Rainhill fail to halt Leigh’s title charge

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Rainhill won the toss and allowed ECB Premier League leaders Leigh to have first use of the wicket.

With three of their top four batsmen already past 500 runs for the season and the other playing for Lancashire, this may have been a long day in the field.

After losing Reece for a duck, Zelem was joined by Brown and the pair decided to defend and take things slowly. Zalem (57) and Brown (32) negated the spin from Qureshi (3 for 58 from 26 overs) by defending the Pakistani’s flight and turn.

McKeirnan (75) and Shallcross (35no) then attacked which allowed Leigh to declare on 220 for 4 in 52 overs.

Rainhill’s reply started positively. Veacock (21) and Edmundson (25) led the way but a mini-collapse left them at 58 for 5. McKiernan (18 overs 4 for 51) ripped the heart out of the chase and after Qureshi (23) was out the writing was on the wall.

A late flurry from Rotheram (19) and then Ford (20no) couldn’t stop Leigh’s title chase and Rainhill finished on 133 all out from 43 overs.

Meanwhile, with conditions favouring swing bowling, it was a surprise when Rainhill seconds elected to bat against Colwyn Bay’s seconds.

With an 8/1 field and the tactic of bowling outside the off stump, Rainhill, initially found it difficult to score.

But manoeuvring the field brought gaps. Thomas was brought into the attack and swung the ball round corners but when his line was off, he was punished.

Tilley (19) attacked this and when he was out, Brown continued the aggression. The Rainhill mid-order got starts but failed to go on to get a big score.

Rotheram (16), Clarke (19) and O’Toole (16no) supported opener Brown (83no) and Rainhill declared after 50 overs on 168 for 6.

Thomas finishing with 4 for 50 from 13.

After a rain delay, Colwyn got down to work. Thomas (38), Hudson (21) and Pitman (21) pushed the score along and they were ahead of the run rate. Yathathugoda (3 for 23 from 9) and O’Toole (3 for 43 from 8) then kept it tight and were rewarded for putting the ball in the right areas.

With 46 required for eight overs, it was anyone’s game but with four dropped catches Rainhill made it hard for themselves. Colwyn finished on 150 for 8 in 35 overs.