Lemtur and McGladdery steer Rainhill to first win of 2022
Newton-le-Willows 138 (Ben Walkden 58, Rizwan Haider 31; Imliwati Lemtur 5-31) Rainhill 140-1 (Tyler McGladdery 96*, Richie Forsyth 28*; Zacari Donohue 1-57)
Rainhill (20 pts) beat Newton-le-Willows (2 pts) by 9 wickets Scorecard Rainhill recorded their first win of 2022 as the brushed aside Newton-le-Willows at The Lane.
Imliwati Lemtur took five wickets and Tyler McGladdery hit an unbeaten 96, but in truth the result was the product of an excellent team performance.
Opting to field, Rainhill struck twice early on as Liam O'Toole claimed the wickets of Nathan Hughes (8) and Subhaan Mahmood (4). Hughes was out when he edged to wicketkeeper Simon Brown, while Mahmood misjudged a full-length delivery that uprooted the off-stump. After those early setbacks, the in-form Ben Walkden and Rizwan Haider mounted a recovery and took the score from 19-2 on to 90. The pair seldom looked in trouble and seemed in control until Haider was undone attempting to play a shot over deep extra cover that, somehow, was caught by Sam Kershaw. It was an absolutely outstanding catch and one that was to prove game-changing.
Once the partnership was broken, Newton-le-Willows struggled to offer much resistance. The middle and lower order had few answers to the questions asked of them by Peter Kelly (3-43) and Imliwati Lemtur, backed up by sharp fielding. Rihan Bhalla exited for 3 (again caught by Sam Kershaw) before Walkden was caught behind by Brown off the bowling of Lemtur for 58. The hosts collapsed from 90-2 to 114-9 and, although an entertaining last-wicket stand between Afaq Ali Sartaj and Dominic Chambers added 24, the total of 138 was a disappointing one from Newton-le-Wlllows' perspective.
While the spinners had exerted pressure on the batsman, it should also be pointed out that the fielding had been immense, typified by the outstanding catch Kershaw took to dismiss Haider. Imliwati Lemtur finished with five wickets, just reward for his consistency and attack-minded spin. Ross Higham, playing his first match this year, opened the batting for Rainhill with Tyler McGladdery. He dispatched the first ball of the innings to the boundary and played some confident shots before being undone by a straight ball that struck his pads. Richie Forsyth joined McGladdery with the score on 18-1 and the pair negotiated some disciplined bowling before McGladdery took control.
Once he had played himself in, opener McGladdery began to play expansive shots, brutally seizing on anything remotely short or wide. As if determined to confirm his reputation as one of the most destructive batsmen in the league, McGladdery's insatiability saw him dominate both the hosts' bowling attack and the Rainhill innings. Some of his shots were classically beautiful while others were more intuitive; however, every blow to the boundary made a statement that McGladdery in this form is a force to be reckoned with. Newton-le-Willows' bowling lacked penetration, but McGladdery's precocious batting was charactersised by both intelligence and fearlessness. Fifteen fours and two sixes helped him to an unbeaten 96 by the close of play - out of a total of 140. If there was one thing he regretted it was perhaps that the low target denied him the opportunity for his second century fo 2022.
Richie Forsyth played sensibly and played a few positive shots on his own as he finished on 28 not out.
The result will give Rainhill a welcome boost ahead of the visit of New Brighton on Saturday. Photographs from the match can be found here.