Two matches in two days for U13s
Fresh from a resounding win against Maghull in the first league game of the season, the under-13 side suffered a defeat at home to Widnes in the league and then took a positive win against Formby in the Halliwell Trophy cup competition.
The games were played on consecutive days and in relatively chilly and showery weather, particularly at Formby which alternated between blue skies and almost horizontal rain, and have given team managers Darren Tyms and John Ball plenty to work on with this group of young players.
First to the Widnes league game on Sunday morning. Rainhill won the toss and decided to bat with Stevie Pennington and Oliver Wallis making confident progress and with some purposeful running pushed the score on to 58 without loss from the first 10 overs.
Stevie was finally undone on 39, bowled by a looping delivery from Neve Bordessa (what a name by the way! Bond villain? Superspy?) which brought Andrew Fairclough to the crease for his obligatory crashing, smashing cameo. Andrew’s 27 seemed to come from a handful of balls and included two 6’s – one of which had every parent holding their breath as it screeched away towards the carpark before making an almighty racket on the roof of the bowling green huts. Maybe we just need taller netting. Andrew was bowled by Daniel Woods, bringing Ollie Unsworth in to play and, having seen a good amount of the game, Oliver Wallis was retired not out on 36. It was another assured knock by the young player who was replaced by Kieran Rose.
The partnership was short-lived as Ollie was bowled by Jack Baldwin for 1 and Jack Tyms came on to finish off the 20 overs.
Rainhill ended on 116 for 3 setting Widnes a fair but competitive target.
Hassan Malik and Nirek Jaglan opened for Widnes and worked hard to build a score and keep the run rate up. Both are talented batters, sharing seven 4s and a 6 between them on their way to retiring not out on 38 and 22 respectively. Rainhill’s bowlers were finding it difficult make an impact and, with wides and no-balls accruing, the match began to get away from the home side. Leo Brougham made the breakthrough in the 14th over, bowling Bobby Spencer for 11. Stevie Pennington removed Isaac Eyo for 5 in the next over, but by this point the match had swung in Widnes’s favour and, despite Ollie Unsworth taking a great reaction catch at wicketkeeper from the bowling of Kieran Rose (Bordessa out for 0), Widnes won the match with 10 balls to spare. Jack Smith (13) and Jack Baldwin (3) saw their team over the line for victory.
The most telling statistic of the day was the 12 extras given away by Widnes compared to the 25 from Rainhill. Wides and no-balls speak volumes about the value of consistency and commitment to net practice but with a cup match the following night the group had little time to work on technique.
The cup match against Formby was to be a different affair altogether, albeit with a familiar theme.
Formby won the toss and put Rainhill into bat. Stevie Pennington and Oliver Wallis once again opened the batting and showed canny determination, capitalising on a combination of a deep-set and unfortunately leaky field. They were primed to run where possible and their clear communication meant that any opportunity to punish lax fielding was gobbled up. Oliver was bowled for a solid 22 by Tomlinson and Kieran Rose joined Stevie to keep the runs flowing. Kieran, the team’s only left-hander, has a very effective technique of pushing anything on the leg side round the corner and on its way – it’s a beguiling, stealthy technique and the runs really stack up, quietly and stealthily. He may very well be the team’s secret weapon in matches to come.
Stevie retired not out on 32 and Kieran soon followed him not out on 33. Ollie Unsworth was just finding his range when he was run out by a crazily accurate throw from J Peck to the delight of the Formby players. Ollie couldn’t believe it but took it in good humour. Jack Tyms and Matty Ambage, (stepping up from u11 duties) made 11 and 1 respectively - both not out - and after 20 overs Rainhill had run up a huge score of 155. Formby gave away 54 extras, with a significant amount of those coming from mis-fields with Rainhill’s players scurrying at every opportunity, and they would need to be on top form to win the game.
Zac Barton and Alfie Hall began Formby’s innings and in the second over Freddie Foulkes had a dream start himself, picking up a cover drive and lashing it at the wicket to run out Hall for 1. Oliver Plunkett joined Barton and they steadily progressed before McKenzie Henderson held a great catch from the bowling of Freddie Foulkes (that man again) to return Plunkett to the pavilion (or more accurately the pile of bags) for 1.
Captain Joe Wright took to the middle and steadied the innings alongside Barton, both retiring not out (Wright 31 / Barton 30) and bringing Josh Tomlinson and Jack Peck into the action. With such an enormous target and the rain and fading light against them, Formby would be forgiven for thinking this was a lost cause but with steady run-making they were making a very good game of it. Tomlinson was bowled by Rose for 17 and Peck by Wallis for 19 so it was left to Archie Beckett and Dilan Sathiyanathan to drive forward in search of runs.
By the end of 20 overs, Formby had made 131 for 4, not a bad score by any means but it was not enough and Rainhill progressed to set up a next-round tie against Sefton, Widnes or Northern.
Again the tale of the game could maybe be told in the extras. Formby gave away 54 extras compared to Rainhill’s 21.
Despite a topsy-turvy few days there were many positives for Rainhill’s players. Good backing up, hands out of pockets and ready for the ball. Sharp running and good communication. Matty Ambage made his u13 debut and looked every inch capable at this level. Owen Morrissey’s overs against Formby show he is really taking on board the coaching. Ollie was again solid as a rock behind the stumps. In truth, all Rainhill’s players will have taken something from these games and we keep looking forward to the challenges ahead.
Team versus Widnes
Stevie Pennington (Cap)
Ollie Unsworth (WK)
Team versus Formby
Stevie Pennington (Cap)
Ollie Unsworth (WK)
Thanks to Craig Brougham for the match reports and to Darren Tyms and John Ball for team management. Special thanks go to Steve Wallis for umpiring with rather fetching arm-signalling, on-field encouragement and the occasional first-person video shots.