It’s Dom and gloom for Lytham

Pictures Martin Bostock.'Lytham CC v Rainford.'Lytham's Don O'Brien in action.
Pictures Martin Bostock.'Lytham CC v Rainford.'Lytham's Don O'Brien in action.
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The frustration grows for Lytham CC, who have now gone six matches without a win despite back-to-back half-centuries by professional Dom O’Brien.

Following their quarter-final defeat in the Ray Digman Knockout Trophy, Anthony Mulligan’s side were thwarted in the league by a defiant last stand for the second successive Saturday.

Just as the final Newton-le-Willows pair had dug in to deny Lytham victory the previous week, Rainford did likewise at Church Road on Saturday after putting on 44 for the ninth wicket.

The top order did its job for Lytham, who declared at 227-7 after 54 overs.

After skipper Anthony Mulligan (21), shared in a 70-run opening stand with Fayaz Ughradar, who was caught for 48, a stand of 98 followed for the third wicket between Australian O’Brien and Guy Roberts, who was next out for 55.

Having been 181-2, Lytham did lose momentum as O’Brien struggled to establish another partnership before he was sixth out for exactly 50 with the score on 214.

Lytham’s top four were all dismissed by Tambe, who finished with 5-52 from 15 overs.

Tambe was less successful with the bat, one of three early wickets to fall for as many runs as Rainford stumbled to 14-3.

The wickets continued to fall and when stubborn skipper Williams was caught by wicketkeeper Martin Hackett for 30 it looked all over at 61-6.

Lambert then led the fightback with a defiant 54, then Pickavance proved the mainstay of that match-saving ninth-wicket stand with a heroic 35.

Rainford closed at 155-9 from 46 overs.

Like Tambe before him, Michael Rigby claimed five wickets, including all the top four. The Lytham ace was more economical, though, conceding only 40 runs from 16 overs.

Sam Holliday and Ben Saunders claimed two wickets apiece, while wicketless Marcus Sharp’s overs went for only ten runs.

Lytham remain in the bottom half of the ECB premier league and now trail leaders Leigh by 49 points following their seven-wicket win over Hightown.

Lytham bowed out of the knockout competition by five wickets in an exciting quarter-final at New Brighton’s Rake Lane.

In a match reduced to 25 overs per side, Lytham elected to bat but couldn’t build on a fine opening stand of 79 between the in-form O’Brien (54) and Joe Davies (31).

Both fell to the spin of Ashraf Nawab, who took 5-28 in his five overs as Lytham reached 188-9.

New Brighton lost Martyn Evans and Nawab cheaply before Louis Botes (48) and Neil Cross took the score to 83.

The Rakers slipped to 117-5 when Paul Hale (20 not out) joined Cross and the pair added 75 to seal victory with three balls to spare. Cross remained unbeaten with 90 from 55 balls, which included nine fours and four sixes. Rigby with 1-29 off five overs was the most economical Lytham bowler.

New Brighton will face Northern in next month’s semi-finals, while Ormskirk or Leigh meet Bootle.