|Scorecard:||Ormskirk v Ramsbottom|
DateLine: 7th April 2008
While the 2008 season commenced in decidedly un-cricket like conditions, Ormskirk and Ramsbottom played out a thrilling tie in their pre-season ‘warm-up’ at Brook Lane.
It is testimony to Ormskirk that this game even took place. According to club sources, the ground was unrecognisable from the week previously and it ensured that these two sides, becoming regular pre-season friends, got a game on, on a wicket that was soft but played true.
Ramsbottom captain Simon Read won the toss and had no hesitation on putting the home side in. Both sides were without their respective professionals – Ramsbottom’s was still in India while Ormskirk’s had just been selected for South Africa’s Academy tour of Bangladesh.
Scoring was steady, if unspectacular, from the home side. Toby McLean bowled with pace but little direction and his footwork was also faulting, conceding nine no-balls but the star of the show was young Jack Walmsley, who bowled six overs in his opening spell for just 9 runs and claimed the wicket of James Illingworth, well snapped up by Chris Read in the slips.
A two half-century run-a-minute partnerships between skipper Matthew Glayzer (37) and ex-Lancashire wicket-keeper John Simpson, son of Ramsbottom league championship winning captain Jack, followed by Simpson and Simon Illingworth (30), took the Ormskirk score way past what was thought to be par on this slow wicket. They were helped by some decidedly creaky early season bowling.
It may be a bit of a worry ahead of the season that the spin department, filled by the overseas professional over the last decade, is sorely lacking. Martin Cropper, Chris Read and Phil Hayes, trying out his Warne-clone style, struggled with their line and length and were easy pickings at times, although Cropper will be pleased with is 0-23 in eight overs.
Simpson was finally dismissed for 69, including three sixes and four fours.
Ramsbottom’s reply started steadily with the busy Phil Hayes opening up with the more circumspect Steve Leonard and they added 27 before the former was bowled around his legs by Griffiths for 17. David Bell looked fluent and when Leonard also cleaned up for 16, he found a willing allay in Keith Webb.
Bell and Webb took the score to 109 in quick time, a stand of 60 in just 45 minutes. Bell was looking in good touch until he smashed a McArmey long-hop down the through of Nick Caunce for a pleasant 41 off 63 balls. Webb continued in his own inimitable fashion, but his dismissal for 42 with just twelve runs required, would have been disappointing.
It was particularly disappointing as Ramsbottom, three balls later, needed just six to win from two overs but the impressive Chris Read at the wicket with Chris Wood. However, a superb penultimate over from Caunce resulted in just one run being scored (and that was a wide), leaving five required from the last over.
Only two were scored from the first five balls, leaving Read, who finished with 38 off 32 balls, needing three from the last ball. A good shot into the deep only resulted in two and a tie. It was a game that Ramsbottom should have won, given the position they put themselves in, but all concerned were pleased with the run out and all the players got a decent bit of the action.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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