3rds lose despite Ball's fabulous five
Rainhill slip to away defeat at Fleetwood Hesketh
Fleetwood Hesketh 152 (Tom Appleton 61*, Taylor Campbell 30; John Ball 5-33) Rainhill 80 (Vish Maheshwari 12, Steve Bell 12; Karan Patel 5-10)
Fleetwood Hestketh (24 pts) beat Rainhill (6 pts) by 72 runs
John Ball took five wickets as Rainhill bowled out Fleetwood Hesketh for 152 - but his efforts were not sufficient to earn a valuable win.
In a contest between the 2nd and 3rd placed teams, Fleetwood Hesketh won the toss and opted to bat. Stevie Pennington took the wickets of Karan Patel (0) and Ashvin Patel (14), while Steve Bell dismissed Akhil Binu (24) and Ollie Benford (1) to put Rainhill in a strong position. However, Taylor Campbell (30) and Tom Appleton (61 not out) spearheaded a recovery and despite a superb spell from John Ball - who had Campbell caught and bowled and then skittled out the tail - the hosts closed their innings on 152. Appleton's big hitting was instrumental: his unbeaten 61 came from just 41 deliveries and included 13 fours and a six.
Rainhill's run chase didn't get off to the best start, as Ethan Powell fell to Nikhil Binu for 5. Vish Maheshwari and Steve Bell held out against Fleetwood Hesketh's bowling but, just as it looked as if they had weathered the storm, Bell was bowled by Taylor Campbell. Maheshwari also fell victim for Campbell when he was adjudged lbw, and Rainhill were on 45 for 3. Unfortunately the middle and lower order was unable to offer much resistance as they were bowled out for 80, with Karan Patel taking 5 for 10.
While the first loss of the season was a disappointment for Rainhill, the team is still very much in the promotion race with a game in hand over Fleetwood Hesketh. The next game is away at second-bottom Rainford.