Date: 26th Sep 2017
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ORRELL ENJOYING THE CONTEST IN DIVISION 1

Date: 27th June 2017

ORRELL ENJOYING THE CONTEST IN DIVISION 1

A Paul Edwards copyright exclusive for L&DCC Official Website.

Mottram's team have stepped up to the challenge.

Traditionally the First Division is the most unpredictable of the three tiers in the Liverpool Gin Liverpool Competition. Any predictions in late June regarding the teams likely to win promotion to the Premier League in September need to be wreathed with caution and qualification.

Yet this is unlikely to quench the optimism at Winstanley Road where Orrell Red Triangle’s first team currently lie third in the table, nine points behind Rainford and 23 shy of Highfield, the only sides to beat Andy Mottram’s men this season.     

“We’ve had a good start,” agreed Mottram, who is in the third year as skipper and had to lead his team out of the Second Division in 2015. “We’ve lost a couple of games against the teams above us but we’ve made results count when we’ve been in tight situations.

Central to the success of ORT’s young side this summer has been the bowling of left-arm spinner, Ali Sartaj, who joined the club from Friarmere in the winter and has so far taken 36 wickets at 12.11 apiece.

“Ali was player of the month in the Liverpool Competition and then he took six wickets in our win against Fleetwood Hesketh last Saturday,” said Mottram. “He’s a really good bowler and a very fine asset to the team. He has a lot of experience even though he is quite a young player and playing alongside quality cricketers like him helps to develop our young lads.”   

Youth is central to Mottram’s vision for the club. Dave Naylor is the only player in the team above the age of 30 and the skipper likes the idea of developing a predominantly local side, spiced and strengthened by professionals of the quality of the Australian batsman, Matt Morgan.

“When we were relegated we had a lot of experienced players but we went down because we had a lot of individuals rather than a team,” he said. “When we were relegated a lot of people left the club but a lot of Orrell-based lads stepped up and we ended up with an overseas professional and maybe nine or ten Orrell lads.”

“Matt’s held our innings together on a number of occasions and is a very good professional on and off the field. We knew him when he was at Ormskirk, for whom our former player, Andy Baybutt, now plays and with whom we have a lot of interaction.” 

But would Orrell be ready if that interaction extended to playing against the Brook Lane behemoths? Mottram does not underestimate the challenge but likewise does not see the point of playing in the middle tier of a league if you do not aspire to the top level.   

“Yeah, we’re 100% ready,” he said. “It’s a big step up but that’s why a challenge is there.”             

 

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