Victory eludes impressive Rainhill
Rainford's last pair hold out for draw
Rainhill 220-9 (Simon Brown 41, Paul Ford 37; Matthew Noble 3-17) Rainford 137-9 (Mark Brook 57, Chris Tonge 33; Paul Ford 4-24) Rainhill (7 pts) drew with Rainford (7 pts) Scorecard Rainhill's 2nd team were left frustrated in spite of an inspired performance as Rainford held out for a draw.
Opting to bat first, Rainhill started well with openers David Pennington and Simon Brown (pictured) adding 48 for the first wicket. Sam WIlliamson added 28 but was out, lbw to Mark Brook, with the score on 77. Rainford then took two further wickets in quick succession as the visitors found themselves on 88 for 4, but the immovable Brown and captain Paul Ford regained control and moved the score beyond 150. Brown's measured innings came to an end when he was bowled by Matthew Noble for 41; Ford was out soon afterwards, falling lbw to the same bowler for 37. However, they had put Rainhill in the driving seat and Rainhill's lower order were able to help the team post a total of 220 for 9 declared from 65 overs.
It was a total Rainford were unlikely to successfully chase in the time available but Mark Brook (57 from 42 deliveries), Ravi Mistry (20 from 10) and Chris Tonge (33 from 25) were determined to have a go and were all able to score quickly. Mistry was run out by David Pennington, but Brook and Tonge moved the score on to 100 without further loss. It was then that spinner Paul Valentine struck to remove Brook, a wicket that effectively ended Rainford's charge. Tonge fought on but was himself out shortly afterwards when he was held by Phil Morgan off the bowling of Paul Ford. Matthew Noble sought to play positively but he quickly ran out of partners as Ford ripped through Rainford's middle order with astonishing ease. Daniel Harrison (0), Raymond Cosgrove (4) and Andrew Pollitt (0) were out either bowled or lbw to give Ford his first four-wicket haul in 15 years. Ford also ran out William Curran for 0 and, when Noble was out to Valentine for 11, it seemed Rainhill were on course for a fantastic victory. David Pennington bowled Steven Harrison for 2, leaving only Rainford's last pairing of Josh Spencer and Alex McCulloch to defy Rainhill. Unfortunately for the visitors, they could find no way past the last-wicket duo and Spencer's 21-ball 0 not out earned the home side a draw.
Umpires: John Veacock, John A Williams
Scorers: David Crossley, Olivia Spencer