Orrell finished within agonising reach of a deserved victory as they drew their rain affected match away at Skelmersdale. Having won the toss and chosen to bat first, Orrell captain Andrew Mottram saw Skem opening bowler, Aqib Nawaz take a sharp caught and bowled chance to send him back to the pavilion early in the innings. A second wicket partnership of 96 between Matt Morgan and Richard Everett then saw the Orrell innings sail forward serenely as they both hit a number of shots that were very pleasing on the eye. However, the Orrell curse of two batters who were ‘in’ getting out in quick succession struck again as Everett (43) was joined back in the pavilion by Morgan (64) to make the score 127-3. When Richard Smith followed soon afterwards, the depleted Orrell batting line up looked to be in trouble at 132-4. However, an excellent fifth wicket counter attack by Matthew Kirby (31) and Steve Unsworth (25) saw the Orrell innings regain its momentum. Joe Lyth then hit a quickfire unbeaten 25 to allow Mottram to declare on 228-8 in 51.4 overs.
Lyth then struck an early blow to the Skem reply as the hosts found themselves 2-1. Wickets then fell at regular intervals without the Orrell bowlers ever ripping through the hosts batting line up. This was to prove crucial as 25 minutes of play was lost to a torrential downpour. Upon the return to the field , Orrell had 17 overs left to take the remaining 5 wickets. When Lyth took the ninth wicket with 10 balls left, it looked like victory was in sight. However, the Skem batters held on for a draw. Lyth finished with 3-35, Morgan 2-27 and Ali Sartaj 3-35.
This is the second week in a row that the rain has cost Mottram’s team a deserved victory.
Meanwhile back at Winstanley Road, Paul Mottram’s second team comprehensively beat Alder by 109 runs. After the visitors chose to field, Orrell declared on 180-5 from 45 overs. Mottram himself top scoring with 76 and then Matthew Wareing (27 not out) and Steve Pegg (29 not out) also contributing. It then became the Phil Taberner show as he secured his second nine wicket haul of the season as Alder were bowled out for 71 in 23.4 overs. Taberner, days away from his wedding, finishing with 9-51 from 12 overs.
On Sunday, a young third team lost a nailbiter away at a Rainhill team including first team player Nathan Jones and mid-season second team signing in the form of all-rounder Joe McCurdy. The hosts chose to bat first and finished 193-9 declared in 45 overs with McCurdy scoring the bulk of the runs with an excellent 100. Orrell have only themselves to blame for allowing such a large score as they dropped McCurdy early in his innings. Moore with 3-34 was the leading Orrell wicket taker and credit must also go to opening bowling pair of Terry Leaford (1-13) from 6 overs and George Berry (1-6) from 6 overs.
After Matthew Wareing (32) got the Orrell reply off to a good start, strong contributions from the young Orrell mid order saw the victory target come into sight and the advantage very much with Orrell. When a 7th wicket partnership of 54 between Leaford and Ben Mahoney saw 18 needed for victory with 3 wickets left and 6 overs to go then victory should have been achieved. However, just as at Newton earlier in the season, panic set in and Orrell finished 186 all out with over 3 overs still to go. Mahoney top scored with 46. The result aside, this was a very pleasing performance from a young team. However, they must now learn how to hold their nerve to finish off tight games.
Orrell’s Fourth team welcomed Goose Green to Winstanley Road. Having chosen to bat, Orrell finished 177 all out from 36 overs. David Cheetham (59) and Charlie Abbott (60) top scoring. The visitors cruised to a 6 wicket victory with 9 overs left. Steve Martlew (2-15) and Natalie Martlew (1-25) were the Orrell wicket takers.