Birkenhead Park CC 1st XI recorded their second win in as many weeks as they overcame Orrell Red Triangle CC 1st XI, by four wickets, to take another huge step in securing their Premier League status for next season.
On a wet and gloomy day in Orrell, skipper Tom Foster won the toss and elected to bowl first, in the hope his side would be able to control the game, with potential rain delays throughout the day.
After the start was delayed by over an hour, Park immediately made up for the lost time as Alex Baker dismissed Andrew Baybutt for 0, after just four balls, following a very sharp catch at short leg from Matty Langford.
Ammer Mizra tried to get the hosts back on track with five quick boundaries, but played one shot too many as he found the safe hands of Baker at square leg, off the bowling of Alex Harris, for 23. Orrell now 23 for 2.
Like last week, Park were clinical with the new ball, as the very next over Baker trapped Mark Waddington in front for 0, before Harris, just two balls later, claimed the wickets of both Richard Everett and Matthew Wareing in successive deliveries, to leave the 1s well on top and Orrell reeling at 28 for 5.
Sam Heeley and Matthew Hayes provided some temporary respite for the home side, putting on 40 for the sixth wicket, in an attempt to rebuild their innings. However, Heeley was soon thwarted by a returning Harris, for 24, as a loose drive found the hands of Khalid Wahbi to give the right-arm seamer his fourth wicket of the day. The score now 68 for 6.
Ahmad Safi Abdullah’s patience with the ball was eventually rewarded as he had Hayes caught behind by Steve Hird for 15. Orrell overseas Dileepa Jayalath responded with 2 boundaries to try and take the score past 100, but tight bowling once again from Safi saw him dismiss his opposite number for 18, leaving the score 89 for 8.
After tea, Park wasted no time in wrapping up the Orrell innings as Safi and Baker both picked up their third wickets to bowl the hosts out for 101. Harris (10 overs, 2 maidens, 4 wickets for 36 runs), Baker (10.1 overs, 2 maidens, 3 wickets for 38 runs) and Safi (13 overs, 6 maidens, 3 wickets for 19 runs) were all superb as they dealt with the wet ball and gave the 1s an excellent chance of victory, as well as being excellently backed up in the field, as no chances went down.
Langford and Mark Rowland started strongly, both striking boundaries in the first two overs, as Park looked to chase down the victory target before the weather could play its part. It took an excellent diving catch at mid-off from Hayes to dismiss Rowland for 10, before Park found themselves in a spot of bother, as three more quick wickets fell to leave the visitors 33 for 4.
Safi and Sam Beadsworth set about rebuilding the run chase, with the former picking his balls well as he targeted Jayaleth, striking three maximums on his way to 29, which helped get Park back on track. He was well supported by Beadsworth, as the pair were eventually dismissed in quick succession by Heeley, with the score 80 for 6.
Wahbi showed a calm head as he ended any Orrell hopes of a win, by hitting a key 20 not out, including four 4s. He was joined by Hird, as the pair took the 1s over the line to a second successive victory in the league over Orrell in as many weeks. The win also extends the gap between Park, in eighth, and the bottom two to 26 points, as other results went the 1s’ way. Next up is a trip to Newton-le-Willows as Park will look to avenge the defeat from the opening day of the season.
The 1s were left frustrated on Sunday, as the weather put pay to their quarter-final Cheshire Cup clash with Chester Boughton Hall. Chester were struggling at 47 for 2 before the rain put a halt to proceedings. The fixture has been rearranged for the 7th August.
Birkenhead Park CC 2nd XI edged a thriller by one wicket against Liverpool CC 2nd XI on Saturday, to keep their title hopes alive.
The 2s lost the toss and were put in the field on a grey day at Park Drive and were immediately on the front foot as George Turner picked up the key wicket of Adam Dunsmore, second ball, to leave the visitors 0 for 1. Park were delighted to see the back of Dunsmore following his 96 the week before in the reverse fixture.
A 50 run-stand for the second wicket put Liverpool back in control, but 2 quick wickets from skipper Danny Jordan, including that of Matthew Douglas, who top scored with 40, and one for Bailey Jones swung the momentum back in Park’s favour, with the score 74 for 4.
Louie Evans picked up his first wicket of the day, as he dismissed another one of last week’s run scorers, Vivek Kothari, for 14. Park continued to apply the pressure, as Jordan’s third wicket and Evans ending Robert Simmons’ quick fire 36, left Liverpool 130 for 7.
The spin duo couldn’t keep out of the action, as Jordan ran out Mahesh Kajendran and two more quick wickets from Evans saw Liverpool fall to 144 all out in the 49th over. Evans finished with figures of 4 wickets for 35 runs from 9.2 overs, which took him to 50 wickets for the season in all competitions. He was well backed up by Jordan who collected figures of 3 wickets for 51 runs from 17 overs.
The dramatic run chase from Park got off on the wrong foot as the in-form Jack Dixon and Chris Parker both fell early, leaving the 2s 29 for 2.
Jack Lambert’s 17 had taken the score past 50, but regular wickets fell as Liverpool were beginning to sense a win of their own, with the contest on a knife edge. Jordan anchored the Park innings throughout, but watched wickets tumble at the other end as leg spinner Tushar Jashani picked up five wickets for the visitors in a brilliant spell of bowling.
Liverpool seemed in complete control as Jordan fell for 42, with the score 121 for 9, needing just one wicket for victory. Still with 24 runs to get it was down to Jones and Turner to try and get Park over the line.
Jones went on the counter-attack as he struck two fours and two massive sixes to swing the pendulum back Park’s way on a rollercoaster afternoon. The second six took him to 22 from just 11 balls and tied the scores in the 38th over. Turner stood firm at the other end and scampered through for a quick single to spark wild celebrations and take the 2s to a memorable win.
The result leaves Park in fifth place in the 2nd XI Premier League table but only 21 points behind leaders Formby, as they lost to Colwyn Bay at the weekend. The 2s host Newton-le-Willows on Saturday as they look to close the gap further at the top of the table.
The 3rd XI fell to a four-wicket defeat at the hands of New Brighton 3rd XI on Saturday on Cannon Hill. Park posted a competitive 198 for 3 from 40 overs with 61 not out from Dale Taylor and all the other batsmen reaching at least 20. However New Brighton reached their victory target losing six wickets, despite 3 wickets for Dom Hogarth. The defeat leaves the 3s in fourth place, with a trip to local rivals Wallasey next Saturday.
The 4th XI fell to an agonising two wicket defeat away at Wallasey 4th XI on Saturday. Ellis Irving top scored with 49 as Park posted 127 all out. Wallasey reached the required runs eight down but 4 wickets for 18 runs, from 12 overs for Ellis Cranham and two wickets apiece from Martin Evans and Kanad Nikam made life difficult in the chase, as the 4s fought till the very end. The result leaves Miles Lambert’s side eighth position in the 3rd XI Division One table, as they host the Liverpool Superkings at Cannon Hill on Saturday.