Morgan in seventh heaven
Philip Morgan takes seven wickets in draw with Old Xaverians
Old Xaverians 108 (Nicholas Weeks 38, James Robson 23; Philip Morgan 7-41)
Rainhill 69-3 (Luis Duffy 23, Simon Brown 17*; James Robson 2-20)
Rainhill (5 pts) drew with Old Xaverians (3 pts)
Philip Morgan impressed with the ball as Rainhill's 2nd XI dismissed high-flying Old Xaverians for 108.
Morgan took 7 for 41 - his best figures in a Rainhill shirt - but unfortunately his exploits proved in vain as heavy rain aborted the home side's run chase.
Old Xaverians, second in the league before Saturday's match, had not lost since the opening day of the season and had won their previous four games. They won the toss and opted to bat but did not get off to the best start as David Pennington bowled Andrew Rose for 4.
Worse was to follow for the home side when Morgan took his first wicket, courtesy of a fine catch by Liam Yate to dismiss Sean Stamper for 5. Morgan then took the key wickets of James Doyle (5) and Dominic Bramwell (0) and Old Xaverians found themselves struggling on 35 for 4. Shortly afterwards Sam Williamson took a catch from his own bowling and Mark Dilworth was out for just 4.
At this point captain Nicholas Weeks and James Robson came together. These two batsmen were able to offer some valiant resistance as they steered their team towards a more respectable total than seemed likely at one stage. After Robson was bowled by Morgan for 23, Weeks forged a useful partnership with Michael Catling (16) that added 43 runs to the total.
This courageous stand ended when Catling was held by Williamson off Morgan's bowling. Even Weeks' battling resistance could not deny the fact that Morgan, in this form, was deadly. With his next ball he bowled Ian Formby. It was, however, David Pennington who took the final wicket when Weeks was caught by WIlliamson for 38 - in the circumstances a highly valuable contribution.
Having bowled out Old Xaverians for 108, Rainhill's Luis Duffy and Simon Brown negotiated some probing bowling and took the score on to 29 before Duffy was caught by Weeks, for 23, to give Robson his first wicket of the afternoon. Robson also took the wicket of Ethan Powell, for 14, but Rainhill were moving towards the target steadily and nothing other than a dramatic batting collapse looked set to stop them. Even when Michael Catling claimed Mark Viggars' wicket, Rainhill were on 63 for 3 and didn't seem in any real trouble. Opener Brown was still at the crease and was joined by Rob McKeown, who has played several big innings already this year.
Unfortunately for Rainhill the weather intervened and, needing 40 runs with 7 wickets in hand, the game was ended prematurely due to rain. As no further play was possible, the game was deemed to have been drawn with Rainhill taking 5 points. A draw against a team in such good current form as Old Xaverians would usually be seen as a creditable result but, in the circumstances, Rainhill will be disappointed not to have had the opportunity to complete their run chase and put more distance between themselves and the relegation places.