Rainhill's competitive teams' final games were played at the weekend. How did they get on?
Rainhill four compeititve senior teams finished their respective seasons during the weekend of 17th-18th September. On Saturday, the 1st XI finished their 2022 season away to champions Wallasey, while the 2nd XI hosted Southport Trinity. Sunday saw the 3rd team take on South Liverpool at home, while the 4th XI travelled to Aigburth to play Liverpool. The Recreationals also had a game away at Formby, and will conclude their season at home to Burton on 25th September.
Wallasey v Rainhill 1st XI Rainhill 145 (Ross Higham 62, Dan Kelly 25; Andrew Beaver 8-56) Wallasey 149-9 (Jack Leckey 49*, Christopher Bourne 22; Sam Kershaw 4-58) Wallasey (25 pts) beat Rainhill (6 pts) by 1 wicket Scorecard
Rainhill concluded their season with a dramatic match at Wallasey.
Defending a total of 145, Rainhill reduced the champions to 86 for 8 but were thwarted in their quest for victory by Jack Leckey (49 not out) and Andrew Beaver (22), who put on 58 for the ninth wicket. Rainhill's opening batsmen Ross Higham and Tyler McGladdery began positively, but Andrew Beaver made the breakthrough for Wallasey when he bowled McGladdery for 14. McGladdery, so often the source of Rainhill's runs this season, was disappointed with his early exit but he did manage to take his total for the season past 1800 runs in all competitions - an astonishing feat.
Higham continued to bat purposely as Andrew Beaver ripped through Rainhill's top order, dismissing Sam Kershaw, Ben Edmundson and Rob McKeown as the visitors slipped to 56 for 4. The arrival of Dan Kelly at the crease provided some stability and he and Higham shared a partnership worth 53 before Kelly was bowled by Daniel Beaver for 25. Higham, having amassed 62, was out moments later when he fell lbw to Andrew Beaver. In spite of some colourful defiance from Rainhill's tail, the visitors had little answer to Andrew Beaver who took 8 for 56.
At the interval, it would have seemed to most present that a total of 145 was something the champions would chase down easily. However, Rainhill made life difficult for the hosts: Jamie Harrison, Jack Lowrie and Dan Kelly took a wicket apiece as Wallasey's top order struggled to get going and stuttered to 28 for 3. Things got better for Rainhill when spinner Sam Kershaw struck twice within the space of four deliveries to remove Greg Beaver and Josh Rylance, and the champions were in real trouble at 43 for 5. Wallasey rallied briefly as Christopher Bourne (22) and Harry Meehan (20) developed a promising partnership, but they were pinned back when Bourne was bowled by Dan Kelly and Meehan was caught by Rob McKeown to give Kershaw his third wicket of the afternoon. When Kelly bowled Mykal Graham for 4, Rainhill looked likely to pull off a sensational victory. It was to be denied them, however, by Leckey and Andrew Beaver. Rainhill could find no way past the ninth-wicket pair until Beaver was caught behind the stumps by Tyler McGladdery off the bowling of Kershaw. With Rainhill needing one wicket to win and Wallasey requiring 2 runs, Matthew Keogh survived some nervous moments before Leckey hit the winning runs.
Rainhill finished in sixth place in the Premier League
Rainhill 2nd XI v Southport Trinity Southport Trinty 195-9 (Michael Roberti 76, Ollie Butler 64; Phil Morgan 6-49) Rainhill 199-5 (Simon Brown 75*, Dan Woodward 45; Michael Roberti 3-91) Rainhill (24 pts) beat Southport Trinity (7 pts) by 5 wickets Scorecard
Rainhill's 2nd team finished the season on a high following a five-wicket win at home to Southport Trinity. Batting first, Southport lost opener Jeff Rimmer for 6 when John Ball took a catch off the bowling of Paul Millar. However, Ollie Butler and Michael Roberti took control thereafter and moved the score beyond 100, with Butler looking particularly impressive as he notched up his first half-century of 2022. Butler's rsistance was finally broken when, on 64, he played a delivery from Phil Morgan to Paul Millar.
Roberti continued to make life difficult for Rainhill, playing some superb drives in his innings of 76 not out. However, no-one was able to stay with him for very long with only Chris Morris reaching double figures. Southport reached 195 for 9 from 45 overs with the impressive Phil Morgan taking 6 for 49 for Rainhill.
Matt Lawler and Simon Brown opened for Rainhill, and the pair made a solid start adding 45 to the scoreboard before Lawler was bowled by Michael Roberti for 32. Roberti struck again when he dismissed Paul Millar for 10, but a third wicket partnership between Brown and Dan Woodward was to prove decisive. Woodward hit a 54-ball 45 as the pair determinedly chased the target and, although he was out just short of his half-century, he had helped swing the momentum firmly in Rainhill's favour. Phil Morgan became Roberti's third victim shortly afterwards, but Sam Addy (25 from 23 balls) and Brown continued to push towards the target. Brown passed 50 for the first time in 2022 and was to finish unbeaten on 75. Johnny Firth took Sam Addy's wicket shortly before the end, but Ashar Sohail (6 not out) and Brown hit the required runs without further loss. The result meant that Rainhill finished the league season in seventh place.
