On a grey wet and windy Saturday afternoon at Birkenhead Park, Ormskirk’s West Indian bowler, Dane Currency, brought rays of sunshine and smiles to the hearts of the travelling supporters with a masterful display of controlled orthodox left arm spin bowling.
Having won the toss, Ian Robinson, the Ormskirk skipper, put Birkenhead Park into bat and things looked distinctly worrying as the pace attack failed to make any inroads whatsoever into a competent Birkenhead opening partnership.
It wasn’t until Robinson introduced spin that the first wicket fell to Currency with the score at 70 without loss. From then on things went on to get better and better. Varying the length and speed of delivery with every ball, Currency caused havoc with the batting line up and wickets started to fall.
He enticed batsmen down the wicket to give keeper Gary Knight chances of stumpings which he eagerly accepted, left others groping hopelessly to find themselves out lbw and those who tried to smash their way out of trouble caught on the boundary. He finished with the remarkable figures of 7 for 43 off 19 overs as Birkenhead Park declared at 179 for 7.
This was, to many, felt to be a generous declaration, leaving a target well within the capabilities of the Ormskirk batsmen in normal good weather conditions but they were anything but normal.
As the break for tea was taken, deep cloud gathered over Birkenhead, accompanied by drizzly rain, making batting conditions very difficult on the resumption of play. Nevertheless, Andy Baybutt and John Armstrong progressed steadily, with frequent stoppages for rain, before Baybutt was trapped lbw trying to force the pace against the ever growing threat of prolonged rain that could bring the game to a disappointing draw.
With John Armstrong joined by Ian Robinson, the new partnership moved things along steadily. It wasn’t long into their partnership, however, that heavy rain intervened again leaving the task of reaching the required target of 180, in the time left, looking ever more difficult.
When play eventually resumed both batsmen were obviously aware that they had to attack the bowling with big hitting in order to stand any chance of victory. This was exactly what they did.
Playing imaginative strokes against very defensive field settings and with excellent running between the wickets, victory, by a margin of 9 wickets, was achieved with Robinson on 50 not out and Armstrong on 95 not out.
Their unbroken partnership of 120 runs, scored in only 58 minutes from 91 balls, complemented Dane Currency’s earlier rays of sunshine instilled into the cold and by then wet Ormskirk following!
In effect, Ormskirk played against two opponents in the beautiful parkland setting, a capable Birkenhead team and thoroughly unpleasant weather. Fortunately, with a keen sense of urgency, linked to skill and fortitude, both of them were overcome.
The victory leaves Ormskirk top of the Premier League with three victories from the first three games. Things are looking good as they travel to Bootle next week, as League leaders by 15 points.