A mesmersing spell of slow left-arm bowling by Mohammed Aslam Qureshi paved the way for Rainhill’s five wicket victory over neighbours Rainford at Victoria Terrace in the premier division of the Liverpool Competition on Saturday.
The Pakistani all-rounder claimed 8-34 from 26.4 overs, 11 of which were maidens, as the visitors toppled to 109 all out from 54.4 pain-staking overs.
Ryan Williams weighed-in with 2-46 from 20 overs, seven of which were maidens, and left the hosts with a relatively easy target.
They suffered one or two anxious moment in reply but an unbeaten 40 by Ben Edmondson and support from Tyler McGladdery (26) and Sam Kershaw (21) ensured a maximum 25 points were in the bag.
Andrew Davies (3-44), Bokang Mosena (1-27) and John Dotters (1-21) were the visitors’ best via a 73 wicket-takers.
Victory lifted Rainhill to seventh spot on 111 points and left Rainford 10th in the 12-club table on 95 points.
In the first division, Newton-le-Willows cruised to a seven wicket win over Maghull at Old Hall Field.
The hosts, batting first, were dismissed for only 107 with Mike Walkden (4-48), Furquan Shafiq (2-6), Danny Barlow (2-8), Cameron Smith (1-18), and Daniel Cartwright (1-15) claiming the Newton wickets.
Openers Shafiq (54) and Liam Jenkins (19) then laid the foundation to the visitors’ reply and with support from Chris Chambers (19) the final outcome was never in doubt.
St Helens Town maintained their title challenge in the second division following a six wicket win at Old Xaverians.
The Woolton outfit, who batted first, were dismissed for 76 from 41.3 overs with Ian Jennion (5-18), James Davies (3-35) and Robert Kenny (2-10) wreaking havoc.
In reply, David Gaskell (23), Andrew Critchley (24 no) and Gary Williams (17 no) ensured Town of third spot, four points behind Old Xaverians and 50 adrift of table-toppers Skelmersdale.
Sutton came within a whisker of a much-needed win in the same division after a nerve-tingling finale to their match against Alder at West Derby.
The home side, batting first, smashed 227 from 51 overs (Stephen Birkett 3-57 and Natalie Brown 7-85) and in response Sutton finished on 225-8, in which Joe Smith hit a majestic unbeaten 90, James York (40) and Thomas Nolan (30, and ernsured the outcome was in doubt until the death.
Despite their battling performance Sutton are still anchored at the foot of the table with 51 points from their nine games.
Fixtures involving first teams on Saturday are - premier division: Bootle v Rainhill, Rainford v Lytham.
First division: Newton-le-Willows v Fleetwood Hesketh.
Second division St Helens Town v Southport Trinity, Sutton v Highfield St Mary’s.