Orrell’s first team made it 4 wins in a row with a victory over Sefton Park at Winstanley Road. Heavy rain saw a delayed start time of 3.30pm and stand in skipper Sam Heeley won the key toss and put the visitors into bat.
Wickets for both opening bowlers (Phil Taberner and Joe Lyth) saw Sefton 16-2 early in their innings. Key Sefton bat Sean Vandome kept up the pressure on the home side as he scored at more than a run a ball. Lyth then struck a key blow with the score on 53 as he induced Vandome to play on with a well concealed slower ball. First change bowlers Sid Patel and Alsi Sartaj then turned the screw on the visitors as wicket fell at regular intervals. Sartaj was once again the pick of the bowlers with an impressive 5-23 whilst Patel (2-22) Lyth (2-31) and Taberner (1-31) also contributed to a tight Orrell bowling and fielding performance.
Chasing low totals proved to be Orrell’s achilles heel at times last season. It looked like this could be an issue again as they were at one stage 38-3. A key partnership of 49 between Heeley and Matt Morgan steadied the situation and put Orrell back in the driving seat. An unfortunate mix up saw Morgan run out for 25 with the score on 87. However, Heeley was joined by Sartaj who showed he can bat also as Orrell swept to a 6 wicket victory with 10 overs of the curtailed plays day left. A key victory for Orrell given the rain shortened day and the situation that they found themselves in at 38-3.
Orrell’s second team eased to a 10 wicket win at Maghull. The hosts won the toss and chose to bat but were soon in trouble at 3-2. Wickets fell consistently and they were eventually bowled out for 101 in 28.1 overs. Youngsters Charlie Abbott (4-18) and Harry Burrows (3-19) were the pick of the bowlers with Lee Martinus (2-24) and Chris Kirby (1-29) also picking up wickets. The Orrell openers, Steve Tickle and Steve Pegg then gave a masterclass in chasing a low total through strike rotation as the victory total was reached in 18.4 overs. This was the fifth win in a row for the team- an impressive head of steam for the harder challenges ahead.
Orrell’s third team were unfortunate for the second week in a row to face opposition significantly strengthened from the usual team that their opponents would field as they lost a close contest at neighbours Wigan. Facing a team containing two first team regulars and a number of second team players doubling up from their Saturday match, Orrell’s team of predominantly third team players and younger juniors were put into bat by the hosts.
Opener George Mushahwar was dismissed early on by the impressive outswing bowling of Liam Martlew who then dismissed his father, Steve, to leave Orrell struggling at 8-2. A partnership of 49 between Dom Lawton (29) and Andy Ackers gave Orrell a foothold in the game as they saw off the bowling of Wigan’s first team opening bowler from the previous week- Jordan Hampson. When Ackers was eventually dismissed for a stoic 39 to leave Orrell on 119-6, Harry Burrows then showed some impressive hitting to make a quickfire 24 including a huge six. The Orrell innings eventually came to an end with the score on 143 in 46.1 overs.
The Orrell bowlers knew that they would have to make early breakthroughs if they were to stand a chance of defending their total. Initial signs were positive as probing bowling from George Berry and Oliver Graham saw Wigan in trouble at 7-2. What followed provided a fascinating contrast between the approaches of the two teams to the match. Whilst the Wigan innings was then built around a partnership of Orrell old boy Joe Burrows and first team top order bat Hampson, Orrell skipper Alan Moore stuck by his philosophy of providing developmental bowling opportunities to his younger players.
When Joe Burrows was replaced by his brother, Lancashire second team player George, and then Liam Martlew, who had scored a half century for Wigan’s second team the day before, the size of Orrell’s task became apparent. Whilst the effort of the Orrell bowlers was unstinting, they could not dismiss the hard hitting Hampson, who showed why he bats so high up in his club’s first team, as he scored a key 85 not out (a significant amount of his sides total) as Wigan moved to a 5 wicket victory. Graham (1-13) Berry (1-15) Harry Burrows (1-26) Mushahwar (1-26) and Ackers (1-19) were the Orrell wicket takers. The Orrell team will recognise that their total of 143 was not sufficient and is an area for improvement.
The second week in a row that Moore’s team have come up short in a closely fought contest against a strengthened opposition- a mark of respect. Whilst the results have gone the wrong way for Orrell, skipper Moore can be assured that his adherence to a consistent philosophy will pay dividends down the line both for his team as well as for the development of his younger players in the long term- a key focus of Sunday cricket in the Liverpool Competition.
The club would like to wish our young pace bowler, Harry Burrows, best wishes for his upcoming selection to play for the Liverpool Competition Under 17’s representative side against Lancashire Under 15’s on Tuesday 23rd May at Winstanley Road. Go well Harry!