Firwood Bootle has been forced to toil on the field due to a shortage of front-line spinners.


Firwood Bootle has been forced to toil on the field due to a shortage of front-line spinners.

Firwood Bootle is missing something.

Neil Williams’ side has fielded first in all five of their playable games so far in the Love Lane Liverpool Competition, four times at their captain’s request.

Every time they’ve played, they’ve been on the field for at least 55 overs; the team that won the ECB Premier Division in 2019 thanks to their seam attack is failed to take 10 wickets in a league game this year.

It isn’t due to a lack of effort on the side of the seamers, in particular. So far in the league, Scott Butterworth has bowled 67 overs, while Will Purser and Toby Lester have each bowled 65 – five of the six bowlers who have sent down more this season are spinners (plus the indefatigable Sefton Park skipper Jimmy Dixon).

They’ve won both times, chasing 205 in 47 overs with one wicket remaining against Ormskirk and 209 in 45 overs with two wickets remaining against Southport & Birkdale. Only Formby has managed to defeat them.

Still, it’s been a tough start to the season, as evidenced by Saturday’s stalemate at Rainhill, where Williams’ side toiled for 62 overs before being dismissed for 190/8.

Despite the seamers’ efforts, Bootle’s absence of a front-line spinner is clearly costing them. But, with Lancashire refusing to release left-armer Jack Morley, Williams understands he’ll have to handle the problem with the resources he has.

“We’ve spent more than four hours in the field three Saturdays in a row,” he remarked. “It’s been difficult for the bowling unit, and I’ve given it a lot of thought.

“It’s been difficult for teams to score quickly, which is a testament to the bowlers – and it’s a complement to the batting unit that teams are hesitant to set us a total and give us 50-55 overs to achieve it.

“While it’s annoying and exhausting at times, I understand captains’ approach. If things don’t go our way, you’ll have to adjust, and I’ll have to come up with new strategies.”

Williams believes that his crew will always be on the lookout, regardless of the scenario. The summary comes to a close.


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