IN a stunning display Saturday, another collection of Leigh’s juniors brought home the points for their second team with a simply outstanding cricket performance against Ainsdale.
In this vital bottom of the table clash where nothing but a win would do, Alex Seddon and Ben Smith led the way opening the bowling with a master class of swing and seam bowling, fully exploiting the nice green and humid conditions.
Seddon and Smith soon had the visitors reduced to 60 for 5. In a stunning twist of fate, the pair of 15-year-old aces went on to take an identical 3 for 25, off just seven with two a piece too.
Ainsdale took stock for a while but enter the next junior to simply explode onto the seniors, Daniel Hatton. Leg spinning is an extremely difficult craft, especially for a junior developing his skills at senior level.
The control, patience and tenacity, with outright skill, must be there in spades to succeed with leg spin – Hatton delivered, producing numerous balls proving completely unplayable on his way to a magnificent 4 for25 from just 6.2 overs with a couple of maidens to boot.
Leigh were very tidy in the field too, leading the way was a welcome return behind the sticks for Micky Waywell with a tidy trio of victims and Ainsdale all out 95.
The juniors and Smith in particularly were not done. Lewis Bailey opening up Tim McKiernan showed yet again why he is going to be a very special talent for a long time at Beech Walk.
Again, showing maturity way beyond his years, delivering 30 (four fours) within a 60 partnership with under 15s teammate Smith.
To cement his man of the match performance, Smith plundered a magnificent 56 not out, with eight thundering fours.
In a comparably low scoring affair at Rainhill, Lancs legend Karl Brown came to the rescue again to lift the firsts back into the top half of the top flight table.
On a green top, Leigh managed to graft up to 103 for 5 but collapsed to 157 all out, Brown top scoring with a very patient 44.
Partnerships with Paul Keenan, Ross Zalem, Mattie McKiernan all got going but failed to deliver beyond 20s and 30s.
However, all was not lost and it was a very buoyant Leigh bowling unit that took to the field for the return leg.
Ainsdale were soon in some trouble at 22 for 4 with Headley Molyneux accounting for two key wickets and skipper Mattie chipping in with another two.
Again it was Brown with the Midas touch after Rainhill dug very deep to creep up to 70 for 5 with some stubborn resistance.
Brown went on to rout through the tail and the stubborn resistance of Rotheram (32 off 112).