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Formby Cricket Club finally find the winning formula

Formby went down to yet another defeat at Ormskirk on 8th July. A combination of the rail strike and an injury to England star Haseeb Hameed, in his first appearance this season, deprived Formby of a fielder for all but a handful of the 53 overs Ormskirk batted. Formby got off to a decent start, having lost the toss, as Ollie Sutton had Jones lbw with the score on 17. Next ball a strong appeal for a catch at the wicket of Bohannon was turned down (the player later admitted he’d nicked it). 5 runs later, Gregg Weir uprooted Baybutt’s middle stump and Formby were on top. However, Armstrong and Bohannon proceeded, aided by some sloppy Formby catching, as Armstrong was dropped twice, to add 193 before Ben Aitchison eventually induced a return catch from Armstrong (80), which he held. The declaration was made at 256-3, Bohannon finishing on 130 not out.

Formby started abysmally, losing James Seward, Ian Cockbain, and the previous week’s centurion, Sam Oldham, for just 5 runs. Hameed played some lovely shots as a partnership with Stanley developed, but at 53 Stanley was caught at the wicket off Bohannon, and 3 runs later, Hameed, on 36, glanced the same bowler too fine and was rather unluckily out, also caught behind. After that, it was only a matter of time, though Elliot Ketteringham and Luke Jones added 52 for the 6th wicket, before the latter was caught behind off Kerrigan for 19, and 12 runs later Ketteringham followed him, mishitting a forcing shot to be caught at mid-off for 35. The innings lasted just 41 overs as Formby were dismissed for 130.

They put up a much better show in the Liverpool Echo KO quarter-final at Bootle on Friday night. Bootle batted first and went off at a good rate, the fifty coming up in the 6th over, though Tripathi was badly dropped on 32 in that over. Despite an injury causing him to hop between the wickets he then proceeded to put all Formby’s bowlers to the sword as he reached his 50 from 30 balls and his hundred from just 46. The only Formby bowlers to take wickets were Ollie Sutton (1) and Sam Oldham, whose 4-20 from 4 overs kept the Bootle total under 200 as they finished on 191-5 with Tripathi caught by Luke Jones off Oldham for 135, his second century against Formby in a t20 match this season.

Formby got under way even faster, as Dan Stanley took 10 off Liptrot’s opening over, despite it being only 5 balls. Jude Mahadanaarachchi went for 13 at 47 and unfortunately Stanley was then caught on the long-on boundary for 49 from just 18 balls. By now it was getting quite gloomy and starting to rain, but Seward and Ketteringhasm kept the run-rate up as the 100 was reached in the 10th over. Unfortunately, wickets continued to fall – Ketteringham (20), Seward (22) and Oldham (15). Ollie Sutton came in at 8 and hit 27 from 16 balls but ran out of partners as Formby were all out for 169 from the first ball of the 19th over.

This Saturday they entertained New Brighton, and were invited to bat. The signing of former England Test and limited overs international player, Ajmal Shahzad, had been made in time for him to play. He must have wondered what he’d signed up for, as Formby soon found themselves in familiar territory as the first 5 wickets (including Hameed for 14) fell for 45 runs as the pitch proved unusually seamer-friendly. The innings was then rescued by successive stands of 58 between Ketteringham (19) and Oldham, then 85 between Ollie Sutton and Oldham. Sutton made his maiden league fifty (8 fours and a six), after which Shahzad saw Oldham to 79 not out at tea, when the declaration was made at 191-7.

Shahzad, despite nursing a slight side-strain, was fast and soon had New Brighton skipper Rowland held, hooking a catch to Sam Oldham at deep square leg. Next ball splattered Hale’s stumps and the visitors were 9-2. They recovered well, reaching 70 before Ben Aitchison bowled danger-man Andy Clarke for 32. He had Hussain caught by Sutton at mid-on soon after, and when Gary Keedy had Botes snr caught and bowled for 39, New Brighton had subsided to 90-5. Keedy then worked his way rapidly through the lower order, finishing with 5-16 from 9.3 overs as New Brighton only just made it into the final hour, Shahzad returning with his 3rd wicket, too, as New Brighton were all out for 124. Shahzad has 3-22 from 10 overs and Aitchison 2-21 from 6.

The win sends Formby out of the relegation places, and will hopefully be the first of several.

2nd XI

Two Saturdays ago, the side had an excellent win at home to New Brighton, who batted first but were kept well in check by the Formby bowlers, reaching 157 all out in 32.2 overs. Jackson Darkes-Sutcliffe was the most successful Formby bowler, with 3-30 from his 8 overs, as all 6 bowlers used took wickets – James Beckingham and Tony Rogan 2 each and one each for Charlie Gallagher and Tom Simpson.

Despite Darkes-Sutcliff getting what looked a poor lbw decision against him on 25, Formby cruised to the win in a ball under 30 overs, with Anthony Poole getting 35, Andy Kenyon 39 and Tom Mills 23 not out as Formby won by 5 wickets.

Sadly, last Saturday, their batting form vanished, having bowled Northern out for 125 at Moor Park, where Tony Rogan found conditions to his liking and took 5-11 from 12 overs. Charlie Gallagher and Tom Simpson took a couple of wickets each.

When Formby batted, they seemed to find the bowling unplayable, as they disintegrated for just 40, half of which were scored by Charlie Gallagher at no.6, with 5 ducks registered. They will need to mend their ways to avoid being dragged into a relegation battle, as they are only 16 points clear, despite being in 8th place.

3rd XI

The visit to Bootle two Sundays ago brought a frustrating draw. Formby opted to bat, and whilst his partners seemed to find scoring quite problematical, Ed Lowe (who made his first senior hundred against the same opposition earlier in the season), found no problems. Going in at 3 at the end of the first over, he proceeded to make 100 out of 135 scored while he was in, before rather tiredly getting caught. No-one else really got to grips with scoring until, at 159-7, the “two Joes” (Stuart and Rigby) came together. Stuart made an excellent 29 not out and was ably supported by 13 not out from 13 year-old Rigby as they got their side to maximum batting points in 42.4 overs, when Lowe declared at 201-7.

Formby found wickets as hard to come by a Bootle found runs. Despite getting 48 overs back, Bootle only reached 179-5, the wicket-takers being Shane Herbst with 3-48 from 14 overs and Michael Booth, 2-21 from 11.

This week they played leaders Newton-le-Willows and put in a weak batting display to post a very modest 123 all out in 45 overs. The visitors had little trouble in knocking those off for the loss of 2 wickets before the start of the final hour.

4th XI

Two Sundays ago they entertained St Helens Town 3rd XI and again had to field as their guests set a target of 221-2 from 34 overs. Cook and Louis Burt took the wickets to fall.

The Formby innings followed an all-too-familiar course, with McMorran (32) nearly clearing his bowling “debt” of 47 and Zac Eastwood making 24 not out. 20 extras lifted the total to 95, though the innings lasted for a creditable 46.1 overs – probably a new world record for the side.

This week, a somewhat aged bunch (of just 10 good men, only Joe Rigby under the age of about 50) visited Ainsdale and were put in. Their batting followed its usual course, with nobody getting on top of the bowlers until no.8 Matthew Thompson struck 8 fours in 35. A magnificent performance by extras (43) raised their total to the dizzy heights of 2 batting points at 131 all out.

Sadly, the bowling proved not to be up to the task of defending this target, and Aindale ran out winners by 9 wickets.

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