Ormskirk on brink of title glory
IF Ormskirk’s cricketers could not actually hold the Premier League trophy at the end of their match against Northern on Saturday, they could see it gleaming in the evening sunshine at Moor Park.
The Brook Lane side’s 49-run victory has left them with a 69-point lead over Rainhill and Bootle at the top and Matt Glayzer’s men may need only a handful of points at Wadham Road at the weekend to clinch their first title since 2014.
Tom Hartley was the star of Saturday’s victory, the left-arm spinner taking 6-42 as James Cole’s side made 179 in reply to the visitors’ 228-9 declared in 52 overs.
Andy Baybutt made 59 in the first innings of the game and four other Ormskirk batsmen managed more than 28 as their side pressed for maximum batting bonus points.
Jack Boardman gave Northern some hope with 65.
But it was also a vital afternoon at the bottom of the Liverpool Gin Liverpool Competition’s top division where Formby’s easy victory at Ainsdale combined with Southport & Birkdale’s defeat at Bootle left Ian Cockbain’s team as warm favourites to avoid relegation at the expense of both Southport clubs.
Ajmal Shahzad’s 6-29 and Gary Keedy’s 4-23 dismissed Ainsdale for 89 and Dan Stanley’s 48no exposed the inadequacy of that score in an eight-wicket win.
By contrast S&B made Bootle work for their 50-run victory, but Chris Firth’s side now trail Formby by 28 points and almost certainly need to win two of their last three games to have a hope of surviving in the top flight.
Chris Brownlow took three early wick- ets for the Trafalgar Road team before Luke Procter’s 48 and Danny Davies’ unbeaten 75 steered Bootle towards an early declaration on 191-5 after 42.5 overs.
That target seemed in reach while Adam Phillips was batting very fluently for 77 but once he became one of Scott Butterworth’s six victims, S&B lost their last five wickets for 28 runs.
Rainhill’s hopes of finishing runnersup took a blow when they lost to Colwyn Bay in an entertaining match at Victoria Terrace.
David Atkinson’s 63 and Sam Kershaw’s 55 allowed Ben Edmundson to call his batsmen in after 55 overs with the Rainhill score reading 205-7, all the wickets falling to the spinners.
However Colwyn Bay’s strong batting line-up coped well with this challenge, thanks mainly to Zak Gidlow, who made 66, and Rumesh Buddhika, who contributed 61, before Adam Campion followed his four wickets before tea by making 48 not out to seal the win.
The only Premier League match to end in a draw on Saturday took place at Church Road, where Lytham recovered from 55-6 to post 193-8 in 64 overs, Joe Davies hitting a patient 67 and Matt McKiernan taking 4-25 from 23 overs.
Leigh collapsed as well and had to be rescued from 47-5 by Adam Shallcross’s 62.
Ryan Maddock snapped up 4-40 for Danny Edwards’s team but Leigh finished on 135-7 off 37 overs.
Tom Hartley took six wickets for front-runners Ormskirk