Orrell’s senior teams had a 100% winning record this weekend to make it a very successful weekend for the club.
The first team started the ball rolling on Saturday when they welcomed table topping neighbours Highfield to the picturesque, idyllic surroundings of Winstanley Road. Given the wet overnight weather, as well as the frequent localised showers throughout the morning that were likely to continue well into the afternoon, skipper Andrew Mottram took the brave decision to bat first having won the toss.
The decision looked to have backfired when Orrell found themselves 4-2 very early on in the face of some excellent new ball bowling from Highfield openers Rotherham and Halliwell. In between the frequent rain breaks, it became apparent that Mottram would have to anchor the innings and make a large personal total in order to give the Orrell bowlers an adequate target to work with. When Mottram was joined by Richard Smith, the recovery operation on the Orrell innings began as both showed their large array of ground shots- Mottram very strong through mid-wicket and Smith playing some sumptuous cover drives reminiscent of his peak years. When Smith was dismissed for 16, a mini collapse saw Orrell back in trouble at 78-6.
Ali Sartaj then joined Mottram at the crease and a key, trouble free partnership either side of the tea break saw Orrell move past the 100 mark and reach their second batting point at 130. Such was the efficient nature of the partnership that it looked like they could move the Orrell total into the realms of a large one. However, a misunderstanding saw the partnership of 55 come to an end when Sartaj attempted a second run and was left stranded when sent back by his batting partner.
Focus then turned to whether Mottram could reach a well-deserved century but he holed out on 88 when he got a leading edge on one of his trademark mid-wicket glances and looped the ball up to mid-on. Joe Lyth (11) added a few vital extra runs as Orrell were bowled out for 157 in 49.2 overs.
Orrell opening bowlers, Joe Lyth and Gareth Houghton, bowled in good areas as the Highfield openers, Gaskell and Taylor, played watchfully as they sought to take the sting out of the Orrell bowling attack and they moved along to 27-0. Houghton, charging in from the Winstanley Road end, then got a deserved breakthrough to remove Gaskell to make the score 27-1. The introduction of Sid Patel from the Winstanley College end the completely turned the game on its head as he dismissed Highfield captain Taylor and then, next ball, took the key wicket of Highfield overseas professional, Lakmal, with a ball that clipped the top of off stump.
When Ali Sartaj came into the attack to bowl in tandem with Patel, Orrell imposed a vice like grip on the match that they had no intention of easing. Patel was in the midst of one of those spells that bowlers dream about where everything seemed to be in synch as he put the ball in good areas and moved it around at will. Wickets continued to fall and Highfield were eventually bowled out for 44 in 22.4 overs- 10 wickets lost for 17 runs. Patel finished with the amazing figures of 8-13 from 7.4 overs whilst Sartaj took 1-2 and Houghton 1-9.
This was a high class bowling and fielding performance by Orrell against a very good team and one which needs to act as a template for the bowling and fielding for the remainder of the season.
On Sunday, the first team replayed their abandoned Ray Tyler cup semi-final as they welcomed Liverpool CC to Winstanley Road. Batting first, a second wicket partnership of 87 between Matt Morgan and Richard Everett saw Orrell move beyond the century mark. When Morgan was out for 34 to make the score 104-2, Everett then formed another valuable partnership with Jake Brown to take the Orrell score beyond 150. Everett was out for an outstanding 74 to leave the score 158-3 and it was vital that the Orrell batters kept up the momentum to post a large total. Brown (38 not out) and Ali Sartaj (26 not out) did just that as their unbeaten sixth wicket partnership saw Orrell post 225-5 from their 45 overs.
Gareth Houghton made the breakthrough when the Liverpool innings started to leave the visitors 9-1. Harry Burrows then took the vital wicket of Liverpool’s overseas professional Burns to make the score 51-2. From this moment on, the pendulum swing very much towards the home team and some excellent bowling saw the visitors bowled out for 185 in 41.2 overs. Sartaj was the pick of a noteworthy team bowling performance with 2-19 from 7.2 overs. Houghton (1-29) Burrows (1-29) Sid Patel (2-37) Charlie Abbott (2-30) and Matt Morgan (1-24) also made robust contributions.
Orrell now have home advantage in their final against the winners of the Spring View and Old Xaverians semi-final.
On Saturday, Orrell’s second team maintained their buffer at the top of the league with a win away at neighbours Highfield. Having been put into bat by the hosts, Orrell made 155 all out from 50.2 overs. Orrell were indebted to skipper Paul Mottram (64) and opener Steve Tickle (27) for their large percentage of the team runs.
In reply, the Highfield second wicket partnership of Cornish and Ashton looked to be making the match a close run affair. However, after they were dismissed by Lee Martinus and Chris Kirby, wickets fell regularly as Highfield were bowled out for 89 with 20 balls of the days play left. Kirby (4-14) and Mottram, who capped a fine captains all round performance with figures of 2-13, led the way with the ball. Martinus (1-222) and Phil Taberner (3-29) were also wicket takers. A key win for the team as they seek to continue their push for promotion to the Premier League.
On Sunday, an Orrell third team, containing 7 juniors, capped off a great weekend for the club with a thrilling win away at an Ainsdale side that have been rejuvenated in recent weeks. Electing to bat, Stenburg’s (20) heavy hitting set the home side set off at pace. Things slowed a little following the dismissal of the openers but with wickets in the bank, Baker (23), Earl (45) and the Fitzpatrick father (Ray – 21) and son (Daniel – 37) act saw the hosts, aided and abetted by some poor Orrell fielding, post an impressive total of 213 all out off 39 overs. Terry Leaford (2-17) and Mark Crumpton (3-29) led the way with the ball. Alan Moore (4-45) and Payton Berry (1-9) were also amongst the wickets.
The thirds had shown a fancy for chasing down big totals this season, but have more often than not failed at the final hurdle, the question this week was whether they had learned from those experiences. Skipper Moore asked for a steady start from his top order and they responded. George Mushahwar (27) and Matthew Wareing (21) set the tone. Geof Burrows then continued the Orrell reply as he made a pleasing 27.
However as they headed into the last hour and with the quick dismissals of Burrows and young Ben Mahoney the rate had slowed and it looked like Orrell might have left themselves too much to do.
14 year old Matthew Hayes (26) maturely anchored the innings during this period and this allowed a cameo from Moore which got things flowing again. By the time he was he was replaced by big hitting, Terry Leaford all results looked possible once more. A fearless batting performance from the under 15s captain against Ainsdale’s two main bowlers carried Orrell over the line with 17 balls to spare- Terry finishing unbeaten on 44.
Leaford’s power was astonishing for one so young as he flayed the bowlers to all parts including one six over square leg that went onto the main road outside of the ground.
In all, it was top game of cricket, played in great spirit with both sides taking great credit for their batting performances