Godleman 90 not enough to earn victory over Rainford.
Rainford 205 (Corne Nel 74, Mark Potter 21; Khalid Usman 4-57) Rainhill 198-8 (Billy Godleman 90, Mike Rotheram 32; Jason Login 5-29) Rainhill (9 pts) drew with Rainford (8 pts) Scorecard An intriguing derby match ended in a frustrating draw on Saturday despite a superb knock of 90 from Rainhill's Billy Godleman.
The exciting game went down to the final over of the match but, while Rainhill were in control for much of the game, the target proved agonisingly out of reach. Put into bat by the hosts, Rainford initially struggled and when Khalid Usman bowled James Davies for 2 they were on 55 for 5. However, the visitors were able to mount a recovery, aided by Corne Nel - who hit a positive 74 while riding his luck at times - and a series of dropped catches. Rainford's tail wagged and they fought back to reach a total of 205 all out. Khalid Usman bowled well to finish with season-best figures of 4 for 57 while Paul Millar took 3 for 29, including a fine caught and bowled to dismiss Nel.
Rainhill's chase suffered a setback as Ross Higham was out for 11, but Billy Godleman (pictured, playing for Derbyshire) survived some early scares and soon got into his stride, playing confident shots around the ground. Godleman was ably supported by Mike Rotheram who batted patiently as the pair build a superb partnership of 110. When Rotheram was caught, for 32, by Andrew Pickavance, Rainhill were on 142 for 2 and the hosts were in an excellent position to go on and win the game. Sam Williamson fell lbw to Andrew Davies for 8, but Rainhill continued to make progress especially with Khalid Usman at the crease. The fourth wicket pair looked to be in control but, with the score on 167, Godleman also fell lbw - this time to Jason Login. His excellent contribution of 90 had come from 108 balls and included 12 boundaries. That wicket was to prove a turning point in the game, although at the time Rainhill needed only 38 more runs with six wickets remaining and Usman looking hungry for runs. A Rainhill victory still looked the most likely result, but Login bowled an inspired spell to engineer the exits of Jamie Harrison (0), Paul Ford (3) and Rob McKeown (0) to set up a fascinating finish. Paul Millar joined Usman and showed intent as the duo moved closer to the target. However, with the score on 197 Millar was run out - by Login. Going into the last over of the match Rainhill needed nine runs to win - not an impossible task especially with Usman facing. However, he only managed a single from the first three deliveries and lost the strike. Consequently, Rainhill finished on 198 for 8 and had to settle for a draw. Usman ended the game unbeaten on 26 from 36 balls.
While the result is a bitterly frustrating one from Rainhill's perspective, Rainford deserve great credit for the way they stuck at both their batting and bowling to earn the draw. Many thanks to Peter Mercer for the match report. Umpires: Chris Dunn, Steve Edwards
Scorers: Andrew Finney, John Dotters Sr