Fitzhenry 51 helps earn creditable draw
New look 3rd XI open season with draw at Sefton Park
Sefton Park 220-4 (Phil McLoughlin 123*, Louis Jeck-Prestidge 50*, Paul Valentine 1-23)
Rainhill 170-8 (Jeff Fitzhenry 51, Simon Brown 25, Ronan Brady 3-35)
Points: Sefton Park 9pts, Rainhill 6pts
Rainhill's 3rd XI opened the 2021 season giving debuts to five players aged 16 and under, all of whom.played their part in securing a commendable draw in the aesthetically pleasing surroundings of Sefton Park.
Sefton Park won the toss and elected to bat, posting an impressive score of over 200, largely due to a monumental innings of 123 not out from Phil McLoughin. The Sefton Park opener was ably supported by Louis Jeck-Prestidge, who came to the crease with his team on 105-4 and hit an unbeaten half century in a partnership worth 115. The home team's score would surely have been considerably higher were it not for impressive bowling and fielding from Rainhill's youngsters - all worthy of mention but the standout performer was Stevie Pennington who finished with bowling figures of 1 for 34 from eight overs.
Having set a formidable target for Rainhill, Sefton Park made things more difficult for the visitors by taking the wickets of Ian Valentine (0) and Ollie Bromhead (1) early in the innings. Reduced to 4-2 at this point, Rainhill determinedly stayed in the game, mainly on account of a superb captain's knock of 51 from Jeff Fitzhenry positive contributions from Simon Brown and Paul Valentine, both of whom scored 25.
When Brown and Fitzhenry fell in quick succession, Sefton Park had upper hand and sensed victory was within their grasp. Things look ominous for Rainhill when they were reduced to 147-7 with ten overs remaining and the tail exposed. However, a gritty rearguard partnership from Oliver Wallis and Lucy Strettle frustrated the home side and wasn't broken until the final over, leaving Tom Lewis to see out final few balls to secure the deserved draw. This was a good competitive match against quality opponents, and one from which Rainhill can take several positives. The 3rd team's next league game will be at home to Merseyside Commonwealth on Sunday 2nd May, starting at 1.00pm.