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Nail biting ending sees Ormskirk through to the 2nd round of the Lancashire Knockout Cup

This cup tie had everything you would want in a game of cricket. It was played in lovely weather, there were lots of runs, lots of wickets and the most exciting ending that has been seen at Brook Lane for many a year.

It all started with Prestwich winning the toss and electing to bat on a good wicket with a fast outfield. It was a good toss to win.

Scott Lees and Ryan Maddock opened the bowling for Ormskirk and it was Ryan who made the first breakthrough, netting the wicket of James Wharmby (10) with a fine delivery that saw the middle stump decisively uprooted and leave the score on 13-1. It was not long before he struck again, this time trapping Martyn Walters (1) lbw after the addition of only 6 more runs. With the score at 19-2 it was a good start for Ormskirk.

The third wicket partnership, however, put on a stand of 115 runs and it took a great catch by Andy Baybutt off the bowling of Alex Mason to break it. There was a great relief as Andy held the catch on the boundary to get rid of the visitors’ captain, Sam Holden (71) and leave the score on a 134-3. His partner Lee Dale was, however, still at the crease with 45 runs to his credit and while he was there things were looking good for Prestwich.

The 4th wicket fell with the score on 155 with the smart run out of Ryan Stanbury (15) by Josh Thompson and it was Josh who claimed the next wicket when he had Mike Hudson (0) beautifully caught by Ryan. The 5th wicket was down with the score on 176. The main problem for Ormskirk was that opener Lee Dale was still there, having passed his half century mark, taking the score along at a very steady rate.

The scoring rate had dropped down, due mainly to the bowling of Tom Hartley, and two further wickets went cheaply with George Lavelle taking two catches behind the wicket. Josh Thompson was the bowler responsible for the 6th wicket Tom Gibson(0) and Tom Hartley the 7th of Alex Taylor (2). Nevertheless, Prestwich looked to be heading for a score in excess of 250 especially while Lee Dale kept the strike and scored freely.

It was Ryan Maddock who got the vital 9th wicket of Lee Dale (87) when he had him well caught on the boundary by Gary Knight with the score on 213 and it was Ryan again who stepped in to take the final wicket of Andy Bradley (40).

Prestwich were all out for 221, with fine bowling performances by Ryan Maddock

(8.1-1-55-4) and Tom Hartley (9-0-15-1)

Andy Baybutt and Alex Rankin opened the innings for Ormskirk and the first wicket fell cheaply when Alex Rankin (1) was caught with only 6 runs on the board. His dismissal brought Ian Robinson in to join Andy Baybutt but things did not go well as Ian (0), or anybody else, would have liked. He was caught in the slips off the first ball he received. With the score at 6-2 things did not look very promising.

Fortunes changed, however, when George Lavelle came in to join Andy Baybutt and together they put on a great 3rd wicket partnership of 144 runs. Both handled the Prestwich attack with ease and it took a fine catch at mid wicket to dismiss George (70) who had played a mature and responsible innings.

Ormskirk skipper for the day, Gary Knight, joined Andy Baybutt for a brief partnership which yielded 17 runs and ended when Gary edged a catch into the slips with him on 13 and the total score now reading 167-4.

The run rate was now not the main issue but it was important that Andy Baybutt remained in place and wickets did not fall rapidly and cheaply around him.

Jonny Glayzer did well in keeping one end secure and went on to score 16 useful runs before he was caught to bring in Ryan Maddock to partner Andy with the score now at 198-6 and within reaching distance of the winning target, especially as there were plenty of overs left.

The whole complexion changed, however, when the 6th wicket went down. The anchor man Andy Baybutt (81) lost his wicket when he was bowled by Alex Taylor and it was down to the three lower order batsmen to join Ryan Maddock to score the remaining 15 runs required. It looked easy but that was not the way it turned out.

Alex Mason (13) was going well until, when chasing a run, he was run-out. It was now 217 -8 with only 5 runs needed and over five overs to get them in. Easy? Not so!

The 8th wicket fell when Tom Hartley (0) went for a winning hit, only to be caught with those five elusive runs still to be found. The first of those five came by way of a wide which meant one boundary would finish the job.

Scott Lees came in to join Ryan Maddock (5*) and scored 3 runs before having his wicket uprooted by Alex Taylor who was full of confidence, having been responsible for dismissing top scorer Andy Baybutt. With the scores tied, and only one wicket standing, the incoming batsman Josh Thompson was under enormous pressure. The ground was completely silent with many supporters from both sides hardly bearing to watch.

Josh blocked the first three deliveries and nicked the third towards slip. It just failed to carry for a catch, bounced under the fielder and the batsmen scampered for the winning run. Phew!

As a result of the victory Ormskirk now go on to play Barnoldswick CC in the Second Round.

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