LEIGH recorded a fine win in the Liverpool & District Cricket Competition’s Knockout Cup –The Ray Digman Trophy – at Bootle.
This young, exciting Leigh outfit fear no-one when they can get a full team out onto the field and so it proved in this Sunday’s semi final.
While back at Beech Walk the Leigh club were in the middle of celebrating the life of one of its favourite sons, Len Kniveton, the 1st XI were being inserted on a seamer friendly Bootle wicket.
After nine overs the visitors had staggered to a measly nine for 1.Lancashire’s Karl Brown and Ross Zelem however took control and while Zelem went after doing much of the early donkey work, together with the skipper who didn’t trouble the scorer, the reassuring sight of Brown at one end always meant the Leigh innings was capable of posting a competitive score.
At the midway mark of the innings however, the Bootle seamers had done an exceptional early job and had their young opponents 54 for 3.
Brown was joined, initially, by Adam Shallcross (26) and then by the jack-in-a-box Joe Davies (31 in 31 balls) and for the next hour and a half Leigh started to really go at the Bootle bowling, as run-a-ball partnerships of 64 and 68 elevated the visitors into the 180’s with time to spare.
Brown, Davies and Matthew Hibbert (a dozen runs at 200% S/R) slammed the bowling to all parts of Wadham Road in taking 100 runs from the last 10 overs. 219 for five in 45 overs was, certainly allowing for the early conditions, undoubtedly a competitive score.
Brown’s fabulous unbeaten 113 came in 107 balls, with 11 fours and 2 sixes.
Bootle in response were well placed at 72 for 3 after 14 overs.
However Mattie McKiernan’s introduction immediately bore fruit, as Shallcross magically appeared in the deep to pick up Hine, followed rapidly by sharp catches around the stumps by Davies and Brown, one of four reflex slip grabs to Brown. Brown’s three wickets for just five runs in five overs was arguably the game defining spell of the innings.
The return of Brown coupled with the guile of the veteran Chris Melia and a direct hit from Shallcross, which epitomised Leigh’s efforts in the field, wrapped things up.
Leigh face New Brighton in the final at Beech Walk on September 7.