01045

It's all on his driving test
Saturday 27th March 2004

All rounder Alex Bailey is hoping to make one L of a return to Ormskirk Cricket Club, provided he can pass his driving test.

Bailey who lives in Somerset is prepared to make a weekly 300 mile round trip to Brook Lane, but only if he can take to the wheel of his own car.

"My test is towards the end of April so I might miss a couple of games, but I am aiming to come," said Bailey who last played for Ormskirk with the ECB championship team of 2001.

Said chairman of cricket Mike Taylor this week: "It would be a huge, huge bonus if he plays for us," adding that an approach had originally been made for Bailey to come back last season.

Bailey, 24, would represent yet another strong link in what is fast developing into a formidable first team squad, one which may well be capable of mounting a serious title challenge.

Already on board are batsman and medium pacer Vaughan Williams from Australia and wicket keeper Oliver Clayson who has played for Preston, Bedfordshire, Minor Counties and England under 19s. All rounder Phil Unsworth returns to Brook Lane after two seasons at Northern.

Their presence was further boosted with an unexpected phone call recently from Saul Heard, left armer and middle order batsman who has played West of England Premier League cricket as well as Minor Counties for Herefordshire. He has moved to live in this area and wants to play for Ormskirk.

Their arrival, plus that of Bailey, would more than compensate for the massive loss of all rounder and former skipper David Snellgrove who has joined Bootle.

Said Taylor: "We are very positive about the new season. It is a new chapter following Snelly's departure, but as a club his going gives an opportunity for other players to stake a claim."

Can the new look Ormskirk challenge for the championship this year, and in particular combat the obvious strength in depth at Bootle?

"It is a difficult ask," admitted Taylor, "But historically we have shown collective spirit with everyone playing their part. If everyone does that, you can save 20 or 30 runs in the field for instance."

Bailey, in the process of full qualification as an accountant, played for four seasons at Brook Lane when a student at Edge Hill College, and in that time wintered with the Randwick club in Sydney, Australia from where Ormskirk have taken several of their overseas players.

His availability would not only bolster the late order batting, but provide 23 year old John Armstrong, elected as the club's youngest ever captain at the recent AGM, with yet another option in attack.

"If I fail the driving test (it's my first attempt), it just won't be possible, but if I pass I'll be there. Ormskirk is a good club and I do enjoy the company and everything about the place," said Bailey.