Season starts with challenging match
Bootle 161-2 (Dylan Riley 50*, Luis Craggs 50*, Adam Lawler 1-14)
Rainhill 63-9 (Amber Bowie 12, Stevie Pennington 8, Harry Kilbane 3-7)
Bootle won by 98 runs
Points: Bootle 3pts, Rainhill 0 pts
Parents and coaches have seen this group of young cricketers develop through the age ranges over the last few years and, with a few new faces, Rainhill's u15 side began the 2021 campaign with hope and expectation - as is always the way with the first game of the season - on a freezing evening in Bootle.
With a side supplemented by some talented players from the u13 side, fresh from a resounding win at Maghull, Rainhill won the toss and decided to test their bowling against Bootle's batting attack. It was to be a long night for Rainhill, ultimately losing by 98 runs, but not one without merit, perseverance and a certain degree of promise.
Rainhill began well, with Stevie Pennington and Ned Brougham restricting openers Dylan Riley and Harry Ehlen to 9 runs in the first four overs but before long Bootle's players were finding their range and the boundary and the run rate began to rise. Sam Addy took a great reaction catch from his own bowling to remove captain Harry Ehlen for 8 in the 6th over but it wouldn't be until the final over - and a significant amount of runs later - that Rainhill would take another wicket. Dylan Riley and Luis Craggs both retired unbeaten on 50 and Joash Vinu contributed an unbeaten 35.
Bootle will be very pleased with the confidence, power and placement of their shots and the number of boundaries hit (Dylan with eight 4s, Joash with six 4s, Luis with six 4's and two 6's) shows they will be formidable opponents this season.
In truth, Rainhill fielded well, backed up instinctively and had very few misfields, which was all very pleasing to see from the sidelines. To their credit, despite some brutal treatment no bowler bowed their head or looked like they didn't want to be out there trying their best. By the time Adam Lawler took the second wicket of the match in the 20th over, trapping Matthew Medlicott lbw for 3, Bootle will have been very satisfied with their knock - 161 for 2 from 20 overs is a fine return.
In fading light and near-zero temperatures, Rainhill knew they had a real battle on their hands and openers Kieran Rose and Ollie Unsworth made initial headway before Ollie was bowled by Vinu for 4. A few overs later Kieran succumbed to a catch by Patrick Nagle from the bowling of Matthew Evans for 2. There is good batting talent in this Rainhill side but no one was able to establish themselves and stay long enough to build a match saving innings. Gianni Albanese was caught from Matthew Medlicott's bowling for 5 and a mix up then led to captain Addy being run out for 4. Stevie Pennington was unable to repeat his 57 for the Sunday team the weekend before, being bowled by Harry Kilbane for 8.
Amber Bowie, (top-scoring on 12), and Oliver Wallis, (7), restored an element of calm but the run chase was looking increasingly unlikely and, after Thomas Lewis and Owen Reilly both fell, it was left to Ned Brougham and Adam Lawler to try and bat out and avoid the team being bowled out. Ned ended on 5 not out and Adam 1 not out with Rainhill getting to 63 for 9 from their 20 overs.
This was a chastening defeat for Rainhill but played in very good spirit and with some positives to take. This bunch are raring to get back on the field and show what they can do!
Ollie Unsworth (WK)
Sam Addy (C)
Adam Lawler Thanks to Craig Brougham for the match report