Rainhill back on track
2nd XI chase down 206 at Spring View
Spring View 205-8 (Nathan Barnes 56*, Matthew Speakman 46; David Pennington 4-36)
Rainhill 206-6 (Rob McKeown 54, Luis Duffy 53; Andrew Bowes 2-46)
Rainhill (24 pts) beat Spring View (6 pts) by 4 wickets
Rainhill's 2nd Xi earned a valuable win from their visit to Dower House Farm, with half centuries from Luis Duffy (pictured) and Rob McKeown and four wickets apiece for David Pennington and Jack Ellis.
After two successive league defeats, Rainhill were keen to get back to winning ways. Having won the toss, they elected to field. David Pennington made the early breakthrough when he had Spring View captain Sam Walker caught behind the stumps for 5 by the ever-relaiable Simon Brown. Lewis Pewsey and Tom Jukes then put on 39 for the second wicket, but their promising partnership was ended when Brown took another catch - this time off the bowling of Jack Ellis - to dismiss Jukes for 24.
Matthew Speakman then joined Pewsey in the middle. Speakman was more aggressive in his approach than the patient Pewsey, and scored at almost a run a ball. The pair made steady progress and had moved the score onto 100 when Ellis found a way through Pewsey's defences and the opener was out, lbw, for 35. The next two batsmen, Roy Green (8) and Kevin Robinson (10), were out looking to score quickly, their wickets falling to Ellis and Pennington respectively. Speakman himself was out, four runs short of what would have been a deserved first half-century since 2019, when he played a Pennington delivery into the hands of Ellis.
Two further wickets followed as Lewis Bamber was superbly caught and bowled by Ellis for 14 and Pennington claimed his fourth victim of the afternoon when John Green was caught by Ellis for 4. At 149 for 8 it seemed Spring View would be out for a moderate total but their number 9 batsmen, Nathan Barnes, had other ideas. In an astonishing individual innings of just 19 balls, Barnes hit 56 runs including 5 fours and 5 sixes. It was a truly sensational knock and took Spring View to a total of 205 for 8.
Chasing 206, Rainhill's openers Simon Brown and Luis Duffy courageously dealt with the challenges posed by Spring View's bowling attack. They put on 43 before Andrew Bowes trapped Brown lbw. When Owen Groom fell victim to Nathan Barnes in similar fashion, Rainhill were 78 for 2. Rob McKeown then joined Duffy and the pair were able to accelerate the run rate; Duffy was eventually out for 53, but McKeown and captain Mark Viggars (33 not out) expeditiously made progress and Rainhill moved ever closer to what was by now looking an attainable target.
McKeown reached his third half-century of the season before he was bowled by Andrew Bowes for 54. His knock had come from 44 balls and had helped turn the match firmly in Rainhill's favour. At 171 for 5 there was still work to do but Viggars, supported by Liam Yate (9) and Joe Harvey (10 not out), was able to successfully steer his team towards the target and a much-needed win.