SKELMERSDALE continued with their trusted opening bowling pair of Mohammed Rehan and Jonas Smith against Birkenhead St Mary’s.
It bore immediate dividends, as Lee Roberts was bowled by Rehan for a ‘duck’ with the Birkenhead score on 1. Zahid Mohammed was joined at the wicket by Arfan Khalid and the pair took advantage of some loose leg-side bowling to put on 23 runs.
Zahid Mohammed had scored 10 runs, when he was bowled by Smith, and was soon followed back to the pavilion by Mike Bowe, given out LBW to the same bowler for two runs. Birkenhead were struggling on 28 for 3 wickets.
The fourth wicket fell at 30 when Muhammad Ghafoor was caught behind the wicket by Mitchell Clarke off Rehan’s bowling for two runs.
It was the start an amazing collapse by the Birkenhead batsmen as the score went from 30 for 4 wickets, to 42 for 9 wickets.
The fifth wicket fell at 40 when Arfan Khalid was bowled by Rehan for a stubborn 16 runs.
It was to be the last Birkenhead batsman to reach double figures. With the score on 42, four wickets fell without a run added.
Rehmat Khan was caught by Louis Sweeney off Smith’s bowling for two runs. He was followed by Waqar Iltaf, given LBW to Smith for 5 runs.
Next to be dismissed was Louis Fuzzard, stumped by Clarke after being stranded going down the wicket to Rehan for a ‘duck’.
The ninth wicket to fall was that of Muhammad Qasim, out LBW to Rehan for six runs. It was left to Adam Seabury and the veteran Bill McGenity who came out of retirement, to provide a brief defensive resistance.
With the score on 51, the Birkenhead innings closed as Seabury was bowled by Rehan without scoring. McGenity was undefeated on one, at the close.
Birkenhead were all out for a miserly 51 in the 30th over. In the 29 overs bowled by Skelmersdale, Rehan took 6 wickets for 23 runs, whilst Jonas Smith claimed 4 wickets for 26 runs.
The tea-break was taken early, and Skelmersdale came out again with heavy clouds overhead.
Opener Mohammed Rehan faced just two balls, when the rain started and there was a rush to get the covers on to protect the wicket.
The next three hours were spent covering and uncovering the wicket as the rain came and went.
With time approaching 6.30pm the rain relented and the umpires gave the instruction that play could resume.
After umpire’s calculations, the home team were advised that they would have 5.4 overs in which to chase the 52 runs that would give them an unexpected victory.
Smith and Rehan started aggressively looking to put any loose balls over the boundary rope.
However, Skelmersdale were falling behind the required run-rate, and with the score on 20 Rehan was dismissed, bowled by Muhammad Qasim for 9 runs. Hasnain Abbas came in to join Smith and the run-rate rose dramatically.
In one Zahid Mohammed over, 23 runs were plundered which gave Skelmersdale the chance of the win. Quite amazingly Skelmersdale passed the Birkenhead score for the loss of one wicket, and with nine balls to spare.
The home team had scored the required 52 runs in just 27 balls. At the close Smith was undefeated on 18, with Abbas on 22 runs.
Skelmersdale second XI made the journey to play Caldy. Having won the toss they asked their hosts to bat.
The first wicket fell with the score on 22 when Omkar Salunkhe bowled Alan Mellor for 10 runs. Just nine runs were added when Salunkhe claimed his second wicket, bowling Julian Higgs for one run.
Jack Hunter came in to join opener Jamie Tomkins and moved the score on to 46 before the fall of the third wicket.
Hunter was given out LBW to Salunkhe for 6 runs.
When the fourth wicket fell five runs later, Skelmersdale were looking to be in a good position. Caldy’s opener Tomkins was caught by Salunkhe off the bowling of Stephen Rimmer for 20 runs.
With Gary Laycock and Peter Smith looking comfortable, Skelmersdale turned to its young spin-bowlers Jack Maddocks and Harry Marston.
The fifth wicket fell with the score on 88 when Maddocks had Laycock caught by Marston for 14 runs. With 90 on the scoreboard, three wickets fell in quick succession.
Firstly, Nathaniel Alsop was bowled by Salunkhe for a ‘duck’, followed by Will Dixon, caught by Ian Girvin to become Salunkhe’s fifth wicket. Matters worsened for Caldy when Peter Smith was bowled by Maddocks for a steady innings of 20.
Unfortunately, the young Skelmersdale team let the initiative slip from their grasp as Shuja Ahmad and Aftab Ahmed put on 85 for the ninth wicket partnership.
At the close Caldy declared on 175 for 8 in the 50th over, with Ahmad on 22 and Ahmed on 51 runs. Salunkhe finished with 5 wickets for 63 off his 21 overs.
In reply, Skelmersdale opened with skipper Peter Davies and Jack Maddocks.
The pair put on 25 when the first wicket fell as Davies was caught and bowled by Will Dixon for seven runs. With 39 on the board, two more Skelmersdale wickets were lost as first Salunkhe was caught by Laycock for 13 runs followed by Robbie Oliver caught on his second ball for a ‘duck’. Skelmersdale’s Maddocks was dismissed with the score on 42, bowled by Ahmed for 14 runs.
This brought together the experienced Ian Girvin and Stephen Rimmer.
The pair quickly moved Skelmersdale onto 78 when the fifth wicket fell. Rimmer was caught and bowled by Ahmed for 24 runs in 23 balls faced.
Skelmersdale brought on Paul Bennett to join Girvin.
With the score on 102 however, two more wicket fell as Bennett was given out LBW for 17 runs.
He was followed by Andre Hughes who was bowled by Ahmed without scoring.
The eighth wicket fell at 104 when Girvin was caught by Alsop for 18 runs. Skelmersdale’s innings closed when Tony Jones was caught by Laycock on his first ball, leaving Marston undefeated on two runs.
With one player unavailable Skelmersdale were all out for 104.