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  1. Published on: 17/05/2017 07:24 AMReported by: rogerblaxall
    Report and photos by Peter Rogan

    In his programme notes, the Ormskirk captain Matt Glayzer warned the spectators to expect a close and hard fought game. He was spot-on in forecasting a tough game but could not have imagined that the final outcome would be so close in a game that see-sawed throughout in favour of each team, only to be settled in the last nail biting overs.

    It started with Matt Glayzer winning the toss and electing to bat on a well prepared wicket which looked to be full of runs.

    Andy Baybutt and Michael Jones opened the innings and progressed to a stand of 59 before Andy (30), the dominant half of the partnership, lost his wicket trying to force the pace, to a catch off the bowling Josh Holden. The loss of Baybutt’s wicket brought Josh Bohannon in to join the resolute Michael Jones and, as has become the norm, he showed no respect for the bowling and powered his way to a rapid 45 runs before losing his wicket to an lbw decision, leaving the score on 130-2.
    Michael Jones (42) went just 2 runs later bringing George Lavelle and Gary Knight in a new profitable partnership that yielded 57 runs. Lavelle (36) carried on from where left off last week’s game against Ainsdale with some aggressive stroke play.

    His partner Knight matched him shot for shot. With the score on 189 Knight (26) offered an easy catch in what had become a race to reach a total score of 220 before the tea interval and secure a chance of winning maximum batting points. Lavelle, having enjoyed a brief partnership with Matt Glayzer (5), lost his wicket in a similar fashion to Knight to leave the score on 200-6.

    In the final scurry Simon Kerrigan (12*) and Ian Robinson (11) took the score along to 222 when the innings was declared, leaving Lytham with a challenging total to chase down but with crucially enough time to gain a victory. The declaration was a calculated gamble and, in the event, led to the closest finish that has been seen at Brook Lane in a First XI fixture for a long time.

    Things looked good for Ormskirk when, in the first over, Lytham opener Taylor Cornall was caught behind, off the bowling of Nicky Caunce without troubling the scorer. The taking of the second wicket of Thomas Hessey (12) by Scott Lees left Ormskirk temporarily in the driving seat. It was the end of early success, however, when Ben Saunders and Michael Guptil-Bunce settled in and took the score steadily along matching the target run rate set by Ormskirk. It took the guile of Simon Kerrigan to tip the balance back in Ormskirk’s favour when, in rapid succession, he dismissed both Saunders (28) and Guptil-Bunce (62) to leave the score on 109-4.

    Forty more runs were added before the next wicket fell when Matthew Taaffe (15) fell to Tom Hartley. This set back did not deter the Lytham push for victory as they showed no sign of settling for a draw.

    With the score on 172-6 Scott Lees returned to the attack with immediate success. He took the wickets of Josh Holden (17) and Guy Roberts (23) to leave the score on 173-7 and Lytham with a required run rate of 4 runs an over. Ormskirk were now in the driving seat particularly when the score went to 187-9 with Scott Lees and Nicky Caunce having claimed the wickets of Anthony Mulligan (5) and Daniel Edwards (3).

    The pendulum now started to swing the other way, in Lytham’s favour as Matthew Stevenson and Jack Saunders settled in to form a last wicket partnership.

    Undeterred by the pressure being applied they took the score past the 200 mark, then past 210 showing complete assurance and the sense of victory in their veins.

    With only 9 balls left to play they had reached 215. There was a palpable tension around the ground as everyone, both on and off the field of play, knew that a single hit for six by Stevenson off the bowling of Scott Lees could determine the outcome of the game. It was Lees, however, who handled the pressure best and produced a top draw delivery to get the batsman to drop a simple catch into the safe hands of Josh Bohannon.

    Game over, with victory to Ormskirk.

    By any standards it was a superb game of cricket with both teams making equal contributions to the excitement. It was a Saturday afternoon that will stay long in the memories of those privileged to be at Brook Lane to witness it.
         

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