Four losses and a draw in first full weekend of the season.
Shahban Raheeb is bowled by Alex Vincent in the 1st XI's clash with Northern
1st XI: Happy return for McGladdery
Northern 220-5 (Tyler McGladdery 79, Liam Grey 58*; Jack Lowrie 2-35) Rainhill 78 (Paul Ford 30, Sam Williamson 16; Tomas Sephton 4-37) Northern (25pts) beat Rainhill (2pts) by 142 runs. Scorecard Tyler McGladdery enjoyed a happy return to Victoria Terrace as Northern earned a convincing win over Rainhill. McGladdery, playing against Rainhill for the first time since his move to Northern, was dropped by Mike Rotheram at short leg when on 0. McGladdery made the most of the reprieve and built up a solid partnership with Jac Kennedy. The former Rainhill opener was soon playing the kind of ostentatious shots he is known for, hitting sixes straight down the ground and over long on. The pair put on 64 before the first wicket fell, when Khalid Usman bowled Kennedy for 20. Chris Laker joined McGladdery and the runs flowed freely. McGladdery raced towards his half-century, a task made easier when he was dropped again - this time by Sam Williamson at square leg - when on 48. Laker and McGladdery, the league's two leading run-scorers in 2022, shared a partnership of 65 and looked in control until the former fell lbw to Liam O-Toole, having hit 40 from 49 deliveries. Liam Grey was next in and he helped keep the scoreboard ticking over. It felt like it would take something special to get McGladdery out, and that's exactly what happened. The introduction of Jack Lowrie into the bowling attack proved an inspired decision, with the young pace bowler picking up his first wicket courtesy of a brilliant stumping from Shahban Raheeb. McGladdery departed for 79, by which point 167 runs were on the board and the damage was mostly done. Grey now took centre stage and played some fine shots of his own on his way to an unbeaten 58. Jack Lowrie picked up another wicket - that of former Rainhill captain Ben Edmundson - and Matthew Wood became Usman's second victim of the day when he was out for 6 later in the innings, but Northern amassed 220 for 5 before declaring.
To say that Rainhill got off to a bad start would be a huge understatement. James Clarke and Ross Higham, who both impressed at Formby last week, were out for 1 and 3 respectively. When Mike Rotheram exited for 13, Rainhill were 17 for 3. Hopes were pinned on Khalid Usman and Shahban Raheeb, but they fell in quick succession to leave Rainhill struggling on 25 for 5. Rob McKeown was run out when attempting a quick single. At this point, a successful run chase hardly seemed realistic, but captain Paul Ford led by example and - ably supported by Sam Williamson, who played some confident shots - moved the score towards something more respectable. Williamson's resistance ended when he was caught by wicketkeeper James Cole off the bowling of Daniel Wilson, but he did enough to suggest he is more than capable of performing at the top level. Ford hit three sixes in his colourful innings as his belligerent approach brought runs and applause. Unfortunately for him and Rainhill, his brave stand was ended by a superb run-out from a Liam Grey throw.
Rainhill were all out for 78 and fell to their second defeat of the season. Umpires: John Farrell, Chris Spencer
Scorers: Paul Delve, Andrew Finney Match ball sponsor: Black Swan Tax Advisers Photos from the game can be found here: Rainhill v Northern
2nd XI: Five for Harvey at Wavertree
Wavertree 176-9 (Edward Hopkins 37, Bharat Grover 36*; Joe Harvey 5-57) Rainhill 73 (Aidan Calarco 25, Sam Waine 9; Bharat Grover 5-29) Wavertree (25pts) beat Rainhill (4pts) by 103 runs. Scorecard
Rainhill's 2nd XI travelled to Wavertree for their first game of the season - their scheduled home encounter against Liverpool last week falling victim to a wet outfield - looking to make a positive start to 2023.
Having put the hosts in to bat, Wavertree's openers Robert Dix and Edward Hopkins were able to take the score past 50 before the first wicket fell. Joe Harvey bowled the former for 36 and then rattled through the top order, dismissing Luke Carus-McDonald (8) and Mark Powell (6) before picking up the prize wicket of opener Hopkins. Ryan Kiffin was also out without scoring, falling lbw to John Ball, as the hosts slipped to 102-5. Harvey picked up his fifth wicket of the afternoon when Paul Millar held a fine catch to dismiss Robin Lloyd, who had hit a quick 18 from 20 balls. It was a great achievement and underlined Harvey's quality as an attack bowler. There was also a wicket for Stevie Pennington while Ethan Powell engineered two late run-outs, but an unbeaten 36 from Bharat Grover helped the hosts to a total of 176 for 9.
