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Heroic ninth wicket stand not enough for Rainhill

Rainhill drew at Birkenhead Park despite contributions of Kershaw and Brown

Rainhill 178-9 (Sam Kershaw 93, Simon Brown 22; Ashraf Nawab 3-45) Birkenhead Park 137-8 (Michael Barnes 48, Mark Rowland 22; Imliwati Lemtur 3-28) Rainhill (6 pts) drew with Birkenhead Park (6 pts) Scorecard Rainhill's winless league run continued with a frustrating draw at Birkenhead Park.

Batting first after winning the toss, Rainhill got off to a nightmare start as Ben Edmundson, Tyler McGladdery and Rob McKeown were all out early. With the score on 13 for 3, Sam Kershaw and David Atkinson came together and steadied the ship, but the promising partnership was broken when Atkinson was bowled by Ashraf Nawab.

Worse was to follow for Rainhill as Imliwati Lemtur was out for 10 and Paul Ford followed shortly afterwards, cauight and bowled by Nawab. Rainhill were on 53 for 6 and in real trouble. Kershaw, however, is not someone to throw in the towel when the pressure is on. The seventh-wicket stand with Dan Kelly produced 29 runs and, after Peter Kelly was caught and bowled by Alex Baker, Kershaw and Simon Brown (pictured) were able to move the score on from 96 for 8 to 178. Kershaw found the boundary ten times (including 2 sixes) en route to what looked like a deserved century but, on 93, he played a ball from Bailey Jones to Mark Rowland. It was an outstanding knock from Kershaw, but the value of Brown's unbeaten 22 should not be underestimated. Rainhill declared on 178 for 9 - quite a recovery and the ninth wicket partnership was, in the context of the match, both astonishing and game-changing.

The stand between Kershaw and Brown had been many things: heroic, brave, determined, defiant and intelligent. Unfortunately, it proved not to be match-winning.

Birkenhead Park were unable to chase down the target but opener Michael Barnes proved difficult to budge as he amassed 48 from 99 deliveries. Mark Bowland (22) and Dan Jordan (17) also made useful contributions to deny Rainhill. Wickets fell frequently with Imliwati Lemtur and Dan Kelly picking up three apiece, but Rainhill were unable to take the final two wickets they needed to earn their first league win of the season. Rainhill put themselves in a great position when Lemtur dismissed Khalid Wahbi to leave Birkenhead Park on 131 for 8, but Bailey Jones and Alex Baker stood firm through the final tense overs to hold out for the draw.

Umpires: Steve Edwards, Martin James

Scorers: Dave Lee, Andrew Finney

Match ball sponsors: Black Swan Tax Advisers

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