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ECB Premier League - hat trick Ronnie gives Champions start they wanted
Saturday 14th April 2007

Champions Bootle were immediately in the groove as Graham Lloyd and Ronnie Davis stole the show against Wallasey at Wadham Road. The home side made 221-8d after electing to bat, with ex Lancashire star Lloyd cracking 100* (14x4s, 6x6s). Davis also chipped in with 35, but became the first bowler to take a hat trick in the new campaign, dismissing Ben Parker, David Miles and John Pugh, for ducks in his sixth over, the twelfth of the innings, to take the Wirral side from 67-1 to 67-4. They were eventually dismissed for 148. Kuran Makol top scoring with 60.

Northern warmed to their task in sizzling style as the ECB Premier League action began in soaring temperatures. It was a case of making Hey as the sun shone as Carl Hey and Steve Mullaney tore apart New Brighton's attack at Rake Lane as New Zealand test player, Iain O'Brien went for 74 off just 13 overs. Both players registered a second Competition century as Hey cracked 150* from 142 balls (24x4s) and Mullaney provided tremendous support with 116 (105 balls, 19x4s, 2x6s) putting together 233 for the second wicket in reaching 301-4d in 47 overs. The partnership was both a Northern record for the second wicket and a new ECB Premier League record. The total was way beyond the home side with Lawrence Wilson (63) and Tom Jones (45) the main contributors in their all out total of 224. John Wildman took 4-62 for the Crosby club.

The best finish of the day undoubtedly came at Maghull, where the home side won by one wicket with a scrambled single off the final delivery in a pulsating game with Southport and Birkdale. Chasing a target of 200, Ian Plumbley (52) and Andrew Hewitt (48) retrieved a situation which began badly with the loss of two wickets in the first over, including Paddy McKeown for a first ball duck. John Murphy's 27 proved vital, as did Ryan Swiers's 19 off 9 balls and 15 runs in the penultimate over left three needed off the last. It took a scrambled single from the last ball to secure a one wicket victory with Josh Hine's medium pacers giving him 5-51. Swiers had earlier taken 4-82 after the promoted club had been inserted. Dave Aston (58), Aussie Patrick Jackson (41*) and skipper Mark Fletcher (38) batted well as the Sandgrounders posted 199-8d.

Ormskirk's Sri Lankan left arm spinner, Suwanji Madanayake, made an impressive début, taking 6-45 as the visitors battled back to restrict Lytham to 148 and win by seven runs. Richard Openshaw appeared to have put Lytham in control with a superb career best 7-40 as Adam Waterhouse’s side was limited to 155 in 50.1 overs. Newcomer wicket keeper/batsman John Simpson hit a fine 85 and Matthew Glayzer 31. Guy Roberts replied with 52 for the Fylde side, but Madanayake had the last say.

Huyton set a target of 206 after being inserted at Leigh, but went down by five wickets. Carl Menzie (80) was best for the visitors who were restricted by new home skipper Paul Vallance (4-16) and former St Annes all rounder, Joe Davies (3-21) after baqtting for 45.3 overs. Alex Roussak (50) and Davies (42) later eased Leigh home with 6.5 overs remaining.

Jonathan Fielding's excellent 138 off 111 balls (5x4s, 11x6s) was the highlight of Fleetwood Hesketh's destruction of St Helens Recs at Ruskin Drive taking 3x6s in one over from Shaun Anders (4-88). Captain Neil Rimmer added 34 as the visitors set 260-9d from 47 overs after winning the toss. Mohammed Azam then took 5-11 in 9 overs as last season's First Division champions managed just 69 in 24.5 overs.

That was better than another promoted side, Hightown, could muster at Sandy Lane. They slumped to 40 all out in just 19.4 overs. Stand-in pro Kabir Khan had 4-0 after four overs, 6-1 after 6, 7-3 after 7 before finishing with figures of 10-6-14-7 for Colwyn Bay, who had earlier totalled 142 in 49.5 overs, (Sion Morris 40, Huw Roberts 39, Graham Jones 3-5 and  Tony Symondson 3-28).