Rainhill were unable to chase down the target, with only Aidan Calarco (25) offering any real resistance, and they were all out for 73. Umpires: Keith Summers, John Veacock
Scorers: Peter Barrett, David Crossley
3rd XI: So near and yet so far
Rainhill 159-6 (Neil Robinson 66, Simon Brown 18; Shamal Harave 3-18) Northern 129-8 (Shamal Harave 35, Matt Gee 26*; Freddie Foulkes 4-22) Rainhill (7pts) drew with Northern (6pts)
Scorecard The 3rd XI had to settle for a draw at Northern in their first match of the new season. Freddie Foulkes, Harry Ball and Nathan Lawler all made their senior debuts. Rainhill won the toss and elected to bat. In a slow-scoring game they reached 159-6 from 48 overs before declaring. Their innings owed a lot to Neil Robinson, whose outstanding knock of 66 from 86 balls helped the visitors ensure Northern faced a competitive target. Simon Brown (18) and Nathan Lawler (10 not out) also made useful contributions but on the whole scoring was difficult. The pick of the bowlers for the hosts was Shamal Harave, who finished with 3-18 from six overs.
Northern also struggled and Stevie Pennington made the breakthrough when Nathan Lawler held a splendid catch at point to dismiss captain Seb Rice. Wickets fell regularly, with Ollie Powell striking twice, but Harave offered resistance and built patiently, reaching 35 before he was bowled by Freddie Foulkes. Debutant Foulkes also took three further wickets as Northern's middle order toiled. Foulkes inspired spell put Rainhill in a strong position with their opponents on 108 for 7.
Stevie Pennington took a further wicket for Rainhill but the visitors could not find the final two wickets for victory. Northern's Matt Gee (26 not out) and John Cooper (1 not out) ensured their team earned a draw.
The result may not have gone the way Rainhill would have wished, but it was a very positive game for the trio playing their first senior match.
4th XI: Season starts with Bootle defeat
Bootle 200-7 (Arthur Cook 77, Adam McBeth 42; Sarah Curlett 3-51) Rainhill 37 (Jack Tyms 4, Chirag Shroff 4; Matthew Evans 4-9) Bootle (25pts) beat Rainhill (3 pts) by 163 runs
The 4th team started 2023 with a heavy defeat at Bootle, but it was not without positives. Sarah Curlett took 3-51, Deepak Gupta bowled economically and there were wickets for Amber Bowie, Arjun Bali, Kiran Nair and Jack Tyms (on debut).
Unfortunately, captain Gupta was frustrated by the number of dropped catches as Rainhill created many opportunities but failed to take them. Bootle declared on 200 for 7, thanks to an enterprising 77 from Arthur Cook and 42 from Adam McBeth. Rainhill were unable to get anywhere near the target and were all out for 37.
Tony and Ben Wilkinson
Recreationals: Bowled Son Caught Dad
Runcorn 159-8 (George Bushell 44, Sarah O'Connor 20; Matt Diggins 2-16) Rainhill 52 (Matt Diggins 22, Andy Jones 13; Barry O'Connor 3-2) Runcorn beat Rainhill by 107 runs
Rainhill Recreationals started the 2023 season at "home" to Runcorn - the game was played at Haydock's Lyme Park ground. There was a change of captain for the new season and more obviously a change of kit - the team now have their own playing kit, kindly provided by sponsors Inspire Creatives and JJM Services. As part of the team's drive to eradicate barriers to participation, the team kit ensures no-one has to pay for their own.
Runcorn won the toss and opted to bat first on a very green pitch. With a slow outfield the visitors initially found it difficult to score quickly but once he had played himself in George Bushell began to play some confident shots to the boundary. Andy Jones bowled tidily and almost made the breakthrough when he found an edge that didn't quite carry to wicketkeeper Tony Wilkinson or Andi Page at first slip. Rainhill didn't have to wait long for the first wicket, however: Nathan Wheatley edged a delivery from Ben Wilkinson to dad Tony - playing his first full game as wicketkeeper - who held a good catch Barry O'Connor played positively and added 11 but was bowled by Andy Jones. Kris Duffin and Anna Page came into the attack and the former created several opportunities - finding edges that didn't quite carry and a couple of dropped catches. Anna was also unlucky not to pick up her first wicket of the season when Sarah O'Connor edged behind and Andi Page couldn't quite keep hold of what would have been a stunning diving catch.
Duffin finally got the wicket he deserved when George Bushell also edged to the keeper. Bushell had made a contribution of 44 - in the circumstances a super effort. Matt Diggins bowled Matthew Lee for 16, after which Sarah O'Connor and Dotty Conway built a useful partnership, batting sensibly against some good bowling from Duffin and Diggins. O'Connor finally departed for 20 after Diggins found a way through to her stumps, while spinner Ken Rustidge picked up his first wicket of the year when Conway was caught by Stuart Brown at square leg. Simon Gibson and Ben Wilkinson picked up a further wicket each - both courtesy of catches from Matt Diggins - as Runcorn posted a total of 159 for 8.
That was a competitive total on a pretty lifeless pitch but captain Andi Page felt it was not an impossible one to chase down. Unfortunately for Rainhill only Andy Jones (13) and Matt Diggins (22) were able to offer prolonged resistance against some very disciplined bowling.
Despite the defeat, the new captain felt very positive about the overall performance and pointed to how well the team bowled and fielded. There were a couple of dropped catches but most opportunities were taken. There were also some brilliant run-out attempts (including a couple of direct hits from distance) and a cohesiveness that was sometimes absent last year.
Rainhill Player of the Match: Matt Diggins