Rainford blew a golden chance of picking up much needed match-winning points when they faced fellow ECB premier division strugglers New Brighton at the Jubilee Recreational Ground on Saturday.
Chasing the visitors’ paltry total of 104 all out, in which John Dotters (6-47), Daniel Houghton (2-41) and Andrew Davies (2-8) did the damage, the hosts looked racing certainties to ease any thoughts of being dragged into the relegation dogfight when they reached 73 for the loss of only three wicket.
But the innings collapsed from that point like a detonated chimney and almost to their disbelief Rainford were shot out for 85 - a total of 20 wickets falling for 189 runs during the course of an afternoon when the batting of both sides left a great deal to be desired.
Rainford’s time at the crease, which lasted a mere 32.3 overs, resulted in only Paul Farrar (48) and Matthew White (17) reaching double figures - much to the disappointment of their bowlers who earlier had restricted New Brighton to a below-par score.
Neighbours Rainhill, however, were all smiles after a comprehensive six wicket home victory over Lytham at Victoria Place.
It was their sixth win of the campaign and leaves them a comfortable fifth in the table on 186 points.
The Seasiders, who batted first, posted a total of 121 all out, in which David Atkinson (5-20 from seven overs), Ryan Williams (3-49), Liam O’Toole (1-23), and Akshay Arun (1-28) played prominent roles and left what their batsmen then turned into an easy target.
Tyler McGladdery, who is in a rich vein of form at the moment, smashed an unbeaten 33 and was well supported by Ross Higham (27) and Atkinson (23) as Rainhill cruised to 112-4.
Despite scoring an unbeaten 58 - and batting throughout his side’s innings - Ben Walkden couldn’t prevent Newton-le-Willows going down by 83 runs against Sefton Park at Crow Lane East in a division one encounter
The opener lacked support, apart from Marc De Brabander who scored 41, as the hosts, batting second, were dismissed for 139 from 43.5 overs.
Earlier Park had set a target of 222 following the loss of eight wickets and this proved way out of Newton’s reach.
Sutton’s hopes of earning a promotion spot from division two receded when they tumbled to a seven wicket defeat in a run feast against Hightown St Mary’s at Sandy Lane.
The New Street outfit, who took first knock, hammered 243-3 with Adam Onion (74), Joseph Noctor (68), Jamie Greener (30 n.o.), Joe Smith (27) and Jonathan Green (23 n.o.) all making useful contributions.
It looked to be a match-winning score against rivals already under threat of relegation but St Mary’s turned the form book upside down and thanks to an opening stand of 155 by Jayden Schadendorf (91) and Arsian Dar (79) plundered 21 points.
Meanwhile, St Helens Town romped to a seven wicket home win at the expense of Parkfield Liscard.
Phil Murgatroyd (4-13), Robert Kenny (3-36) and David Gaskell (2-25) claimed the wickets as Parkfield, batting first, were dismissed for 121.
In reply, Town sauntered to 122-3 (Craig Woods 47 n.o., Matthew Beilby 37).
Premier division fixtures for Saturday involving local clubs: Colwyn Bay v Rainhill, Northern v Rainford. Division one: Wavetree v Newton-le-Willows. Division two: Southport Trinity v St Helens Town.
Second X1 games include: Rainford v Birkenhead Park, Newton-le-Willows v Colwyn Bay, St Helens Town v Burscough, Rainhill v Old Xaverians, Hightown St Mary’s v Sutton.