Captain defies Southport & Birkdale with half-century
Southport & Birkdale 220-3 (Jonathan Whitehead 90, Jack Stanley 61; Sam Kershaw 1-28) Rainhill 188-7 (Ben Edmundson 57, Dan Kelly 30*; Chris Firth 4-66) Southport & Birkdale (8 pts) drew with Rainhill (4 pts) Scorecard
Rainhill extended their unbeaten league run to four matches courtesy of a draw at Southport & Birkdale.
The hosts won the toss and opted to bat, with openers JJ Fielding and Jack Stanley adding 77 before Sam Kershaw struck to remove the former. Fielding, who had been scoring at a rate of around a run per ball, had just reached a deserved half-century when he was caught by Mike Rotheram.
Stanley and new partner Jonathan Whitehead then shared a second-wicket stand of 120, which was ended when Stanley was run out by Richie Forsyth for 61. Whitehead batted on and reached 90 from as many deliveries before he was held by Kershaw off the bowling of Dan Kelly. He will have been disappointed to miss out on a century but his innings - which included 7 fours and 5 sixes - had put Southport & Birkdale firmly in the driving seat.
With the hosts declaring on 220 for 3 from 46 overs, Rainhill's pursuit of the target began well with Ross Higham bludgeoning his way to 22 from just 14 balls before he was stumped by Jack Carney. The ever-reliable pairing of Tyler McGladdery and Sam Kershaw continued the charge but two wickets in four deliveries turned the game around. Firstly, McGladdery exited for 24 when he was caught by Whitehead off the bowling of Chris Firth; secondly, James Clarke was out without scoring when he fell lbw to the same bowler. 61 for 1 had become 61 for 3.
Ben Edmundson was next in and he played positively and purposefully. Edmundson and Kershaw shared a fourth-wicket partnership worth 80, playing intelligently while maintaining the run rate. Unfortunately for Rainhill their wickets fell in quick succession. Firth claimed his fourth victim of the afternoon when Kershaw was stumped by Carney for 38, while Edmundson's wicket fell when Bobby Wincer found an edge and Carney took the catch. Edmundson's 57 from 62 balls had been a valiant effort but was not to prove a match-winning one.
The loss of key wickets hampered Rainhill's chase. Dan Kelly contributed a fantastic unbeaten 30 from 28 balls but Imliwati Lemtur (2) and Mike Rotheram (1) were unable to provide the runs needed to get Rainhill over the line. Both teams had to settle for a draw that, in honesty, suited neither of them.
Rainhill's next match is at home to Newton-le-Willows on Saturday. Umpires: Chris Burns, Stephen Fildes
Scorers: Colin Warhurst, Andrew Finney
Match ball sponsor: Black Swan Tax Advisers