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  1. Published on: 14/09/2020 07:38 AMReported by: rogerblaxall
    Report and photos: Peter Rogan

    Over the past month Ormskirk have been soundly beaten both at home and away by Formby - and so the omens were not good for Ormskirk when the two teams met at Formby for the semi-final of the Restart Knockout Competition.

    But Saturday’s game threw past form and reputations out of the window as Ormskirk gained a dramatic win in a hugely exciting and entertaining game that ensured that they would be playing next week rather than lamenting the end of a disappointing season, albeit a much curtailed one.


    Having won the toss and electing to bat, Ormskirk were soon in trouble having lost both openers. Alex Rankin (3) was bowled and Tyler McGladdery (0) was caught in the slips to leave the score on 8-2.


    The new partnership of Robert Rankin and Gary Knight put on 42 runs before Robert Rankin (22) found himself back in the pavilion having been given out with a lbw decision. With the score on 50-3 John Armstrong joined Gary Knight and things were looking good when Knight (36) was bowled to lose his wicket and bring George Politis to the crease to join John Armstrong but the partnership did not last long when Politis (6) gave an easy catch to lose his wicket.


    With the score on 118-6 it needed John Armstrong to steady the ship and this he did in style. He stayed put enjoying brief but profitable partnerships with Scott Lees (16), Nicky Caunce (14), Josh Thompson (15) and Ed Brown (5).


    The innings closed with the score on 193-9 with John Armstrong having scored 56* off sixty balls to include five 4s and two 6s. His innings provided the platform to give the bowlers a fighting chance of defending a reasonable total and upsetting the odds to bring a victory.


    The Formby reply mirrored Ormskirk’s opening as they found themselves 2 wickets down with only 8 runs on the board. Nicky Caunce trapped opener James Seward (5) lbw and in the next over Scott Lees dismissed Calum Turner (0) in the same fashion.
    Scott Lees, bowling his best of the season, quickly took three further wickets having Ollie Sutton (0) caught behind by Gary Knight, trapping Edward Lowe (4) lbw and bowling Dewi Jones (0). His fine spell saw Formby struggling at 32-5 with the only recognised batsman Sam Oldham left to weather the storm.


    Further trouble followed for Formby when Josh Thompson, Jamie Barnes and Ed Brown joined the bowling attack to leave them on 82-8. It looked to be a formality to finish off the innings but opener Sam Oldham was still there having scored 42 runs and he had other ideas. When the last batsman joined him the fireworks started as he took complete control.


    The tactic was straightforward in that last batsman Alex Powell simply had to take no chances and keep his partner at the batting end.


    Oldham provided the crowd with a superb exhibition of attacking play hitting boundary after boundary. He refused singles to keep the batting while his partner did as required by doing no more than protecting his wicket.


    The assault on the bowling was merciless and the score accelerated as Oldham reached his century. From being 83-9 Formby were now less that 30 runs away from victory with over six overs to go.


    That victory was to be denied when a mix up between the batsmen, and the score on 169, saw Alex Powell (7) run out by Alex Rankin. The relief and joy of the whole Ormskirk team was palpable as the last wicket partnership of 86 was broken. Sam Oldham had scored an undefeated 121 off 107 balls and included 70 runs in boundaries (seven 4s and seven 6s).


    The match will be remembered for Sam Oldham’s remarkable innings and overall he was definitely ‘Man of the Match’, notwithstanding that he was on the losing side. Ormskirk’s outstanding performances came for John Armstrong (56*) and Scott Lees (4-37).


    It was a great game of cricket in which Ormskirk defied all the odds to progress to the competition final when they will travel to play Northern.
      

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