The Professor Hands out a Cricketing Lecture

Crumpton bowls Orrell to victory after Lyth sees off Fleetwood Hesketh’s top order…

Orrell’s first team made it three wins from three with a comfortable victory away at Fleetwood Hesketh. After the start was delayed by 50 minutes due to heavy rain, the hosts won the toss and chose to field. The Orrell opening pair of Andrew Mottram and Matt Morgan got the innings off to a solid, untroubled start. Both batters hit a number of shots towards the boundary that on another day would have gone for 4 but didn’t do so due to the slowness of the wet outfield. Morgan was dismissed for 12 when he mistimed his shot and it looped up to the square leg fielder. The score at this point was 25-1. After this, whilst Mottram continued to look untroubled, a succession of Orrell batters looked ill at ease in the conditions as they slumped to 43-4. The focus then turned to the fifth wicket partnership between Mottram and Sid Patel as this would surely be key if the Orrell innings was to recover. However, a catastrophic run out mix up saw Patel back in the pavilion and Orrell in real trouble at 48-5.

Pleasingly, Mottram found assistance from Ai Sartaj and between then they were able to stabilise the situation with Mottram moving past 50. Mottram then threw away his good work as he was out bowled in the final over before tea- he advanced down the track to the spin of the home teams, Lee Bolton and missed the ball. Mottram made an excellent 59 another key recent contribution from the in form skipper. With Orrell 110-9 very soon after the tea break, it looked like to be very much like the game was moving towards the home team. However, an excellent late order innings from Gareth Houghton (22 not out) ably supported by junior debutant Mark Crumpton saw Mottram able to declare on 130-9 from 43 overs. Houghton must take great credit for the intelligence with which he managed the game situation – interspersing big hits with rotation of the strike.

The Orrell new ball opening pair of Joe Lyth and Houghton set about seeking the 10 wickets required for victory. Lyth struck in the first over to take the key wicket of home team opener, Neil Rimmer, to make the score 2-1. When Houghton struck twice in 2 balls in the second over of the innings to make the score 2-3, the whole complexion of the game changed dramatically. Houghton struck again and then Lyth, bowling with real menace, brought up his 5 wicket haul to leave the home team innings in tatters at 38-8. Some big hitting resistance from the home team’s number 7 bat, Andrew Watts, saw the call put out to Crumpton to bowl his first over in the first team. When Watts despatched Crumpton’s first ball for a straight 6 down the ground, it was clear that this would be a test of the young man’s character. Three dot balls followed and then when Watts tried to play a big shot to the fifth ball of the over, he only succeeded in putting the ball high up into the air. Lyth showed great composure to take the steepling catch. Crumpton, in his next over, then took the 10th wicket as he induced a chipped up catch to mid-off to leave the hosts 73 all out- an Orrell victory by 57 runs. Lyth took a season’s best 5-18, Houghton 3-34 whilst Crumpton finished with 2-7 from 9 balls- quite a start to his first team career.

On Sunday, Mottram’s team made the short trip to Spring View CC to play the rearranged Ray Tyler Cup Final. Unfortunately, the recent very wet weather meant that the Spring View ground was not fit for play. Despite a general willingness to make a third attempt to play the match next Sunday 17th September, league officials (who had shown a pleasingly pragmatic approach to the application of the replay rules in earlier rounds and in other cup competitions this season in order to ‘get the game on’) decreed that this was not possible and that there had to be a bowl out or a coin toss. The option that the trophy was shared (as per what happened with the 2017 Lancashire Cricket Board Knockout Trophy) or played at the start of next season (like the 2017 Ray Digman Trophy) was not pursued.

Spring View’s bowler’s showed greater accuracy in bowling at the stumps in the bowl off and came out 3-0 winners after 4 bowlers from each side had all bowled 2 balls each. Congratulations to Spring View on their triumph. Mottram and his team will be left to reflect on a sad end to their cup run after a number of notable victories to reach the final.

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