was back in the action, smartly running out Jake Burrows (0), to leave the score on 84-5.
With the upper order batting no longer participating, Nicky Caunce called to “spin twins” Tom Hartley and Alex Mason to contain and see off the tail.
Tom was the first to strike when he tempted Michael Simpson (11) to offer a catch into the safe hands of Scott Lees and, with the score on 118, picked up his second wicket by bowling Ryan Hargreaves (27) who had looked to be in confident form.
The score progressed to 140 -7 before Tom bowled Oliver Jump (13) to claim his third and Ormskirk’s eighth wicket.
Highfield’s Robert Halliwell (25) was becoming a thorn in the side of the Ormskirk team and it was Alex Mason, assisted by a smart catch taken by John Armstrong, who eased the pain to take the ninth wicket.
With the score on 150 Tom had Joel Welsby (3) caught by Gavin Griffiths and the visitors were all out, to leave Ormskirk with the challenging task of chasing down the runs with time against them as a result of the prolonged stoppage for rain.
Andy Baybutt and John Armstrong opened the batting and put on a partnership of 22 runs, with John Armstrong playing the leading role and forcing the pace, when Andy (2) was bowled by Sam Rotherham.
On the loss of the first wicket, Tom Hartley, promoted up the batting order from a usual Number 8, came in to join John and the pair put on 8 more runs before John (25) lost his wicket, when he was bowled by Darshan Misal to leave the score on 30-2, and bring Alex Rankin to join Tom.
The teenage pairing of Tom and Alex took on the challenge of scoring required runs with the calm of a pair of veterans. They put on a partnership of 63 runs before Alex (29) was bowled by Sam Rotherham. At this stage Tom was there with 34 runs to his credit to be joined by Gary Knight (7) who departed the scene when he was caught, to leave the score on 113-4, with time to reach the target of 151 running out.
Tom (58) was the fifth player to lose his wicket when he was bowled by Darshan Misal. He had played a great innings hitting his 58 runs off 44 balls to include seven 4s. It was his highest score since coming into the First XI and he left the field to a well-earned ovation.
With only two overs to go, with 12 runs needed, it was down to Luke Platt (19*) and Gavin Griffiths (8*) to see Ormskirk pass the winning post. They did it in the last over with Luke hitting the winning runs off the second ball of the over. Exciting stuff by any standards!
Deciding who was the “Man of the Match” was easy. With his bowling figures 4 wickets for 29 runs off 8.5 overs, to include 3 maidens, and his promotion up the batting order to score 58 runs, it could only be Tom Hartley.