Well-deserved victory for improving team
29th September 2020
Wistaston 134 (Noah Birchall 33, Andy Whitehurst 30 Steve Bell 4-15) Rainhill 136-5 (Neil Robinson 50*, Asif Junaid 45, Noah Birchall 2-12)
Rainhill won by 5 wickets
The Sunday XI traveled to The Brittles to face a very capable Wistaston side in the final game of the season.
Rainhill won the toss and elected to bowl first. Paul Millar opened the bowling with Neil Robinson, and the duo bowled with fantastic accuracy and control to limit the opening batsman to under 3 runs an over for the first 10 overs. However, they were unable to make an early breakthrough and, after 15 overs, Wistatston had reached 53 runs without the loss of a wicket.
It may have appeared to the impartial observer that Wistaston were in control at this point, but the plan to restrict scoring continued and when Ned Brougham was brought into the attack the scoreboard pressure finally took its toll as Ned bowled the dangerous-looking Andy Whitehurst for 30. The controlled bowling continued and, with Asif Junaid bowling 3 overs for just 2 runs from one end, the home side's frustration was becoming more and more evident as they were forced into taking on the fielders. This eventually led to the run out of Aid Birchall, leaving Wistaston on 72-2.
Rainhill now took the pace off the ball, with Sam Addy and Steve Bell introduced into the attack and continuing their battle for the position of leading wicket taker. Addy took an early advantage, bowling Jonathan Bourne with his first ball and soon afterwards dismissing Adrian Lamb with some help from a fantastic bit of glove work behind the stumps by Anthony Wright.
From the other end Bell made quick work of remaining opener Noah Birchall, who succumbed for 33 trying to charge down the track after a long stay at the crease. Another four wickets shared between between there pair saw them Addy finish with figures of 3-22 and Bell record a season's best 4-15. More impressive still was that, between them, they had only bowled a combined total of 12 overs. Stuart Brown (1-11) bowled last batsman Tristan King and Wistaston were subsequently bowled out for 134 from 34 overs.
Rainhill made short work of the run chase with Asif Junaid making 45 and Neil Robinson hitting an unbeaten 50 - his second half-century in as many games. With the visitors were 100/1 it was decided to shuffle the batting order. Wistaston took a further four wickets but Rainhill were able to knock off the required runs, reaching their target within 25 overs.
The win over tough opposition was a fitting end to a season that has been strange by any standards but, from the Sunday team's perspective, one that has been characterised by markedly improved team performances and renewed belief.