Three out of three after Rainford win
U18s continue their unbeaten start to the season with third successive victory
Rainford 96-5 (Joseph Duffy 22, Max Butler 18; Oliver Powell 1-4)
Rainhill 99-5 (Ethan Powell 27*, Luis Duffy 21; Josh Spencer 2-13)
Rainhill (3 pts) beat Rainford (0 pts) by five wickets
Rainhill's under-18 side remain top of the LCJL Green Group after recording their third successive win, this time away to a hard-working Rainford side.
The win, which extends Rainhill's unbeaten start in 2021, came courtesy of a great team effort although the batting contributions of Ethan Powell and Luis Duffy were instrumental in turning the game in the visitors' favour.
Rainford won the toss and elected to bat. Matthew Noble and Luke Evans made a strong start, putting on 22 before James Clarke struck to remove the latter. Clarke was also involved in a run out only moments later that saw Noble walking back to the pavillion having scored 12. With their team on 23 for 2, Joseph Duffy and Jack O'Neil played inteliigently and their developing partnership was beginning to frustrate Rainhill until Charlie Houghton held onto a catch off the bowling of Jack Ellis and O'Neil was out, also for 12. Kian Lunt scored 2 before being run out. At this point the home side was on 52 for 4 and needed to accelerate.
Duffy held Rainford's innings together but he found it difficult to score quickly against some accurate bowling. Max Butler, however, was able to hit 18 from 24 balls as the fifth wicket pair put on 37. Duffy eventually succumbed to Oliver Powell, holing out to Paul Valentine, having made a patient but crucial contribution of 22. At the end of the allotted 20 overs, Rainford had reached 96 for 5.
Rainhill's reply didn't get off to the best start as openers James Clarke and Jack Ellis were out quickly for 0 and 7 respectively. Clarke edged a Max Butler delivery into the hands of wicketkeeper Luke Evans, while Ellis was stumped by Evans after attempting to play a delivery from Josh Spencer. Owen Groom (16) and Luis Duffy (21 from a mere 20 balls) came to Rainhill's rescue but, having played themselves in, were undone by some good Rainford bowling. Groom became Spencer's second victim of the evening when he was caught by Matthew Noble; Noble then took Duffy's wicket when he found the edge and Evans took his second catch.
There was still work to do for Rainhill but Oliver and Ethan Powell were equal to the task. Ethan hit an unbeaten 27 from 23 balls while Oliver scored a quickfire 17 before being bowled by Noble, but the wicket was to prove academic as Rainhill reached the target with five balls to spare.