2nd XI salvage draw to frustrate Colwyn Bay
Colwyn Bay 188-8 (Harry Spillane 47, Oliver Pitman 31; David Pennington 4-45)
Rainhill 157-9 (Phil Morgan 42, David Pennington 32*; Tom Clarke 5-36)
Colwyn Bay (9 pts) drew with Rainhill (8 pts)
Rainhill's 2nd team returned from Colwyn Bay with a draw yesterday, but don't let the result suggest this was a drab, uninspiring affair.
Promotion-seeking Colwyn Bay, currently sitting second in the league and with a game in hand over leaders Birkenhead Park, had already beaten Rainhill at Victoria Terrace and were in need of a win to maintain pressure on their title rivals. They won the toss and opted to bat first.
Colwyn Bay's Chris Barry and Dan Russell were able to put on 32 for the first wicket before trouble struck. Rainhill had bowled well without reward up to that point, but David Pennington (pictured) sent down a scorcher of a delivery that rearranged Barry's stumps. Moments later Pennington dismissed captain Tom Roberts without scoring and, when Sam Williamson bowled Dan Russell for 10, Colwyn Bay had slumped to 35 for 3.
The home side were able to recover as Harry Spillane and Oliver Pitman led the fightback. They were able to put on 60 for the fourth wicket, with Pitman scoring at almost a run a ball. His fluent innings was brought to a close when he was bowled by Luis Duffy for 31. Duffy then picked up his second wicket when Tom Clarke played into the hands of Ethan Powell.
At 99 for 5 the game was very much in the balance, but Spillane and Tom O'Melia put together another partnership that frustrated Rainhill. O'Melia picked up where Pitman had left off, hitting 28 runs from as many balls before being bowled by Pennington. Spillane and his new partner, Jamie Moorhouse, kept the scoreboard ticking over as the score passed 175.
Spillane seemed to be destined for another half-century but, having reached 47, he was caught by Philip Morgan to give Pennington his fourth wicket of the afternoon. Morgan also took the final wicket - that of James Jones for a golden duck - as Colwyn Bay finished on 188 for 8.
Rainhill's chase did not get off to the best of starts as batsmen got themselves in and then failed to push on. The visitors struggled to cope with Colwyn Bay's Jamie Moorhouse, who took four wickets as the top five batsmen were out with just 52 runs on the board. However, as was the case for the home side, the middle order came to the rescue. David Pennington and Philip Morgan added 65 for the sixth wicket before Morgan was out eight runs short of what would have been a fully merited half century. Looking to score quickly, he was caught by Tom O'Melia off the bowling of Tom Clarke.
Morgan's dismissal triggered a mini-collapse as Clarke removed Daniel Woodward, Sam Williamson and Sam Addy without scoring. In the space of a little over two overs Rainhill had subsided from 117 for 5 to 121 for 9. With plenty of time to take the final wicket, and with Rainhill needing a further 68 to reach their target, it seemed inevitable that Colwyn Bay would pick up their twelfth league win of the season.
Colwyn Bay's determination to take the final wicket was obvious, but so too was the resilience of Rainhill's tenth wicket pairing. Marshall Phiippe Pétain was credited with inspiring an unyielding defence with the words "ils ne passeront pas" ("they shall not pass") but such a defiant attitude could equally have been applied to David and Stevie Pennington. With scoring runs now of secondary interest to the challenge of surviving, the Penningtons held their resolve and played intelligently to bat out the final ten overs without surrendering the crucial wicket. The duo batted remarkably well under constant pressure and against an experienced bowling attack; they survived a few scares but ultimately emerged unscathed. The game may have ended in a draw but, from Rainhill's perspective, it was a morale-boosting one that will definitely feel like a win.
Umpires: Keith Pickering, Matthew Pennington
Scorers: Samantha Sherrington, David Crossley