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Recreationals show Pride in cricket

Rainhill Recreationals took on Birmingham Unicorns in match for Pride month

Rainhill 69 (April Jones 19, James Tierney 13; Lachlan Smith 3-4) Birmingham Unicorns 70-2 (Ezra Stock 17, Dan Butler 10*; Kris Duffin 1-13) Birmingham Unicorns won by 8 wickets Rainhill Recreationals travelled to Lapworth CC on Sunday for a match against LGBTQ+ club Birmingham Unicorns to mark Pride month. One of only two LGBTQ+ clubs in the country, Unicorns have been trailblazers for equality and inclusion within cricket since their foundation in 2020. Rainhill won the toss and decided to bat. Unfortunately for Rainhill, they got off to a start that was so unbelievably bad that it defies adequate description. The top order collapsed and the visitors slumped to 6 for 5. April Jones and James Tierney came to Rainhill's rescue however, playing intelligently and patiently to build a partnership that was eventually to be worth 59. They ran well between the wickets, defied some useful Unicorns bowling and took the opportunity to play a few cultured shots. It was a fantastic display of batting from two rising stars who we will surely be hearing more about in the future.

The partnership was finally broken when James was bowled - his stoic resistance earning the applause of both teams. Rainhill weren't able to press on thereafter as the final wickets fell in rapid succession and only Anna Page offered much defiance. Rainhill were all out for 69, but that modest score represented a significant recovery from the dismal start. The main match was followed by a T10 match, a format new to Rainhill but which Unicorns have played previously in tournaments. in the ten-over match, in which batters retire on reaching 15, Rainhill were much more competitive. After Unicorns reached 99 for 1 from their ten overs, Rainhill got off to a lightning start with Andy Jones and Simon Gibson playing some terrific shots. Jones hit two sixes in successive balls while Gibson impressed with some superb cover drives. After Jones and Gibson retired Rainhill continued to score but couldn't maintain the run rate. A partnership between Anna Page and James Tierney worth 18 helped Rainhill to a total of 77 but the target proved beyond them. Birmingham Unicorns captain Sam Long said: "Today was great... first couple of wins of the season... but the main thing is to see young guys and girls enjoying it and learning their skills. It's great to see people going out there and enjoying themselves on a really lovely day." Rainhill captain Andi Page said: "Lots of clubs say they are 'fully inclusive', but what does that actually mean if people don't know that those clubs are places where they will be welcomed, included and allowed to express themselves? I think it's a good thing for clubs to use events like Pride month to be visibly supportive and demonstrate that they're serious about inclusion." About the game Andi added: "We didn't get off to a great start which was disappointing after I'd won the toss and decided to have a bat. There's no getting around the fact that we were in trouble at 6 for 5, but thanks to April and James who mounted a great recovery - and also to Anna who was not out at the end - we managed to post a score that at least gave us something to bowl at. "The T10 match was great fun and a new format to us. It was a lot closer and I think we showed that our top order can actually bat a bit!" A video of the game can be found below:

Many thanks to our photographer and scoreboard operator on the day, Xanthe Page.

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