A little touch of star quality
Rainhill and Wigan play out entertaining draw
Wigan 240-4 (Daniel Yates 79, Harry Jackman 68*; Sam Waine 2-59) Rainhill 210-5 (Sam WIlliamson 93, Adam Edwards 51*; Matt Dawson 4-72)
Wigan (7 pts) drew with Rainhill (7 pts) Scorecard
Wigan and Rainhill had to settle for a draw following an eventful match at Victoria Terrace. Having been put into bat by Rainhill, Wigan's David Wood (4) and Ryan Ouwerkerk (9) were both out early - victims of Sam Waine's relentless accuracy. However, WIgan opener Daniel Yates proved immune to Waine's precision bowling and - with number 4 Stephen Power - forged a useful partnership worth 57. Power perished when he was bowled by Oliver Powell, but the wicket did nothing to slow down Wigan's march: captain Harry Jackman was the next man in and, if anything, was even more unshrinking than Yates.
The duo looked in good shape but, perhaps with one eye on his century, Yates was deceived by James Clarke's spin and was bowled for 79. There was no reprieve for Rainhill, however, as Jackman and Andy Bailey took the score to 240 without further loss. Both reached half-centuries, with Jackman's 68 not out and Bailey's unbeaten 55 each coming from 58 balls.
Rainhill were undaunted and the opening pair of James Clarke and Dan Woodward began their quest purposefully. Although Clarke was out for 19, caught by Stephen Power off Daniel Yates' bowling, Woodward and Sam Williamson (pictured) made steady progress against Wigan's talented bowling attack. Williamson has been something of a revelation this year and his form with the bat has been excellent, as reflected in his promotion to number 3. Woodward and Williamson took the score beyond 100 before the former, looking set for a deserved half-century, fell lbw to Matt Dawson for 42.
Williamson batted on valiantly, in spite of losing his next two partners quickly. Dawson took the key wickets of Mike Rotheram (4) and Conor Morris (2) to swing the momentum towards Wigan, but Williamson and Adam Edwards led the fightback. They added 58 for the fifth wicket before Williamson was bowled by the dynamic Dawson. WIlliamson's 73 was not only his best knock of the season but his career-best score to date. On current form he looks an encouraging prospect as a developing all-rounder and there is a maturity to his batting, coping with spin and seam as well as anyone.
If Williamson had added some star quality to Rainhill's innings, Adam Edwards brought a pugnacious approach to his innings of 51 from as many balls. The target of 241 proved beyond Rainhill, but Edwards made a fine unbeaten half-century - also a career-best and his first ever 50.
Neither team would have been happy with a draw, but in a batsman's game both had contributed some fine entertainment.
Umpires: Ian Addy, Geoff Higham
Scorers: David Crossley, Lynn Yates
Match ball sponsor: Black Swan Tax Advisers