Relegation battle hinges on final match
Rainhill's loss to Birkenhead Park means relegation places will be determined on final day
Birkenhead Park 200-6 (Dan Jordan 76, Louis Evans 42*; Joe Harvey 3-60)
Rainhill 175 (Oliver Powel 46, Ethan Powell 19; George Turner 5-53)
Birkenhead Park (25 pts) beat Rainhill (8 pts) by 25 runs
It's been a tough season for Rainhill's 2nd XI and, when you need a win to make sure of safety, opponents don't come much tougher than league leaders Birkenhead Park.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, the visitors got off to a bit of a slow start. Philip Morgan made the breakthrough for Rainhill when he bowled Daniel Adkins for 12. Joe Harvey took the wickets of Robert Stirrup (8) and Ian Cooper to reduce Birkenhead Park to 44 for 3 and Rainhill were in a strong position.
However, Dan Jordan and Charlie Jones led the fightback and put on 61 runs before Jones became Harvey's third wicket of the afternoon, caught by Liam Yate. The wicket did not slow down Jordan, who raced to his half century. Aided by David Smith (23 not out) Jordan took the game to Rainhill, hitting 12 boundaries in an impressive knock of 76 from 56 balls.
Jordan was eventually dismissed when he was caught by Harvey off the bowling of Sam Williamson, who also had Dale Taylor caught and bowled for 0. However there were no further wickets as Louie Evans contributed 42 runs from 34 balls to help his team post a total of 200 for 6. Dropped catches certainly didn't help Rainhill's cause, but that should not detract from the performances of Jordan and Evans.
Rainhill's reply was typified by batsmen playing themselves in and getting themselves out: Birkenhead Park held nine catches as Rainhill's pursuit fell 26 runs short. Oliver Powell played positively and sensibly for his 46 from 41 balls, but no-one else managed to get out of the teens. On a positive note, Rainhill were competitive against the league leaders and - had they taken their chances - the result may have been different. This will hopefully give them some confidence going into their final match agaionst Northop Hall.
Rainhill are one place above the relegation zone but, crucially, have a 15 point lead over Highfield with Ainsdale already relegated. Highfield's final game is away at Wavertree while Rainhill will host Northop Hall, who they have already beaten this year. Rainhill's fate is in their own hands - should they win, they survive; if not, then they will need Wavertree to either beat or draw with Highfield.
Umpires: Paul Duffy, Anthony Foran
Scorers: David Crossley, Luke Evans