Rainhill 3rd XI v South Liverpool
Rainhill 221-7 (Vish Maheshwari 60, Ethan Powell 51; Wishwanath Gurusinghege 4-64)
South Liverpool 98 (Dilusha Wijewardana 53*, Nitha Sirajun 14; Sam Waine 5-7)
Rainhill (25 pts) beat South Liverpool (3 pts) by 123 runs
The 3rd team concluded the season with a comprehensive win over a talented South Liverpool side at Victoria Terrace. Rainhill won the toss and opted to bat first. Openers Vish Maheshwari and Ethan Powell shared a productive partnership, putting on 97 for the first wicket. Powell was first out, just after reaching a deserved half-century. Maheshwari also went on to record his second half-century of the year and was eventually out, lbw to Wishwanath Gurusinghege, for 60. Gurusinghege bowled effectively, taking the wickets of Rainhill's top four batsmen. However, Panchu Xavier and Kiran Nair came together with the score at 130-4 and shared a stand worth 72. South Liverpool captain Kositha Gunarathna bowled Xavier for 37, but Nair remained unbeaten with 39 from 38 deliveries as Rainhill posted a total of 221 for 7.
Rainhill's bowlers reduced the visitors to 27 for 4, with Stevie Pennington taking the opening wicket before John Paul Joy dismissed Azam Ahamed Udayar, Swithin Samaradiwakara and Hisham Mohamed. Wicketkeeper Nithan Sirajun and Dilusha Wijewardana mounted something of a revival as they shared a partnership of 32, but Sirajun's resistance was ended when he nicked a ball from Sam Waine to Stevie Pennington. Wijewardana hit a splendid half-century of his own, with his unbeaten 53 coming from just 48 balls, eventually running out of partners as a flurry of lower-order wickets fell in rapid succession. South Liverpool's tail had no answer to the questions posed by Waine and the Rainhill paceman finished with stunning match figures of 5 for 7 - his best bowling in a Rainhill shirt.
Rainhill finished in second place in the league - quite an achievement in Matt Lawler's first season as captain.
Liverpool v Rainhill 4th XI
Rainhill 105 (Ashar Sohail 26, Colin Moran 25; Louis Disley 4-25)
Liverpool 106-5 (Suhail Ahmed 55, Haris Jacobs 26; Dom Wallis 2-22)
Liverpool (25 pts) beat Rainhill (4 pts) by 5 wickets
The 4th team's game against Liverpool ended in a 5-wicket defeat but Rainhill - who had only ten players available - gave a good account of themselves at Aigburth.
Batting first, Rainhill lost Kieran Rose early but Colin Moran (25) and Ashar Sohail (26) played sensibly and shared a useful partnership. Unfortunately for the visitors, their wickets fell in quick succession and, despite some helpful contributions from Steve Wallis (17) and Ollie Unsworth (10), Rainhill were only able to make 105 on a bowler's wicket. Rainhill started well with the ball with Dom Wallis taking two early wickets as the home side slipped to 2 for 2. Wallis and Deepak Gupta were perhaps unlucky not to take further wickets, although credit should go to Liverpool's Suhail Ahmed who made a fine 55 from just 51 balls. He was aided by Haris Jacobs, who made 26 before he was bowled by Oliver Wallis. Ahmed's innings was ended when Steve Wallis took a catch off the bowling of Amber Bowie and, when Scott Clegg dismissed Louis Disley for 0, Liverpool were on 95 for 5. Another wicket or two would have made for an interesting conclusion but Liverpool's Max Karim (18 not out) and Neil Disley (1 not out) were able to steer their team across the line.
The 4th team's first ever season ended with a sixth-place finish - not too shabby!
Formby v Rainhill Recreationals
Unfortunately we don't have a scorecard or even the precise score - but that's not particularly relevant.
Rainhill lost to an effective Formby side at Cricket Path in their penultimate game of the season. Having opted to field, Rainhill made a good start with Andy Jones taking a couple of wickets - his first victim was bowled while the second edged to wicketkeeper Andrew Page. Matt Diggins, who has been unlucky in recent matches, also took a deserved wicket. However, a combination of dropped catches and some quality shots from Formby's batters helped the home side establish the upper hand. Ben Wilkinson demonstrated his potential as an attack bowler and added another wicket to his impressive tally for the season, but not before his dad, Tony, had failed to take two catches off his son's bowling (one of which was admittedly difficult). Guy Smith, on debut, took two late wickets and his bowling suggested we can expect more of the same from this talented young player.
Also making his debut for Rainhill was Andrew Curtis, while Kevin Price played his first match for several years.
Rainhill openers Andy Jones and Matt Diggins began positively. Both got into their 20s but, having done the hard work against a capable Formby attack, were undone by two pieces of artistry. Rainhill huffed and puffed but, in the face of relentlessly accurate bowling, few were able to stay around for long and scoring proved diffcult. The last pair standing was Joe Crossley and Anna Page, who held out against an attacking field and spinners finding prodigious movement on a rapidly deteriorating wicket for around 20 minutes. In scenes resembling an Test match in India, Anna's resistance finally ended when the bowler found a top edge and the catch was safely pouched.
Curious fact: No competitive matches were cancelled due to rain in 2022. When did that last happen?