U15s win by 1 run!
Rainhill's U15s earn narrow victory over Leigh
Rainhill 103 (Arjun Bali 37, Nathan Lawler 31; Harry Barnes 4-3) Leigh 102-4 (Harry Barnes 70*, Samuel Cottrell 20; Freddie Foulkes 1-13) Rainhill (3pts) beat Leigh (0pts) by 1 run Scorecard Rainhill's U15s emerged victorious by the narrowest of margins in a dramatic encounter with Leigh on Wednesday evening. Rainhill won the toss and opted to bat first. They lost the early wicket of Stevie Pennington for 1, but Kieran Rose and Nathan Lawler were able to forge a useful second wicket partnership and took the score on to 44 before Rose fell to Adam Batterly for 14. Sienna Bailey then struck to remove Ollie Unsworth without scoring, leaving Rainhill on 48 for 3.
Lawler and Arjun Bali then mounted a recovery operation and showed great understanding as they kept the scoreboard ticking over. Unfortunately for the hosts, Lawler's innings was ended when he was run out for 31 and although Bali continued to play aggressively, hitting 37 from 28 balls (including 6 fours and a six) no-one was able to stay with him for very long, especially once Harry Barnes was introduced into the attack. Barnes took 4 for 3 in two overs and Bali's defiance came to an end when he was bowled by Maya Byron. When Sachin Solis was run out, Rainhill's innings concluded with the score a modest 103.
Stevie Pennington bowled opener Sienna Bailey for 0 to give Rainhill the best possible start, but after that Leigh took control. Captain Samuel Cottrell and Harry Barnes frustrated Rainhill's bowling attack, with the latter playing some flamboyant shots in a colourful and highly entertaining innings. Their partnership of 97 looked to have set Leigh up for the victory and, although Jack Tyms held a catch off the bowling of Freddie Foulkes to dismiss Cottrell, at this stage a Leigh win looked like a formality. The Harry Barnes Show came to and end when he retired on 70. It may be that the team wanted to give the opportunity for other batters to play a role in what looked like an inevitable win, but if that was the case then the plan failed miserably. Leigh struggled to score and went into the final 3 overs requiring 3 runs for victory. A single was scored and Leigh were now on 102 for 2. Even at this stage Rainhill didn't give up and, with the pressure on, Adam Batterly was run out for 4. Another run out followed, and then a maiden over. However, with six wickets in hand Leigh needed one run from the final over to tie and two to win. Surely Rainhill couldn't pull off the unthinkable? Somehow Rainhill denied Leigh the runs they needed as Stevie Pennington finished the game with another maiden over. The most unlikely win had been secured in dramatic style, with Rainhill keeping their cool when the pressure was on. Focused bowling at the end - including maidens from Pennington and Ben Wilkinson, and a remarkable over from Owen Morrisey that cost just a single - combined with terrific fielding to deny the opposition runs. The result was remarkable in the circumstances and, for Leigh, inexplicable. Leigh played their part in a fascinating game and Harry Barnes looks an outstanding prospect. Rainhill showed they can beat the best and played with total commitment, never even thinking about giving up. This was a game in which Rainhill showed their character and resolve.
Rainhill's next match will be at home to Golborne on Wednesday 3rd May.