Mark Viggars play a captain's innings with unbeaten 61
Wavertree 221-5 (Adam Carus-McDonald 100*, Luke Bartley 42; Sam Williamson 3-30)
Rainhill 162-5 (Mark Viggars 61*, Joe Harvey 29*; Bharat Grover 2-24)
Wavertree (7 pts) drew with Rainhill (6 pts)
Rainhill earned a valuable draw at Wavertree, thanks to some defiant batting and an unbeaten half-century from Mark Viggars (pictured).
After losing the toss, Rainhill's bowlers set about making life uncomfortable for Wavertree's opening batsmen, Luke Bartley and Michael Cain. Bartley played with confidence and fluidity - hitting 9 fours on his way to 42 - but Cain struggled against Rainhill's pace bowlers, battling onto 1 from 35 balls before he edged to Viggars off the bowling of Sam Williamson. Cain's demise triggered a top-order collapse, with Bartley and Callum Jacob also falling victim to Williamson's pace before Marc Powell was bowled by Philip Morgan for 1. The hosts slumped from 49 for 0 to 54 for 4 as the momentum dramatically swung towards Rainhill.
It was to swing back again, principally on account of an incredible contribution from Adam Carus-McDonald. With their team in trouble, Carus-McDonald and Jonathan Griffiths mounted a recovery; the former's purposeful and determined approach facilitated a steady flow of runs, but Griffith's effort should not be underestimated. Griffiths hit a bold 25 from 43 balls before a delivery from David Pennington clattered into his stumps. The batsman may have been disappointed, but he had helped to create a solid platform.
That platform was built on by Carus-McDonald who eased to his half century and, eventually, to a well-deserved unbeaten 100 from 115 balls (including 13 fours and 2 sixes). He was ably assisted by Jack Hogan, who scored 36 from 34 balls, and Wavertree declared on 221 for 5.
Rainhill's run chase started well with Mark Viggars and Luis Duffy putting on 28 for the first wicket. Duffy's wicket fell when he was deceived by a ball from Bharat Grover and was subsequently stumped by Luke Bartley for 13. Grover struck again to remove Owen Groom for 8, while Daniel Webster took the key wicket of Ethan Powell (9) and Philip Morgan (6) was run out. The wickets tumbled at regular intervals and Rainhill found thmselves on 73 for 4 but, crucially, at this stage Rainhill's run rate was roughly what it needed to be and matched Wavertree's at the same stage of the game. Liam Yate was the next batsman to join opener Viggars in the middle and he played some ambitious strokes on his way to a useful 28 from 30 balls. Yate's courageous innings also ended with a stumping, this time off Adam Carus-McDonald's bowling, as he sought to score quickly and keep alive Rainhill's hopes of victory.
Viggars and his new partner, Joe Harvey, batted on energetically and defiantly but found it difficult to maintain the required rate against some very disciplined bowling. They put on another 51 runs, with Harvey contributing 29, but the target proved beyond them and both teams - in spite of some superb individual efforts with the bat - had to settle for the draw.