Rain was forecast for later in the afternoon and so, on winning the toss, the Ormskirk skipper Nicky Caunce elected to field. This was in the hope that Rainford could be bowled out cheaply and the Ormskirk batsmen would get the required runs before the game could possibly fall to the mercy of the predicted rain.
It looked to be a good decision when, with only 3 runs on the board, the first two wickets were taken by Nicky Caunce. He had Paul Farrer (0) caught behind and Matthew Bailey (2) trapped lbw.
The early success, however, was not capitalised on as David Snellgrove and Comrey Edgeworth settled things for Rainford and put on 63 runs before the 3rd wicket fell when Edgeworth (35) was bowled by Ryan Maddock.
Another 47 runs were added for the 4th wicket when Matthew White (14) was caught and bowled by Tom Hartley. The score had reached 127 when Hartley was involved in gaining the 5th wicket being instrumental in having John Dotters (7) run out and the prize
wicket of David Snellgrove (56) was taken with the score on 143 when Hartley had him trapped lbw. It was a vital breakthrough.
The Rainford ‘tail’ wagged well and the last 4 wickets added 41 runs. Tom Hartley took 3 of them and the last one was taken by Ryan Maddock.
Rainford had scored 184 runs but they were greatly helped to that score by out of character poor fielding. Three relatively easy catching chances and one moderately difficult chance were put down. In addition, Rainford benefitted from 13 extras and so it was, by normal standards, a very poor day in the field.
The opening of the Ormskirk reply was not the best. With the clouds getting heavier as the forecast rain threatened to arrive, three wickets had gone with only 27 runs on the board. Andy Baybutt (10) was bowled, as was George Lavelle (0) and Gary Knight (0) was caught. The chances of scoring enough runs were not looking good.
Fortunately, John Armstrong had survived and with Owen Griffiths put on 39 runs before Griffiths (21) was caught to leave Ormskirk needing 95 runs to win in deteriorating weather conditions.
Aware of the need to accelerate the scoring, Armstrong (36) forced a shot into the eager hands of David Snellgrove. It was now 72- 5 and the rain duly arrived, albeit that it was a light drizzle. Nevertheless, playing conditions had become very unpleasant.
At this stage Luke Platt replaced John Armstrong and enjoyed brief partnerships with Tom Hartley (20) and Ryan Maddock (22) that took the score to 139 -7 when he was joined by Nicky Caunce.
The umpires had resisted the temptation to take the players off because of the drizzly rain and Caunce, taking caution to the wind, flung the bat at almost every delivery he received to try and get the required remaining 46 runs before the rain got heavier and the game possibly fizzled out to be a draw.
While Luke Platt (28*) looked on in a supportive role, Nicky’s attack on the bowling was ferocious. Out of the 20 balls he received, seven were dispatched to the boundary for 4s and two cleared the boundary for 6s. The game was won in style with his second 6 that almost landed in the next parish!
Fifteen minutes after the game was over much heavier rain came down and so the Captain’s heroics were even more appreciated.
In dismissing Rainford’s two opening batsmen, together with his 38 scintillating runs, it was Nicky Caunce who was adjudged to be Ormskirk’s “Man of the Match, with Tom Hartley, achieving another ‘5 wicket haul’, running him a close second.