A below par but winning performance in North Wales
Ormskirk won the toss and elected to bat.
Openers Andy Baybutt and John Armstrong put on a good opening partnership, which was broken with the score on 61 when Andy Baybutt (29) was caught in the deep.
The score progressed to 91 when Alex Rankin (18), who had replaced Andy Baybutt, was bowled. There was nothing to be particularly concerned about at this stage because the middle-order batsmen could be relied upon to build up a healthy score………. Wrong!
In quick succession Gary Knight (0), Luke Platt (0) and Ian Robinson (0) were back in the dressing room and, from being in the relatively strong position at 91-2, the score nose-dived to 99-5. It got worse when John Armstrong (46), who had played well, was bowled to make it 99-6.
Five wickets had fallen for just 8 runs and new batsmen Ryan Maddock and Tom Hartley were left to salvage the situation.
They knuckled down to bat sensibly and put on 44 runs before Tom Hartley (22) was, judged to be out lbw. Nicky Caunce (4) came in, hit a 4 off the second ball he faced and then was promptly dismissed by the third ball.
Two runs later with the score on 150-8 Ryan Maddock (24) was caught and just three runs later the final wicket fell when Alex Mason (2) was bowled.
After a good start, the Ormskirk batting line-up collapsed leaving the bowlers a relatively small target of 153 to defend.
The Colwyn Bay openers took the score to 17 when the first wicket fell to the bowling of Scott Lees. He struck again to claim the second wicket (36-2), assisted with a catch by Alex Mason.
With the introduction of Tom Hartley into the attack, the third wicket fell when George Johansen (1) was caught at first slip John Armstrong, off Tom’s bowling.
At 42-3 nothing was looking impossible but there was a lot of work to do and was helped when Tom claimed his second wicket with a positive lbw decision to leave the score on 62-4.
It was when Alex Mason joined Tom Hartley, in a twin left arm spin attack, that more wickets started to fall. The run rate was slow but with Colwyn Bay skipper, Morris, still in, the home side were favourites to win the game.
That changed when Morris (41) misjudged a delivery from Tom Hartley and was trapped lbw. At 89-5 it was now anyone’s game.
Tension was at a high level and increased when Nicky Caunce took a superb catch off the bowling of Alex Mason to get rid of danger man Adam Campion (11). It was now 93-6.
The arithmetic was easy, Colwyn Bay needed 61 runs to win with lots of time to get them and Ormskirk needed 4 wickets. Tom Hartley and Alex Mason solved the equation to better effect than their opponents and got the 4 wickets needed, taking two each.
The Colwyn Bay tail-end simply couldn’t cope with the accuracy and tenacity of the spin attack of Alex and Tom. They were left floundering and all out for 127, leaving Ormskirk victors by 26 runs.
It certainly wasn’t one of Ormskirk’s better games but, nevertheless, there were performances worthy of note.
On the batting front, John Armstrong (46), Ryan Maddock (24) and Tom Hartley (22) played vital roles in getting past the 150 mark to give the bowlers something half decent to defend.
As far as bowling was concerned, Scott Lees (2-22 off 6 overs), Alex Mason (3-27 off 9.5 overs) and Tom Hartley (5-41 off 20 overs) made outstanding contributions.
This season, it has become a bit of a habit nominating Tom Hartley as “Man of the Match’ and for this game, with 5 -41 and 22 runs to his credit, there was no possible way of escaping that habit. Lots of superlatives to reflect his overall performance come to mind but to simply say that he was ‘outstanding’ puts all into context. It is no surprise that Lancashire County CC are taking a big interest in the progress of the talented teenager.
The 22 points earned keeps Ormskirk at the top of the Premier League, above Northern, by the slender margin of 2 points.