02260

ECB Premier League - Rakers extend lead after Bootle game that wasn't
Saturday 19th May 2007

The weather disrupted some games, but it had no effect on leaders New Brighton, who increased their lead at the top with a 115 run win at Maghull. Lawrence Wilson (83, 11x4s) and Jesse Ryder (48, 5x4s, 1x6) led another run spree to post 248-7d (48 overs) after being inserted. Paul Bower returned 4-69. Dave Barlow (43) did his best but had little support as a depleted home side crashed for 133 (42.2 overs), Louis Botes (4-35) and Martyn Evans (4-23) doing the damage.

Bootle and Fleetwood Hesketh started their match at 3:53pm, 23 minutes after the official cut off time which had been brought forward from 4:00pm to 3:30pm at the AGM last January. When the error was discovered by a league official at about 5:10pm, the teams were alerted but they decided to continue for some match practice. The match was recorded as abandoned without a ball being bowled.

It is not always easy to move into new surroundings and feel comfortably settled in a short space of time, but Southport and Birkdale appear to have accomplished that after last season's promotion campaign. Seven games into the new campaign they lie in sixth place, with three wins, including the scalp of Bootle, and a draw to show for their efforts. Skipper Mark Fletcher is leading a positive response to life in the ECB Premier League, as witnessed in the home demolition of Colwyn Bay. Patrick Jackson is making his mark for them, too. His left arm spin produced 3-9 and, with David Britton (3-20), they helped shoot out the Welsh side for 84 after the visitors had elected to bat. Southport then wobbled a bit at 24-3 (Debasis Mohanty 3-21), before Jackson steered them to a seven wicket win with an unbeaten 44.

Ormskirk's success over bottom club Huyton was even more emphatic. Sri Lankan left arm spinner Suwanji Madanayake destroyed the visitors with 6-17 in their disappointing 85 (30 overs) after electing to bat. Matthew Glayzer (34*) and John Armstrong (29) completed a ninewicket win in just 9.2 overs.

Wallasey are often involved in last over thrillers and their two wicket win against Northern was no exception. Francois Haasbroek (66, 6x4s, 2x6s) and Carl Hey (45, 6x4s, 1x6) made an opening stand of 74 en route to Northern's 174-7d (31.4) after losing the toss. The Wirral club responded well in reaching 79-1, before looking likely to lose at 115-7 (Simon Keen 40). However, skipper John Pugh (47) and Ben Parker shared 53 for the eighth wicket, with Pugh being run out off the first ball of the last over attempting a second run, but Richard Sutton immediately hit a six and a two wicket win was clinched with two balls to spare. Haasbroek took 4-50.

Hightown captain Ian Sutcliffe took 5-26 off 17 overs but Lytham recovered from 133-9 to reach 213-9 declared (59) after being inserted, thanks to a last wicket stand of 80 between Mike Rigby (50*) and Martin Hackett (30*). Adnan Malik took 3-105. Marcus Sharp caused problems for the opposition with a devastating spell of 7-37 off 23 overs (13 maidens) to leave them on 138-8 (48 overs). Adam Phillips prevented defeat with an excellent 65.

Leigh had reached 5-1 after just 2.3 overs when play was brought to an end at St Helens Recs.