From Mark Boyns
The Sunday XI season began with a disappointing abandonment versus Ainsdale but soon got into life with a visit the following week with a visit to Southport and Birkdale CC. After a fine bowling display that limited our hosts to 132 all out (Dan Kelly the pick of the bowlers with 4-8) there were a few nerves as we won by 2 wickets, thanks almost entirely to an innings 92 not out from young Australian Rob Hurley. As far as batting went for the season that would prove to be the finest contribution seen. With two further abandoned games and defeats to Lytham and Wallasey a lift was required and another away trip provided just that. Despite being dismissed for only 132 (Rob Kelly 38 not out), fine fielding and bowling enabled a young side to win by 64 runs (Mark Boyns 5-23.)
Weather was to prove more frustrating than any other factor during the season and a rain affected game against Orrell ended up in a defeat on a day where nothing seemed to go right. Our batting had to this point been well below the standard that the members of the team regularly produced and being bowled out for 153 against Prestatyn on a flat pitch was frustrating for all. In the welsh side’s reply the only highlight was a stunning one handed diving slip catch from Jon Northcroft. So from the a few blips we managed to turn things round with the game of the season away at Rainhill. The batting display was fantastic as Nick Saunders and Khalid Dar both scored quick fifties in a century opening stand and the total was boosted by important contributions from Ian Seabury and Stuart Lomas (who was also removed from the bowling attack later for ‘dangerous’ bowling). A total of 210-5 declared on a wet and seaming pitch seemed to us to be more than enough and to begin with it looked like being so as wickets were picked up on regular intervals during the first 20 overs. Then an opposing batsman took it upon himself to hit the ball to all parts and make a real game of it. So much so that they needed 14 runs from the last 5 overs with 4 wickets remaining. A mixture of good bowling and bad shots left them requiring 4 from the final over which the failed to do as we cleaned them out for 208 with the final ball of the game.
The good feeling from the victory at Rainhill continued to our trip to Ainsdale where good batting (Madhav Khotari 37) alongside tight bowling (Jordan Kevan 2-20) saw us secure a 3 wicket victory. Southport’s return fixture at Sefton was dominated by current England under 18 international Josh Hine scoring 167 off 88 balls. In response Scott Isaac scored 74 in a equally aggressive manner as we fell just a bit short. A dull draw at Highfield and a rain off against St Helens Recs left us with one last game against St Helens which was also affected by the drab weather and pettered out into another draw with James Baird the star performer taking 4-19.
Overall the season was highly enjoyable once we all got onto the pitch and played cricket. The weather and poor early season availability were the only two down sides. I hope everyone who played enjoyed themselves and good luck to my successor in 2009.