Orrell’s first team made it 5 wins in a row with an unconvincing win away at Hightown St. Mary’s. Mindful of the forecast thunderstorms for the West Lancashire area, stand in skipper, Sam Heeley, won the toss and elected to field. Heeley’s decision paid an early dividend with Sid Patel executing an impressive run out to a poorly judged single to make the score 1-1. Further run outs could have followed in the first 5 overs as the Hightown batters seemed intent on running every time they hit the ball but they somehow survived. Some sloppy fielding from Orrell in the intense heat, including a couple of dropped catches, allowed the Hightown innings to then make good progress.
The introduction of Gareth Houghton saw him take a wicket in his first over to leave the score 39-2.
Next, the introduction of the metronomic Ali Sartaj saw Orrell dry up the Hightown scoring and a stalemate ensued as it became clear that Hightown intended to bat for more than their 55 overs. The cricket was attritional at times with very few shots being played by the home batters. The Orrell bowlers did stick to their task in the heat and some imaginative field placings saw wickets fall at regular intervals as Higthown reached 150-8 after 55 overs. After tea, Sid Pzatel, bowling with genuine venom throughout, wrapped up the Hightown tail to leave the hosts 162 all out in 59.4 overs. Patel finished with 4-33, Sartaj 2-37 from 20 overs, Houghton 2-20 and Matt Morgan 1-6 from 6 overs.
When the Orrell reply began, it was clear that the hosts were placing a great importance on their opening bowlers as they bowled the first 29 overs of the Orrell reply. Sam Heeley hit some glorious shots in his 43 to get the Orrell innings off to a decent start. However, when he played onto his stumps attempting a low pull shot and Patel followed quickly afterwards, the Orrell run chase looked to be in serious trouble at 75-4- especially given the deterioration in the weather conditions. However, Sartaj provided the support that Morgan required as the Orrell innings recovered.
When Sartaj was out for a counter attacking 18 to leave the score 136-5 victory looked assured for the visitors. However, the incoming Orrell lower middle order batters failed to heed the advice to stay in and allow Morgan to steer the team to victory as Orrell plunged to 147-6 and then 156-7. All the while Morgan set the template for how to achieve victory as he showed excellent shot selection that was not matched by others. A 3 wicket victory was achieved as Joe Lyth hit the winning four with 10 overs left in the day. Morgan finishing unbeaten on 60 and showing how key he is to the Orrell batting line up.
A pleasing victory for Orrell but not a performance to match those of recent weeks. They will need to get back to the high standards of previous weeks for the stern challenges ahead. The return of skipper Andrew Mottram and the imminent return to fitness of David Naylor will bolster the batting line up.
Orrell second team moved top of the table with a comfortable victory over neighbours Spring View at Winstanley Road. The visitors won the toss and chose to have a bowl in the damp conditions post thunderstorm. The Orrell innings looked to be moving along nicely as the century of runs came into sight for the loss of only 1 wicket. When Richard Smith was out for an excellent 57, the Orrell innings then collapsed to 115-6. Spring View old boy Martin James recovered the Orrell innings with a scintillating 36 as Orrell were eventually all out for 180 in 42.4 overs. Steve Tickle played the other innings of note with 34.
The Spring View run chase never really got going as Lee Martinus removed their entire top 3 to leave the score 21-3. The innings never really recovered as the visitors found themselves 90-9. A spirited 10th wicket partnership led by Spring View’s underrated Under 14 Ben Jukes (15) saw the visitors restore some pride as they were bowled out for 121. Martinus finished with 3-30, Steve Pegg (4-20) Smith (2-12) and Harry Burrows (1-35).
Orrell’s third team got back to winning ways with a comprehensive 168 run victory over Rainhill at Winstanley Road on Sunday. The visitors won the toss and chose to bowl- a decision that took most observers by surprise. Skipper Alan Moore hit some lusty blows down the ground and was ably assisted by George Mushahwar. The Orrell innings rattled along at a fine rate but Moore (39) was quickly followed by Mushahwar back to the pavilion to leave the score 91-2. Orrell number three, Tom Brown, was dropped on 0 and then proceeded to flay the visitors bowling to all part of the ground (including a huge 6). Brown finished on 86 not out from 78 balls as a quickfire 33 from 20 balls by Tom Heywood allowed Moore to declare on 239-5 from 42 overs.
After a sloppy first 6 overs to the Rainhill innings from the Orrell bowlers and fielders, wickets then began to tumble regularly as Oli Graham (2-37) and Mark Crumpton (3-13) made way for Lancashire Girl’s Under 15’s bowler Katie Hodge and Alfie Clarke. Rainhill were eventually all out for 71 in 24 overs. Hodge taking 1-5 and Clarke an impressive 4-9. Hodge also took a stunning low catch moving in from square leg.
A good win for Moore’s young team with the one disappointing aspect being the lower than usual Sunday bank holiday crowd to appreciate the efforts of this emerging team. Even allowing for a fourth team game taking place at the same time, the efforts of this team deserved better support from within the ORTCC community.
A young Orrell fourth team played their first match in a few weeks as they made the short journey to Goose Green in the West Lancashire League. Batting first, Orrell made 152-6 in 40 overs underpinned by 59 not out from skipper David Cheetham and 47 from Steve Martlew. Goose Green made light work of the young Orrell bowling attack as they cruised to a 7 wicket victory with 16 overs to spare. 14 year old Alix Allcock was the pick of the Orrell bowlers with 3-22.