Birkenhead Park CC 1st XI were held to an agonising draw against Wigan on Saturday after a Mike Barnes ton had set the game up for Park.
Skipper Tom Foster won the toss and elected to bat first at Bull Hey, with Barnes quickly finding his stride. However, a wicket apiece from Adam Samouelle and Jordan Hampson pegged Park back to 43 for 2. The in-form Foster now joined Barnes and the pair began to pile on the runs, putting Park in a strong position.
Foster passed a fourth league half-century in as many games before Barnes bought up a superb century, which was well celebrated on the sidelines by the growing Park away following. The 137-run stand was eventually broken and the score 180 for 3, as Foster was dismissed by Samouelle, for a well-crafted 52 (82 balls, 4 fours, 1 six).
The partnership had put Park well in control and Barnes was now joined by Ahmad Safi Abudullah. The pair added 24 more runs before the former’s fantastic innings of 112 (136 balls, 16 fours) was ended by Adanan Miakhel. The score now 204 for 4.
Barnes’ century now meant Safi could accelerate the scoring and take Park up to a commanding total. He motored to a 34-ball half-century (5 fours, 1 six), before being dismissed two balls later by Wigan captain Charles Taylor. Some further late innings hitting took Park up to 267 for 7, and a declaration, after 54 overs.
Taylor and Jake Leyland got the hosts off to a fast start in reply, but the introduction of Safi into the attack bought the latter’s innings to an end for 24, the score 42-1.
This sparked a mad period for Park, as they took 3 wickets in 5 balls. A wicket for Alex Baker and two in two balls from Safi, including the prized wicket of Aaron Redmond, left Wigan in trouble at 62-4. Taylor was well supported by his middle order as wickets 4, 5, and 6 helped take the score past 150 and leave all 3 results a possibility.
The home side decided to attack Ashraf Nawab, but this came at a cost, as the slow left-arm orthodox bowler picked up four wickets to end Wigan’s hopes of a late win.
Taylor passed a rear-guard hundred of his own as he kept his side alive in the game. The game went to the last over with Wigan nine down and Park needing one wicket for a famous win. However, Taylor survived the six balls from Safi and hold on to share the spoils.
The draw leaves Park eleventh in the table, with Leigh coming to Park Drive next Saturday. Sunday will also see the 1s host Cheadle in the Cheshire Cup, with a place in the quarter-finals up for grabs.
Birkenhead Park CC 2nd XI were also made to settle for a draw against Formby in a rain-affected, top-of-the-table clash.
Formby won the toss and elected to bat first, but Park were left encouraged by the variable conditions over-head at Park Drive. The visitors found the boundary in the early exchanges and took early control. However, a trio of wickets from Charlie Jones, took the momentum back in Park’s favour, the score 64-3.
Australian seamer Bailey Jones then bought another double breakthrough for Park, as he snared two more quick wickets to leave Formby struggling at 75-5.
A rain delay then forced an early tea break, which gave Formby a chance to regroup. Following tea, Michael Booth and Andrew Kenyon put on a 78-run stand to take the score to 153.
The returning Bailey prized another couple of quick wickets, including Kenyon for 29. This didn’t thwart Booth, who began to strike some large boundaries, as Formby reached 195 for 7 from 43 overs and declared. Charlie and Bailey were the pick of the bowlers for Park with figures of 3-52 and 4-37 respectively, from 12 overs each. Booth finishing 93 not out (117 balls, 13 fours, 2 sixes) for Formby.
Ian Cooper and Jack Dixon, fresh off his hundred last weekend at Orrell, got the 2s off to the perfect start in reply, putting on fifty, before the weather got involved again and took more time out of the game.
Following the break, Dixon and Cooper upped the anti, knowing that the last hour was fast approaching. Dixon crunched four boundaries off the twelfth over, before the pair were dismissed in consecutive overs (Dixon 44, Cooper 34). The score 82 for 2.
During the last hour, the 2s chances of winning became slimmer, as Park lost wickets at regular intervals, in the search of quick runs.
Chris Foran reignited hopes with a well-made 43 but his dismissal with five overs to go, and the score on 146, ended any chance of a famous victory. Bailey Jones and Louie Evans safely negotiated the final proceedings to secure the draw for Park and keep the 2s in the title picture.
The 2s sit in fourth and travel to third place Colwyn Bay next weekend, in another top-of-the-table clash.
The second XI’s dreams of cup glory were ended by Northern on Sunday, following a 47-run defeat. The hosts were restricted to 173 all out, with 3 wickets apiece for Charlie Jones and Louie Evans. In reply, the 2s were bowled out for 126.
The 3rd XI fell to a five-wicket defeat on Saturday to Goodlass CC. Jack Lambert top-scored with 44 as Park were bowled out for 106. Goodlass chased the runs down with the loss of just five wickets. The 3s sit fourth in the 3rd XI Premier League table, with a trip to Liverpool CC next weekend.
The 4th XI recorded the only win of the weekend as they defeated Sefton Park 4th XI by 58 runs. 61 from Ellis Irving helped the 4s reach 182 for 7 declared from 45 overs, before four wickets from Lewis Foran and three wickets from Jimmy Riley saw Sefton succumb to 124 all out. The 4s also sit fourth in their respective league table, as they travel to Orrell next weekend .