It's boom or bust!
Rainhill secure first LMS win of 2022
Kings Club 164/6 (20.0 Overs) (Adrian Hall 54*, Adrian Timson 35; Oliver Wallis 3-8)
Rainhill 165/6 (19.1 Overs) (Vinod Varghese 58*, Kiran Nair 47; Ian Hall 1-14)
Rainhill beat Kings Club by 2 wickets
Scorecard Rainhill took on Kings Club looking to bounce back following defeat to Haydock Heretics in the opening LMS fixture of the new season and to continue the rich winning heritage that Rainhill have established in LMS competition in recent years.
The fixture between Kings Club and Rainhill was played at a neutral venue (Haydock CC) and it started in true LMS fashion with, a number of opposition players running late (one who ultimately didn’t turn up at all), the umpire running late, no stumps, no boundary markers, clouds rolling in and the light fading! There was no need for a toss at 17:45 as Kings Club still only had 3 players at the ground and so it was agreed that Kings Club would bat first to give their other players chance to arrive. This was to Rainhill’s liking as deputising captain, Paul Millar - in the absence of regular skipper, Neil Robinson - had already decided that Rainhill would bowl first if they won the toss.
Kings Club’s innings was typical of the boom or bust nature of this format of the game with some of Rainhill’s bowlers returning excellent figures and others being on the receiving end of some big hitting to otherwise good deliveries! Wickets fell regularly in the first 10 overs and it wasn’t until Ian Hall and Lukey Stacey came together at the crease, with Kings Club 5 down, that they were able to establish a partnership, with the 6’ 9” left handed man mountain, Ian Hall making an explosive 54 from 30 balls (hitting 6s into neighbouring towns!) and the resilient Lukey Stacey being the Last Man Standing on 29 Not Out off 15 balls. Young Oliver Wallis (U15 age group), on his LMS debut, was outstanding for Rainhill with the ball and delivered a very disciplined spell of metronomic, line and length, seam bowling which the batsmen struggled to get off the square, returning figures of 3 for 8 off only 3 overs! Why only 3 overs you ask? Paul Millar has to hold his hands, thinking the youngster had already bowled his maximum 4 overs! Sorry Oliver! Kings Club finished their innings, posting a competitive total of 164/6, one which Rainhill were confident, with the strength of batting in the team, they could chase.
Rainhill’s LMS squad is inclusive, with representatives from a number of the club’s men’s, women’s and junior teams and there is a real emphasis on all players having the opportunity to contribute to the ultimate winning objective and as such, the batting order was shuffled from the previous fixture to allow Panchu Xavier and Kiran Nair the opportunity to open the batting. Xavier likes to score runs quickly, usually dealing only in boundaries but on this occasion he was set up by Ian Hall bowling pretty sharp left arm seam! The first ball to Xavier was back of a length and climbed sharply to strike him on the glove, the second ball was a perfect yorker and Panchu was on his way back for 0. This brought Paul Millar (pictured) - who had made 49 opening the batting in the previous fixture - to the crease. Millar looked to attack from the off, as had been the team’s agreed approach, and this looked to be paying off with two 4s and a 6 in quick succession; however, one swipe across the line too many, saw Millar walking back with the timbers having been rattled! Matt Lawler, struggling with an injury, was run out for 5 and Rainhill were in a spot of bother: 3 down for not very many!
The batting order had been determined with the potential for such a top order collapse in mind so when Vinod (Vinny) Varghese strode to the crease, the confidence remained high. Kiran Nair and Varghese batted sensibly to rebuild, looking to run quickly between the wickets to take advantage of the big gaps in the field, with Nair ultimately being run out, agonisingly short of a well deserved 50, having made 47 off 26 balls including four 4s and two 6s. Steve Wallis joined Varghese at the crease and continued where Nair had left off, accumulating runs regularly and putting bad balls to the boundary. Varghese retired when he reached 50 (as are the rules of this format) uniting the father and son duo of Steve and Oliver Wallis out in the middle, with the elder on strike. Steve hit the ball into a gap and called two… Yes, you guessed it, he ran his own son out without facing a ball, a platinum duck! No doubt, this made for an interesting conversation in the car on the way home! Adam Lawler (U18 age group) was next in and was resolute in defending his wicket until Wallis struck again with another run out, this time quite rightly trying to get himself on strike for the next over. Having retired, Varghese was able to return and the two saw Rainhill home with 4 balls to spare. Varghese finished with 58* and Wallis with 29*.
This was a great result for Rainhill and one which should kick start this LMS season! Many thanks to Paul Millar for the match report.