Rainhill return to winning ways with a 9-wicket win
Birkenhead Park 100 (Thomas Foster 25, Chris Parker 20; Liam O'Toole 4-27) Rainhill 104-1 (Tyler McGladdery 55*, Sam Kershaw 32*; Alex Baker 1-21) Rainhill (20 pts) beat Birkenhead Park (1 pt) by 9 wickets Scorecard Rainhill bounced back from the disappointment of defeat against Ormskirk to record an impressive 9-wicket victory at home to fifth-placed Birkenhead Park. After a comprehensive defeat last week, Rainhill turned up and showed how good a team they are, destroying their opponents with relentlessly accurate pace bowling before patiently knocking off the required runs with the minimum of fuss.The scorecard records that Rainhill won by nine wickets - an inescapable statement of fact - but it does not tell the full story of how ruthless they were in the field and the degree to which they controlled the game from the outset. Having put the visitors in to bat, Rainhill made the perfect start when Jamie Harrison - playing his first match of the 2022 season - bowled Matty Langford with the first ball of the game. Birkenhead Park attempted to shrug off the loss of Langford as Mark Rowland and captain Thomas Foster sought to engineer a recovery. They did well to add 36 for the second wicket and Foster in particular looked well-suited to the conditions and the bowling, but the prodigious Liam O'Toole struck twice in a few minutes to dismiss firstly Rowland (bowled, for 14) and then Foster (lbw, for 25) to leave the visitors on 41 for 3. Jack Dixon and Sam Beadsworth then valiantly attempted to take the game to Rainhill but succumbed to Harrison and Imliwati Lemtur respectively, leaving their team with a huge mountain to climb.
Chris Parker and Alex Baker came together with the score at 73 for 5. They found scoring difficult but their cautious approach helped add a further 21 runs. Parker was eventually undone, for a well-earned 20, when Sam Kershaw held a catch off the bowling of O'Toole - a wicket that effectively signalled the end of the game as a contest. The final four wickets fell for just six runs, with Dan Kelly picking up three and O'Toole finishing with 4 for 27 - his best figures of the season so far. Faced with a modest target of 101, Rainhill suffered a setback when Mike Rotheram fell victim to Alex Baker for 16, but otherwise Rainhill's batsmen experienced little difficulty en route to 104 for 1 from 28.5 overs. Tyler McGladdery and Sam Kershaw played sensibly but confidently, with McGladdery playing some cultured and perfectly timed shots to the boundary in his 55 from 70 balls.
The victory, and the scale of it, was no less than Rainhill deserved. The result keeps Rainhill in seventh place, with the next match away to second-bottom New Brighton. Umpires: John Farrell
Scorers: Andrew Finney, Dave Lee
Match ball sponsor: Black Swan Tax Advisors