A league fixture against Bootle is always eagerly awaited and, with a string of three wins behind them in the opening games of the season, Ormskirk players travelled to Wadham Road with confidence high of achieving a fourth successive league victory.
The large crowd saw Bootle captain David Snellgrove win the toss and put Ormskirk in to bat.
At the onset of the innings the Bootle skipper’s decision appeared to be an inspired one, in so much as opening batsman Andy Baybutt found himself going back to the pavilion after facing just one ball, caught by Snellgrove off the bowling of Bootle’s Australian overseas player Kaine Balgowan.
This left Ormskirk one wicket down without a run on the board. Bootle smiles became even broader when, with only 11 runs scored, in-form Ormskirk skipper Ian Robinson joined Baybutt in the pavilion, having been bowled by Bootle paceman William Purser, leaving Gary Knight to join John Armstrong to rescue the situation. They settled in and took the score along to 45 before Armstrong, trying to force the pace, was caught off the bowling of Purser.
A stand of 89 between Matty Glayzer and Gary Knight added respectability to the score, leaving Ormskirk at 134-4 when Glayzer was caught behind, just one run short of his half century. Knight had progressed well to a chanceless 50 and it was on the cards that if he was to continue playing as he was, Ormskirk could be in the driving seat at the end of the innings.
Sixteen-year-old Michael Jones was unfortunately run out and Ormskirk’s Lancashire and England player Simon Kerrigan, making a rare appearance for his home club, joined Knight at the crease.
The pair set about the Bootle bowlers with some fine stroke play; Gary Knight reaching his century with boundary after boundary.
Both were undefeated when Robinson declared the innings at 221-5 with Kerrigan on 29 and Knight on 105.
As the teams went in for tea the smiles were now on the Ormskirk faces, the biggest one being reserved for Gary Knight who had shown, yet again, what an accomplished cricketer he is.
Bootle’s early reply was remarkably similar to Ormskirk’s opening, with the home side finding itself at 8-2 after only 19 balls being bowled.
The early wickets of David Snellgrove and Richard Cowderoy fell in the opening bowling spell of Gavin Griffiths and Liam Hurt, both taking a wicket each.
Nicky Caunce nipped in to take the third wicket with the score having progressed to 72.
These first three batsmen all went to catches, a trend that was to continue when the spin bowling of Dane Currency and Kerrigan was brought in to play.
Four more catches were taken off the spin men and, along with a stumping by Gary Knight, a run out by John Armstrong and an lbw decision in favour of Currency, the Bootle team was bowled out for 141 runs.
It was a good all round team performance that gave Ormskirk victory by the comfortable margin of 80 runs. Man of the Match was undoubtedly Gary Knight with his undefeated 105 runs and his faultless performance behind the stumps.
On Sunday the team travelled to Knypersley CC in Staffordshire to play a rearranged Royal London Club Championship cup tie and returned home with a six wicket victory to ensure passage into the next round to play against Bootle.
Knypersley struggled against accurate tight bowling and, after 45 overs, scored a modest 119 runs. With Matty Glayzer maintaining his form from the previous day, scoring 52 runs, the target was reached comfortably with 23 overs to spare.
Ormskirk are at home next Saturday to reigning Premier Championship team Northern CC. It is a mouth watering prospect, with Ormskirk, sitting top of this year’s table by 15 points clearly intent on relieving the Crosby side of the championship trophy, bringing it back to Brook Lane at the end of the season.
With a big crowd expected, stumps will be pitched at 1pm.