Sensational finale to dramatic match
Rainhill 126-3 (Sam Addy 50*, Stevie Pennington 17, Daniel Danholme 1-24)
Maghull 124-7 (Lewis Wells 42, Harvey Courtney 27; Sam Addy 3-28)
Rainhill (3pts) beat Mghull (0 pts) by 2 runs
The u15s recorded a valuable win against Maghull in the heat on Wednesday night to move them up to third in the league.
Winning the toss, captain Sam Addy chose to bat and it turned out to be a positive and sensible move as he and fellow opener Kieran Rose put on 39 for the first wicket. The pair scored quickly, with the run-rate rarely dropping below 5 per over. Sam forced the majority of the batting and looked in great form against Maghull’s bowling attack and it would Kieran who fell first, for 3, in the 8th over. This brought Stevie Pennington to the crease and Rainhill continued their quick progress. With 8 fours and a six, Sam eventually retired not out on 50 and Gianni Albanese continued the solid display for Rainhill.
Once again there was intelligent and clear calling between the batters with plenty of singles being chased. It was commented on from the sidelines that these can often be the difference in tighter games at this level. Stevie was run out in the 17th over for 17 and Sarah Curlett (pictured, bowling against Whitefield) then gave an impressive cameo performance, hitting 15 from 14 balls including a huge six to get her off the mark. With Sarah being bowled by Denholme with the penultimate ball, Ollie Unsworth came on for the final delivery. Despite his big swing he could not add to Rainhill’s total. Gianni finished on 14 not out and Rainhill had amassed an impressive 126 from 20 overs.
Liam Noble was the pick of the Maghull bowlers. While wicketless he bowled tightly with only 6 runs coming from his 4 overs.
Jack Kirby and Harvey Courtney opened for Maghull knowing they needed to maintain a steady run-rate to be in the game in the final stages. However, Stevie Pennington and Ned Brougham penned them back from the start with accurate and pacy bowling. Ned struck first in the 4th over, bowling Kirby for 1 with the score on just 8 runs. While Maghull then looked to press on, Rainhill’s bowlers were determined to keep them under pressure. Sam brought himself on in the 8th over and made an immediate impact. It is the fate of spin bowlers that trickery and guile can sometimes be at the expense of runs, particularly if a batter just fancies taking it on and swiping for the boundary and so it was for Courtney who, having just crashed one of Sam’s deliveries for four, tried the same shot but popped one back to him for a caught-and-bowled. A few overs later Matthew Campbell sliced one up in the air from Sam’s spin for Stevie Pennington to catch and Christian Dodd succumbed to the same fate the very next ball, this time chipping a turning delivery from Sam to short mid-off where Gianni gratefully held the catch.
This set-up another hat-trick opportunity for Sam, following on from the same scenario against Rainford in the last contest, and this time the team and captain were a little more switched on, a little more aware of the pressure they could apply and a tighter, closer field was set, all eyes on the batter, all walking in hands ready for the catch. In fairness Dan Denholme played it very well, waiting at the crease and then smothering the ball and snuffing out the chance but the danger posed by Sam’s leg-spin had been noted and Maghull knew they needed to play carefully against this very talented bowler.
Denholme was run out for 11 in the 14th over after some lightning reflexes in the field from Stevie Pennington and Ollie Unsworth. Lewis Wells and Harry Mawdsley then built a very convincing partnership that kept Maghull in the game. Both appear to be comfortable, able batters and with a number of boundaries between them they brought Maghull right back into contention for the final few overs. Suddenly, with the game having looked pretty secure for Rainhill. Maghull (with the help of a few misfields and dropped catches) hauled themselves into a positiion in which they needed 35 from the last 4 overs.
This became 24 from the last 3 overs and then 20 from the last 2. It was all getting a bit tight and, with the light fading and the air cooling, the evening emulated the tension of the thrilling T20 game the night before at Old Trafford.
Sarah Curlett and Adam Lawler both contributed valuable overs and drew admiration from Maghull’s scorer for their fluid bowling technique and athleticism in the field.
It came down to the last over with 13 needed from 6 balls. Thomas Lewis was entrusted with bringing the game home for Rainhill and he did his team proud. His first ball was a wide - "it’s OK, Rainhill", "take a breath Thomas", "cool calm heads" and all that. To partisan spectators’ delight, the next ball crashed into middle stump and Lewis Wells, who along with Mawdsley must have been eyeing a few boundaries and a few scrambled runs for victory, was walking back to the pavilion having gained an impressive 42 for his side. Liam Noble joined Mawdesley in the middle and with a single and then a 4 (“the horror!……the horror!......”) Maghull needed 7 run from 3 balls. Another single and then a wide meant that, with 2 balls to come, Maghull had pulled themselves into the unlikely position of needing a boundary and a single to snatch what would have been a courageous victory.
The next ball had a bit of everything and is one of those occasions when, in trying to recall it for this match report, I would have benefitted from slow-motion replay, hawkeye and the judgement of Solomon. Liam Noble pushed the ball to the offside, there was confusion as to whether it was a run or not and Ollie Unsworth ever the diligent Keeper had the ball returned to him, spun, and fast-rolled it down the wicket to Thomas who then took the bails off while Noble who was basically in his crease had contrived to hover rather than ground his bat. To the probable dismay of the Maghull coach, umpiring at square leg, he gave Noble out and pandemonium set in for the Rainhill players delighted at Ollie’s cool head and Thomas’ quick lunge. I think that’s what happened. I think.
With 5 needed from the final ball Maghull needed a 6, a miracle, or some overthrow-based shenanigans, to achieve victory but a 4 could have pulled the match abruptly for a draw - a result that would have felt disappointing for both sides. Although Harry Mawdsley tried valiantly to launch it heavenward they could only achieve 2 runs and Rainhill were jubilant. Mawdsley collapsed and was inconsolable at the end, helped off by his coach, having made a very accomplished 25 runs but the night was Rainhill’s.
Sam Addy (cap)
Ollie Unsworth (WK)
Many thanks to Craig Brougham for the match report.