Winning start continues
Rainhill extend winning run with impressive all-round team performance
Rainhill 222-3 (Tyler McGladdery 78, Sam Kershaw 68*, Charles Taylor 2-59)
Wigan 92 (Patrick Howley 40, Patrick Fairhurst 16, Jamie Harrison 3-5)
Rainhill won by 130 runs
Points: Rainhill 25 pts, Wigan 1pt
Rainhill's 1st team hosted Wigan in their first home league game of the 2021 season - an encounter the home side won comfortably thanks to a strong all-round performance.
Making one change from the side that triumphed at Orrell Red Triangle last week - pace bowler Jamie Harrison being included in place of Simon Brown - Rainhill won the toss and opted to bat. The opening pair of James Clarke and Tyler McGladdery, whose partnership of 148 played a significant role in the outcome of last week's match, showed similar purpose and determination against Wigan. The duo looked comfortable against the Wigan bowling attack of Adam Samouelle and Joshua Boyden, who asked plenty of questions but failed to make the early breakthrough.
Clarke and McGladdery put on 97 for the first wicket before Clarke was caught and bowled by Charles Taylor for 41. For the second time in two matches Clarke perished in the 40s and will no doubt have been disappointed not to have made his first half-century of the season. McGladdery was then joined by Sam Kershaw, who took control and helped to accelerate the run-rate with his aggressive and sometimes adventurous strokeplay. He eventually amassed 68 from 76 balls, including two sixes.
The partnership between Kershaw and McGladdery was an important one for Rainhill and the two batsmen looked to help their team post a formidable target. The pairing was finally broken when McGladdery was caught by Joe Burrows off the bowling of Charles Taylor for 78. With the score at 154-2, David Atkinson came to the crease but was soon heading back to the pavilion after being caught and bowled by Joshua Boyden for 9.
Ross Higham and Kershaw added 55 more runs in an unbeaten fourth--wicket partnership to take the score to 222-3. McGladdery and Kershaw had been the stand-out performers but everyone had contributed something in what was a positive and proficient team effort.
Wigan's response got off to the worst start when opener John Richardson edged a delivery into the hands of Ross Higham, giving Jamie Harrison his first wicket of the day. Captain Charles Taylor followed soon afterwards, being trapped lbw by Liam O'Toole for 13. Then came a passage of play that was to swing the momentum firmly in Rainhill's favour. With the final ball of his fith over, O'Toole took the wicket of Joe Burrows, out lbw for 4. Two balls into the next over, Jamie Harrison bowled Jake Leyland for 0 and two balls later dismissed Anthony Whittaker - also for 0. Three wickets in five balls plunged the visitors in real trouble on 23-5. Harrison's superb display of bowling earned him the incredible figures of 3 for 5 from eight overs, but more importantly put Rainhill firmly in the driving seat.
With Harrison and O'Toole having demolished Wigan's top order, the spin duo of Peter Kelly and Jack Lowrie entered the attack. To their credit, Patrick Fairhurst (16) and Patrick Howley (40) offered some resistance but, once Fairhurst had been bowled by Kelly, Howley's difficulty was that he was quickly running out of partners. O'Toole collected his third wicket when Jordan Hampson was adjudged out lbw, and held onto a good catch to dismiss Joshua Boyden and give Jack Lowrie a well-deserved wicket.
Howley's innings was as entertaining as it was defiant, with 40 coming from 26 balls before he was eventually out - last man - caught by Tyler McGladdery off Kelly's bowling. Rainhill had won by 130 runs in what can only be described as an exceptional team performance.
Rainhill's next match is on Saturday 8th May away to Sefton Park, who are yet to record their first win of the season.
Umpires: Steve Edwards, Lawrence Watts
Scorers: Neil Girvin, Andrew Finney
Match ball sponsor: Hayes Traditional Butchers