Old Parkonians impressive in 80-run win
Old Parkonians 176-4 (Mark Rayner 79*, Tim Berkson 26, John Doyle 3-51)
Rainhill 96 (John Doyle 23, Neil Robinson 21, Sam Thomas 4-7)
Old Parkonians won by 80 runs
Rainhill's Sunday XI fell to their first defeat of 2021 in an eventful match at Old Parkonians. After a narrow defeat in the same fixture of last year Rainhill were looking to extend their unbeaten run in 2021 and, although they lost by 80 runs, this was a well contested match.
Having won the toss, Rainhill opted to field. Old Parkonians' openers, Mark Rayner and captain Tim Berkson, withstood early pressure on a green and unpredictable wicket and played positively. The parit rode their luck at times, but their partnership was only broken when Berkson edged a delivery from John Doyle into the hands of wicketkeeper Neil Robinson. It was Doyle's first wicket for the club and an important one as it signalled the beginning of a mini-collapse for the home side. The wickets of Tim Ray (0) and Frankie Hughes (2) followed soon afterwards - both bowled by Doyle, who had taken three wickets in five balls and was to finish with figures of 3 for 51.
Matt Goldsmith then joined Rayner and, in spite of excellent contributions with the ball from Ned Brougham, Deepak Gupta and Asif Junaid bringing about several close chances, Old Parkonians were able to score freely, with Rayner in particular adept at finding the gaps in Rainhill’s attacking offside field. Goldsmith scored 23 before being stumped by Robinson off the bowling of spinner Scott Clegg. Rayner and Sam Thomas (25 not out) saw Old Parkonians through to the close of their innings and helped their team to a total of 176 for 4 from 35 overs. Rayner finished not out on 79, his best ever personal score. Rainhill's innings got off to a dismal start as Will Flanagan (4-11) ripped through the top order. Asif Junaid, Paul Millar and Neil Ellis were all out quickly. John Doyle looked to make an impact with the bat as he had with the ball and courageously steadied the ship with a variety of classical shots which brought much needed boundaries and quick singles. Along with Neil Robinson, who showed his intentions with an 8-ball 21, Doyle looked to improve the run-rate. Unfortunately for Rainhill, Robinson's innings was brought to an end by a well taken catch by Rayner from a full blooded off-drive and Doyle departed, for 23, shortly afterwards. Once they were out, few Rainhill batsmen were able to offer much resistance. Stephen Wooley scored 7 on debut and, with Oliver Bromhead, looked to stay in and frustrate the home team's bowlers. However, ultimately they were unable to maintain the required run-rate to chase the game. Rainhill's tail was unable to withstand the precision bowling of Sam Thomas, who took 4 for 7 as the visitors were skittled out for 96.