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Victory eludes Rainhill

Rainhill in Ormskirk defeat despite Lemtur 6-59

Ormskirk 181 (Alex Rankin 59, John Armstrong 35; Imliwati Lemtur 6-59) Rainhill 144 (Tyler McGladdery 47, Sam Kershaw 33; Jamie Barnes 5-54)

Ormskirk (23 pts) beat Rainhill (7 pts) by 37 runs Scorecard

A Rainhill win over Ormskirk has, in recent years, been as rare an occurence as a United Kingdom victory in the Eurovision Song Contest. For a while yesterday, both of those outcomes seemed realistic - indeed, likely - results, although ultimately Rainhill were left frustrated as yet another visit to Ormskirk ended in disappointment. Rainhill have not beaten Ormskirk in league competition since 19th August 2017, when an inspired half-century from Tyler McGladdery helped the visitors to an 11-run win over an Ormskirk team containing Simon Kerrigan and George Lavelle, now on the books of Northamptonshire and Lancashire respectively. Since being promoted to the LDCC Premier League in 2013, Rainhill had not emerged victorious in any other league encounters between the two clubs, and had only beaten Ormskirk on one other occasion in all competitions this century (in the Liverpool Echo Knockout Cup in 2018).

Considering those statistics, it may seem that there was something of an inevitability about the eventual result. However, Ormskirk had already lost two of their opening three league matches and for much of the match Rainhill appeared the most likely victors. There was nothing inevitable about either Rainhill's middle/lower-order batting collapse or Ormskirk's ability to turn around a match that seemed to be drfiting away from them.

Having won the toss and opted to bat, Ormskirk lost opener George Politis for 2, bowled by Liam O'Toole. When Robert Rankin edged a Jack Lowrie delivery to wicketkeeper Simon Brown Ormskirk were on 23-2, but a third wicket stand from Alex Rankin and Gary Knight added 77. The dangerous partnership was broken when Imliwati Lemtur (pictured) took his first wicket of the day, dismissing Rankin for 59. Lemtur also claimed the valuable wicket of Harvey Rankin when he found an edge that carried through to Brown. Knight's colourful innings of 33 came to and end when Dan Kelly deceived him with a delivery that found his pads.

Ormskirk rallied as John Armstrong and Sam Marsh played a few creative shots of their own and took the score on to 159 before the latter was trapped lbw by O'Toole. Lemtur had little difficulty turning over Ormskirk's lower order, picking up the final four wickets as the hosts were all out for 181. Armstrong was the last man out, stumped by Brown for a well-earned 35 in pursuit of runs as he ran out of partners. Lemtur finished with 6-59, his best performance with the ball since arriving at Rainhill.

Rainhill's openers Richie Forsyth and Tyler McGladdery added 37 before Forsyth was caught by Harvey Rankin. McGladdery and Sam Kershaw then came together and played some terrific drives as they moved the score past 80 and looked set to share a potentially match-winning partnership. However, McGladdery was bowled by Jamie Barnes three runs short of a half-century.

Imliwati Lemtur was next in and he continued in similar vein, scoring quickly and disdainfully dispatching anything remotely short or wide to the boundary. With Lemtur and Kershaw at the crease batting positively, and the score on 122-2, it seemed only a question of how long it would take to chase down the required 60 runs.

Nothing is ever guaranteed in cricket and matches can turn quickly. Ormskirk's professional, Zahir Shehzad, struck twice in quick succession to dismiss Lemtur (23 from 26 balls) and Kershaw (33 from 61 balls), before he had Mike Rotheram caught behind the stumps for 0. 122-2 had become 122-5.

Shehzad also picked up the wicket of Rainhill's in-form captain, Ben Edmundson, for 5. At 133-6, a successful chase now looked a remote posssiiblity. Rainhill's lower order had few answers to the accuracy of Jamie Barnes' bowling and the final four wickets fell for just 11 runs, giving Ormskirk a 37-run win.

Rainhill have not won a league match since 31st July 2021, when they triumphed over Leigh at Beech Walk. They will face the same opposition at home on Saturday when they hope to finally record their first victory of 2022.

Umpires: Steve Beswick, Peter Crook

Scorers: Kevin Wilson, Andrew Finney

Match ball sponsor: Caffe & Co

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