Southport and District Premier League leaders Prescot and Odyssey CC travelled to Wigan on Saturday for a match against Westleigh, a team who were fifth in the table and well capable of beating anyone in the league on their day.
In a weekend which saw both England and India enjoy big last wicket partnerships, Prescot and Odyssey CC recovered from a perilous position themselves thanks to a late order partnership of their own between Greg Galbraith and Dean Fairclough, but in the end they were frustrated by the weather when a good finish was on the cards.
P&O captain Galbraith won the toss and elected to bat on another warm afternoon and on a ground with an unbelievably short boundary on one side. Crookes and Danson opened the batting as usual, but a strange start to the game saw Prescot at 22/2 after just two overs.
Highdale and Galbraith began to rebuild the innings waiting for the bad ball and rotating the strike well, until Highdale was adjudged LBW for a well made 30 off the bowling of Rob Entwistle and worse was to follow two balls later as Shaun Haigh was bowled by Entwistle and Prescot were back in trouble at 68/4. Groom played nicely before being caught at gully for 12 and once again Prescot lost wickets in clusters as Holden lasted only four balls before being caught at slip by a diving Ogden. Nigel Pearl hit three fours in a quick fire cameo before he was out LBW for 14 and Prescot were rocking at 123/7 against a now buoyant Westleigh.
Galbraith was still there and Dean Fairclough joined him and the pair initially dug in, before beginning to stroke the ball all around the ground, taking advantage of the short boundary when needed and running well between the wickets. Galbraith, who by his own admission has been out of form this season, hit a chanceless century, finishing on 121 not out, which included 18 fours and 4 sixes and he also became the all time leading run scorer for P&O 1st XI during his innings. Dean Fairclough batted very sensibly and provided brilliant support for his skipper in making his maiden half century, though he did survive a huge run out appeal on 48. This unbroken 8th wicket partnership of 123 meant Prescot could declare on 250/7 after 42 overs.
Westleigh began their reply quickly, before Holden removed Sykes, caught at short cover off a leading edge for 18 and then Mason trapped Galvin in front in the next over. Some more attacking batting followed and after 19 overs, Westleigh were extremely well placed to push on for victory at 106/2. Skipper Galbraith introduced himself into the attack to replace Mason and immediately struck to remove Buxton with an absolutely unplayable delivery, so unplayable that what followed saw the batsman high five the bowler as he trudged off, something I have never seen in competitive cricket, but a wonderful piece of sportsmanship.
Holden then claimed two wickets in an over, trapping Tom Kay in front for 0 and having the dangerous Ogden caught behind by Gore for 0, to leave Westleigh at 120/5 and at that point the heavens opened and prematurely ended a very good game of cricket, leaving Prescot with 12 points and Westleigh with 5. Prescot remain top of the league and entertain Norley Hall at Burrows Lane on Saturday.
P&O 2's continued their record of winning all their games this season, but not without a few scares against a plucky 10 men Hindley St Peter's 3rd eleven.
Hindley won the toss and elected to bat in the sunshine. Their all out total was 156 with Lees scoring 34* and Winstanley 33.
The pick of the P&O bowlers, on his birthday, was Matty (Mathew Dagnall) 11 0vers 5 wickets for 67 creditably he continued to toss the ball up despite some cow shots costing a few runs at times. All the bowlers contributed with Adam Birch 11 overs 2 wickets for 31, Paul Dagnall 12 overs 1 wicket for 15 runs and Rob Avery 5.3 overs 1 wicket for 32 runs.
This left P&O 3 hours to chase down the runs, a simple enough task on paper but soon to be affected by a downpour. The opening overs were tight and P&O proceeded slowly until the inform Mark Viggars was run out on 10 by a direct hit, Neil Lockwood followed shortly after LBW for ten.
Matty Woods finished on 20 as the rain came down causing a 40 minute delay and the loss of one over from the last hour. Brian Cleary and Adam Birch continued the run chase with Adam scoring 6 fours in one over before he was caught on the boundary for 30. Brian was the next to be bowled on 21 and Ian Green was next to go followed by Nathan Dagnall playing his first game of the season with his twin brother. This brought together Rob Avery and Paul Dagnall together for the winning stand. They picked of the bad ball gradually reducing the target to 13 runs off 15 balls when Rob hit an enormous 6 shortly followed by a 4 to win the game with 7 balls to go.
Once again an excellent all round effort with everyone contributing to another hard earned win.