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Sunday XI start 2021 with win

Rainhill record impressive victory at Hightown St Mary's

Steve Bell took 3 for 23

Hightown St Mary's 158 (Andrew Graham 37, Jack Ferguson 18, Steve Bell 3-23) Rainhill 159-5 (Stephen Pennington 57, Vinny Varghese 42*) Rainhill won by 5 wickets. Scorecard Rainhill's Sunday XI began the 2021 season as they finished 2020 - with an impressive 5-wicket away win at Hightown St Mary's.

Batting first, the Hightown St Mary's top order showed some intent early on. Openers Nick Gordon (15) and Chris Blackburn (13) got themselves in before succumbing to the probing bowling of Stephen Pennington (2-36) and Vinny Varghese (2-24) respectively. Pennington took a wicket with his first ever ball in senior cricket and added another when he dismissed Tony Handley for 1, leaving the home side struggling on 46-3.

However, Andrew Graham and his 13 year old son Aaron (who mas making his senior debut) batted together for a 57-run partnership. Andrew Graham was eventually out for 37, brilliantly caught and bowled by Steve Bell (3-23, pictured), but not before helping to build a respectable score for his team. Jack Ferguson (18) and Joanthan Wyke (10) provided some entertainment as Hightown St Mary's tail offered some resistance. However, when Stuart Brown took Wyke's wicket the home team were all out for 158. It was a real team effort from Rainhill, with six bowlers taking at least 1 wicket.

Hightown St Mary's had set a decent target but not one that Rainhill ever looked in serious danger of not chasing down. Rainhill lost opener Paul Millar for 16, but not before he had cleared the long on bondary with the only 6 of the game. Stephen Pennington hit a fantastic 57 on debut and Vinny Varghese pitched in with a useful unbeaten 42 in a partnership worth 131. Rainhill experienced a bit of a wobble as the visitors lost successive wickets towards the end but Joe Crossley (1*) and Varghese steered Rainhill over the finish line with over six overs to spare.

Thanks must go to Matt Yorke and his Hightown colleague for umpiring, and to David Crossley and Amy Berry for scoring, making a vital contribution to a most enjoyable game. The game was played in good weather and in the true spirit of Sunday friendly cricket - as exemplified by Kevin Berry of Hightown St Mary's who, before the Umpire could give his decision, having got the slightest edge on his first ball gave himself out and walked!

The Sunday XI host Windsor Wesleyans next week as they seek to build on this positive start.

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