Orrell’s first team paid for a poor performance with a loss away at the rapidly improving Sefton Park. Having won the toss, Orrell’s stand in skipper, Gareth Houghton, chose to bowl first on a wicket which featured a very small boundary on the pavilion side of the ground. Some poor bowling allowed the impressive, quick scoring Sefton openers Vandome and Forsyth to get the home innings off to a rapid start. As Houghton tried to stem the Sefton onslaught, he wasn’t helped by a number of dropped catches which gave both openers second chances.
As the century opening stand was reached, it really did look as if Orrell were staring down the barrel of a gun and would be chasing a score of over 300. Then, just as can so often happen in cricket, the whole complexion of the game changed in a short period. The bowling partnership of Ali Sartaj and Sid Patel showed, not for the first time this season, how effectively they complement each other when bowling in tandem. Sartaj removed both openers, and when Patel took a wicket soon after, Sefton had gone from 120-0 to 121-3. Patel and Sartaj then continued to slow down the run rate whilst Orrell never truly managed to rip through the Sefton batting line up. Some impressive hitting from the Sefton batters either side of the tea break allowed them to declare on 231-7 from 54 overs. Patel was the pick of the Orrell bowlers with 4-56. Sartaj 2-45 and Harry Burrows 1-29 also amongst the wickets.
In reply, Orrell openers Matt Morgan and Jake Brown got the reply off to a strong, untroubled start with Morgan being particularly savage of any errant bowling on the short boundary. The half century partnership was brought up in good time and it really did seem as if they could lay a platform for an Orrell victory charge to mirror the successful chase of the previous week against Birkenhead Park. Disaster struck with the score on 61 as Brown hit a ball out to deep cover and set off for a very tight single. Sent back by Morgan, Brown was run out by a direct hit. When Morgan followed soon after, the whole momentum of the Orrell innings ground to a halt. A thrilling cameo from Richard Smith apart, the rest of the Orrell batting line up surrendered in the face of scoreboard pressure and some impressive bowling from the home team. Orrell were all out for 97 in 29.1 overs. Whilst it is clear that they were always going to struggle to win after such a poor start to the game, the nature of the batting collapse will leave questions to be answered about the lack of accumulation of batting points which could prove important in the final league standings.
On Sunday, the first team got a chance to bounce back quickly as they played their Ray Tyler Cup Semi Final away at Liverpool CC. The weather intervened forcing an abandonment just after the start of the second innings. The match will be replayed at Winstanley Road next Sunday 13th August with a 1pm start.
Meanwhile, Orrell’s second team maintained the position at the top of their league with a 104 run victory over Maghull CC at Winstanley Road. After the visitors won the toss and chose to field, Orrell posted 194 all out in 49.5 overs. Steve Tickle top scored with 50 but there were also contributions from a number of batters including Andy Ackers (27) Martin James (23) and David Naylor (20 not out).
After some initial resistance from the Maghull top order, they were eventually bowled out for 90 in 37.1 overs. Steve Pegg 1-6 and David Cheetham (3-17) were amongst the wickets but the star bowler was Mark Crumpton with 5-20.
Orrell’s third team match at home versus Southport Trinity on Sunday was rained off after 37 overs with the match finely balanced.