Rainhill lose ground after home defeat
Rainhill 152 (Liam O'Toole 35*, Tyler McGladdery 24; Jamie Barnes 4-39)
Ormskirk 153-1 (Gary Knight 103*, Taylor Cornall 27; Peter Kelly 1-70)
Ormskirk (25 points) beat rainhill (2 pts) by 9 wickets
Rainhill's hopes to secure a top-three finish were dented following a 9-wicket home defeat against Ormskirk.
It was Rainhill's first defeat since they were beaten by the same opponents at Brook Lane on 3rd July. To say that Ormskirk have dominated encounters between the clubs in recent years is something of an understatement, with Rainhill only having won one of the league matches between the sides since being promoted to the Premier League in 2013. However, what Rainhill will rue most is not making the most of an opportunity to firmly cement themselves in the top three going into the final five games.
The match started well enough for Rainhill. Opting to bat after winning the toss, James Clarke (10) and Tyler McGladdery (24) put on 40 for the first wicket before both fell victim to Jamie Barnes in quick succession. Sam Kershaw (23) and Mike Rotheram (11) shared a promising partnership but they too found themselves outwitted by Barnes and Rainhill were four down with 80 runs on the board. Joshua Thompson then ripped through Rainhill's middle order as things got quickly worse for Rainhill: Rob McKeown and Ross Higham were out quickly as 80 for 4 became 80 for 6. When David Atkinson was caught by Scott Lees to give Thompson his third wicket, the home side were struggling on 99 for 7.
While the middle order was unable to offer much resistance, the tail showed it was more than capable of wagging. Firstly wicketkeeper Simon Brown (21) and Liam O'Toole took the score on to 125 before Brown was out lbw to Harvey Rankin. Then O'Toole took centre stage, aided by Peter Kelly and Jack Lowrie, hitting an unbeaten 35 from 44 balls as the home side posted a total of 152 all out.
A target of 153 was a modest one but it at least gave Rainhill something to bowl at. With rain threatening to intervene, Ormskirk's openers Taylor Cornall and Gary Knight went on the attack from the outset, playing aggressively and scoring rapidly. Peter Kelly bowled Cornall for 27 but that was the sole moment of joy for Rainhill as Ormskirk cruised to their target in a mere 19.2 overs at a rate more associated with T20 cricket. Knight was particularly impressive, reaching 103 from just 65 balls. His incredible knock included a stunning 17 boundaries - 12 fours and 5 sixes. It was a joy to watch... unless you happened to be playing for Rainhill.
Umpires: John Farrell, Richard Selkirk
Scorers: Andrew Finney, Matthew Leigh
Match ball sponsor: Hayes Traditional Butchers