New Brighton win in spite of batting heroics from Brown and Powell
Rainhill 165 (Simon Brown 50, Oliver Powell 41; Elliot Griffiths 3-11)
New Brighton 166-7 (Oliver Griffiths 57*, Iwan Hughes 40; Ste Pennington 2-10)
New Brighton (20 pts) beat Rainhill (7 pts) by 3 wickets
Rainhill's 3rd XI fell to defeat at New Brighton in spite of the gallant efforts of Simon Brown (pictured), whose fantasic half-century unfortunately proved to be in a losing cause.
Rainhill were put into bat by New Brighton and their innings got off to the worst start possible as Sam Cureton (2 for 23) and Joshua Eastwood (2 for 18) had little difficulty in seeing off the visitors' top order. Jeff Fitzhenry, Sam Addy and Etham Powell were all bowled for 7, 1 and 1 runs respectively; Sarah Curlett was caught by Oliver Griffiths off Eastwood's bowling for 0. Rainhill were in trouble at 16 for 4, but the arrival of Oliver Powell and Ste Pennington managed to halt the collapse and they put on 35 before Pennington was bowled by Elliot Griffiths for 9.
Ashar Sohail was out to Griffiths' next ball, in precisely the same fashion. In came wicketkeeper Simon Brown, who not only successfully defended the hat-trick ball but, with Powell, set out to salvage something from the match. Coming in with the score at 51 for 6, Powell and Brown were able to offer some defiance and some intelligent strokeplay as they built a partnership that frustrated the hosts and had the potential to turn the game around. The standing was broken just as Brown had reached his half century - from 50 balls - when Oliver Griffiths held a catch off the bowling of Iwan Hughes. Unfortunately for Rainhill, Powell followed soon afterwards for 41 - Hughes was again the bowler with Eastwood holding the catch.
The loss of the two batsmen who had put Rainhill back in contention was a blow for the visitors, but John Ball - batting at number 10 - took centre stage and scored an impressive unbeaten 32 as he helped Rainhill to a respectable total of 165.
It had been an excellent recovery in the circumstances and one that gave Rainhill something to bowl at. John Ball made the early breakthrough, bowling opener James Corbett for 4. Things looked even brighter for Rainhill when Ste Pennington struck twice to remove both Stuart Sharratt and Elliot Griffiths for 0. However, Luke Jones and Iwan Hughes put together a useful partnership worth 51. The impressive Hughes was out for 40 when he fell lbw to Oliver Powell and the wicket triggered a mini collapse as Hakim Jaan and Luke Jones followed soon afterwards, having been bowled by Oliver Powell and San Addy respectively.
With a threatening partnership broken and the score at 93 for 6, Rainhill sensed their opportunity. Unfortunately for Rainhill, while Charlie Parkinson struck to remove Simeon Schiff for 2, they were unable to take further wickets as Oliver Griffiths (57 not out from 37 balls) and Joshua Eastwood (5 not out from 10 balls) defied Rainhill's bowling attack. It was an impressive contribution from Griffiths that delighted his teammates, but it was hard on Rainhill who - yet again - were so near and yet so far from the victory that has so far eluded them in 2021.
Although Rainhill are without a win so far this season they do have two games in hand over most teams around them and impressive personal performances should provide encouragement. Their next match is against Sefton Park (PF) on Sunday 4th July.