U13s edge last-ball thriller
Rainhill move into second place with narrow win over Sefton Park
Rainhill 111-6 (Stevie Pennington 33*, Olllie Unsworth 30*; Nikhil Subramanian 2-5)
Sefton Park 109-7 (Tom Spilsbury 33*, Daniel Babu 30*; Leo Brougham 2-9)
Rainhill beat Sefton Park by 2 runs
Spectators were treated to a thrilling denouement on Sunday morning as Rainhill’s u13 team took a wicket with the last ball of the match to deny Sefton Park victory.
Rainhill won the toss and elected to bat with Stevie Pennington and Oliver Wallis opening the innings and showing sharp intent with running between the wickets and intelligent calling. It was not until the seventh over that Sefton took a wicket and not before Stevie had retired not out on 33 from 24 balls; Kieran Rose playing across the line to Ben Lester and being trapped lbw, for 0.
Olivers Wallis and Unsworth pushed the score on until Wallis was bowled for 11 by Harry Parker, making his debut for Sefton, who then bowled Harry Ball with the very next ball to set up a hat-trick. His next delivery was full and straight but unfortunately for him Jack Tyms pushed it away to get off the mark himself. Rainhill were scoring at around 6 an over by this point and, with Ollie Unsworth retiring not out on 30 after a powerful display of hitting, it was left for the remaining batsmen to drive forward to the end of the innings. Foulkes and Henderson fell cheaply whilst trying to pile up the score and with Aakash Muraleethuran and Owen Morrissey bringing the innings to a close Rainhill ended with 111 from 20 overs.
Nikhil Subramanian was the pick of the bowlers with 2 wickets for 5 runs from 4 overs.
Sefton Park have a young u13 side with many stepping up from u11 level this year and a target of 112 was a competitive but not insurmountable one. Daniel Babu and Nikhil Subramanian opened the batting and matched Rainhill’s run-rate in the opening skirmishes. Subramanian, on 8, skied one in the 4th over from the bowling of Tyms and Stevie Pennington took a confident catch which brought Tom Spilsbury to the crease. Along with Babu he looked comfortable and in control, clocking up the runs between them at a good rate. Both batters retired not out, Babu on 30 and Spilsbury on 33, and it would not be until the 15th over that Rainhill saw any further success.
Kieran Rose bowled Alex Kennett for 7 and, two overs later, Oliver Wallis bowled Joel Babu for 0. The momentum changed at this point as Rainhill looked to have slowed the Sefton scoring down and maybe sowed some seeds of doubt into their batting line-up. It was set up for a roaring finish with Sefton needing 11 from the last 3 overs. Leo Brougham bowled Lester for 2 in the 18th over and with Oliver Wallis collecting a simple caught and bowled in the 19th (Harry Parker going for 0) the ball was thrown to Leo Brougham to bowl the last over with Sefton needing 9 from 6 balls.
The field was set tight, all walking in. 1 from the first ball. Then two dot balls. Tight. Very tight. Then a wicket as Leo bowled Seb Wheatcroft for 0! The tension was almost unbearable as Finn Spragg and Luke Rotheram knew that two fours from the two remaining balls would bring victory. The next ball was crashed to the leg-side boundary for 4 and with the field reset, Leo ran in for the final delivery. Spragg went for the same pull shot and both batters hared off but Harry Ball was perfectly placed to intercept and throw in for Ollie Unsworth to whip off the bails and the Rainhill players rushed to celebrate.
Lots to choose from but the pick of the bowling probably Leo Brougham’s 2 for 9 from 3 overs and Oliver Wallis’ 2 for 11 from 4.
Great ending to a great match, if not so much for the young Sefton Park team, but both sides knew they were in a game today and with Rainhill collecting the points that lifted them to seconnd in the table there was confidence that this could be the year to make their mark.
Stevie Pennington (Cap)
Ollie Unsworth (WK)
Leo Brougham Thanks to Craig Brougham for the match report