Local cricket round-up: Ashraf in fine form with bat and ball in Rainhill victory

Local cricket round-up
Local cricket round-up

Qaiser Ashraf hogged the limelight as Rainhill notched a third successive victory in the premier division of the Liverpool Cricket Competition on Saturday.

The Pakistani all-rounder grabbed 5-53 from a 31-over stint, which included eight maidens, and then smashed an unbeaten 47 to brush aside the challenge of Orrell Red Triangle by four wickets at Victoria Place.

But Orrell, who batted first and posted a total of 153 all out, had also to contend with the pin-point accuracy of Ashraf's bowling partner, Peter Kelly, who mopped up the remaining five wickets for 65.

A three-way battle for the title is building up nicely in the first division where only nine points separate Newton-le-Willows, Wigan and Rainford.

All three picked up wins at the weekend to enhance their championship hopes with leaders Newton-le-Willows crushing Old Xaverians by 10 wickets at Crow Lane East.

The Woolton side batted first and scored 151 (Sam Guest 3-44, Jamie Derbyshire 3-47 and Mike Walkden1-41) but the homesters' openers, Peter Barnes (60) and Ben Walkden (79), made light work of their task and remained unbeaten at the close.

Rainford also maintained their push for an immediate return to the top division following a narrow victory at Ainsdale.

The hosts, who batted first, looked set to post a tough target after reaching 69 before losing their first wicket but they were pegged back by some accurate bowling and eventually dismiss for 137 (John Dotters 5-39, Andrew John Pickavance 5-53).

Rainford's reply, however, was not without its dramatic and at one stage had lost seven wickets for 84 but no.8 Ravi Mistry held the innings together with a gusty unbeaten 30 and victory was achieved with a couple of wickets in hand.

St Helens Town now lie fifth in the second division after a 24 run triumph over Maghull at Ruskin Drive.

Once more, West Indian Jaidel Richardson was prominent with both bat and ball. He hit 34 as Town, taking first knock, totalled 144 all out and then grabbed 4-40 in the visitors' reply which ended on 120.

Richardson was well supported by Phil Murgatroyd (4-25) and James Davies (2-38).

Sutton kept within touching distance of their neighbours with a 28 run win against Southport Trinity at New Street.

James York (62), Chathura Ranawaka (35), Joseph Noctor (25), Mike Rimmer (22) and Andy Cowley (21 n.o.) all contributed to the host's score of 197 all out and then the bowlers restricted the opposition to 120 all out.

The wickets were shared by James Greener (4-39), Liam Dodd (3-32), Noctor (2-18) and Andy Dodd (1-50).

Results involving local second teams: Sutton 130, Maghull 117; Rainford 201-9 declared, Rainhill 99 all out; Newton-le-Willows 200-5 declared,Spring View 104 all out; Burscough 93 all out, St Helens Town 94-2.

Local fixtures on Saturday - premier division: New Brighton v Rainhill. Division one: Newton-le-Willows v Northop Hall, Rainford v Birkenhead Park.
Division two: Maghull v Sutton, Alder v St Helens Town
Second team games: Birkenhead Park v Rainford, Bootle v Newton-le-Willows, Sutton v Old Xaverians.

LEAGUE officials have expressed disappointment that, despite many attempts to get clubs to abide by the rules and regulations, the current number of fines continue to rise. The comparable total in 2018 was £600 less and any offending clubs are urged to get their house in order.