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3rds keep marching on

Panchu Xavier's quickfire 82 sinks Northern

Rainhill 203-4 (Panchu Xavier 82, Simon Brown 44; Zac Reeves 2-23) Northern 93 (Seb Rice 34, Sandy McEwan 13; Vish Maheshwari 2-4)

Rainhill (25 pts) beat Northern (2 pts) by 110 runs Scorecard

Rainhill maintained their charge for the league title with a convincing win over Northern. The result means Rainhill are 16 points behind Lytham but crucially have a game in hand. Put into bat by Northern, openers Vish Maheshwari and Ethan Powell added 35 before Seb Rice made the breakthrough. Simon Brown then joined Powell and the pair looked comfortable, keeping the scoreboard ticking over, until Powell played a delivery from Eleanor Sinker to Alexander Gillespie.

Next in was Panchu Xavier (pictured), and - not entirely surprisingly - his entrance coincided with Rainhill adopting a more aggressive approach. Brown and Xavier added 122 for the third wicket as the home side posted a total of 203 for 4 from 37 overs. Brown was out for 44 just before the interval and Xavier followed shortly afterwards, having hit 82 from the 57 balls he faced. The total was a challenging one for Northern but, aside from Seb Rice, the visitors' top order was unable to deal with the accuracy of Rainhill's pace quartet of Stevie Pennington, Vinny Varghese, Paul Millar and Mike Mercer. Leg spinner Sam Addy also got in on the act, taking 2 for 32, as Northern slumped to 66 for 6. Rice was still at the crease, holding out defiantly. He was given out, lbw, by umpire Matt Yorke but the slip fielders and wicketkeeper Simon Brown confirmed the ball had nicked an inside edge and called the batsman back. Rice was developing a useful partnership with Sandy McEwan when he finally succumbed to Vish Maheshwari's leg spin. He had played well for his 34 but, once he had exited the scene, Rainhill wrapped things up without too much difficulty. Maheshwari, Mercer, Varghese and Addy all finished with two wickets apiece. Next up for Rainhill is a visit to South Liverpool on Sunday.

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