On the best cricketing day of the year so far, Rainhill Spice Inn first team travelled to fellow strugglers Fleetwood Hesketh in the Med Imaging Liverpool Competition Premier Division.
Hesketh elected to bat and in the third over, Rainhill suffered the loss of opening bowler Dale, who when dropping a caught and bowled, hurt his finger and had to be taken to hospital.
Coupled with other early missed chances, Hesketh must have thought this may have been their day and get their first win of the season. Opener Rimmer (15) rode his luck but Qureshi soon reeled him in, bowling him through the gate.
Generously, Hesketh had prepared a dusty turning wicket which suited the Rainhill professional. Qureshi’s line and length was, as always relentless and rash shot selection just gave him more wickets to add to his tally. At 54 for 6, Qureshi was on for all 10 wickets but Williams stepped up and helped himself to a couple. Qureshi finished with 8 for 17 from 10. (Surprisingly with no LBW’s - 5 bowled, 2 ct and a st). Hesketh were all out in 20 overs for 66.
Chasing low targets can be as hard as huge ones and Rainhill’s response was complacently poor. Rotheram (17) showed some application and at 50-3 with only 17 required, the job was done. So he thought.
Rainhill collapsed to 54 for 8 and then 58 for 9. Hesketh may have won but Dale arrived back from hospital with his broken finger in a splint just in time and went out to bat to hit the winning runs. Halsall (4 for 24 from 8) and Todd (3 for 8 from 5) also enjoyed the bowler friendly conditions.
Rainhill seconds lost by five wickets to visitors Fleetwood Hesketh, with Atkinson (69) and McKeown (37) the pick of the home side’s batting, while Atkinson helped himself to three wickets for 59.
Rainhill thirds visited Southport and Birkdale thirds. Electing to bat, they made 174 in 39 overs but Southport were able to pass their target for the loss of five wickets.