Birkenhead Park CC 1st XI has recorded an impressive ninth win in a row, in all competitions, following a memorable five-wicket, away win at Ormskirk CC.
Tom Foster won the toss on a scorching hot day in Ormskirk and chose to bowl first, given his side’s recent success in run chases. Before Saturday, five out of the eight successive wins had come in games where Park had batted second.
Second placed Ormskirk got off to a bright start, striking three boundaries in first six overs. However, the first wicket fell at the end of the sixth over, as David Nevin clean bowled Alex Rankin for 13. The score 36 for 1.
Park didn’t have to wait long for their second wicket, as four overs later with the score on 56, a mix up between Robert Rankin and George Politis, left the door open for Jack Dixon to run out the latter for 34.
This begun a period of Park dominance, as Chris Foran picked up two key scalps in the 16th over. First, Ormskirk captain Gary Knight found Foster at mid-off, for 2, before Rankin edged behind to Steve Hird for 11. Alex Harris was then rewarded for tight spell of bowling, as Harvey Rankin was well caught by Mark Rowland at slip, for 9. The hosts now in trouble at 80 for 5.
James Bone and James Illingworth battled hard to put on a much needed 43 runs for the sixth wicket, but Park pegged Ormskirk back once again, as a spectacular diving catch from Sam Beadsworth gave Foster his first wicket, dismissing Illingworth for 14.
Bone had hit five boundaries on his way to a well-made 44, but a leading edge off Bailey Jones found Foster at cover, leaving Ormskirk 139 for 7.
Scott Lees and Zahir Shehzad then combined to put on a further 39 runs for the eighth wicket, with Lees the aggressor, striking three fours and a six on his way to 37. Shehzad then found the safe hands of Foran off Foster, for 10. The score now 178 for 8.
Soon after, Lees holed out to Dixon at cow corner, as the right-hander tried to push on the scoring with partners running out at the other end, giving Foster a third wicket.
Martyn Farrell (4 not out) and Jamie Barnes (18 not out) then put on a useful 26 runs for the final wicket, including a maximum for the latter, took Ormskirk up to a more than competitive 209 for 9 declared from 55 overs.
Park, as usual, got off to flier in reply, as Rowland and Matty Langford came out all guns blazing. 16 runs off a Lees over, took the score to 44 for 0 after 8 overs. Langford then proceeded to take Ormskirk pro Shehzad to pieces, as he crunched four consecutive boundaries off the ninth over that cost Ormskirk 19 runs.
Barnes then eventually dismissed Langford for 45, as Park were in a strong position at 73 for 1. Rowland continued to be aggressive, finding the fence regularly. A massive six off Barnes took the Park opener to a seventh fifty of the season, passing 1000 runs in all competitions in the process.
The next over, Farrell had Rowland stumped for 51 (53 balls, 8 fours, 1 six), as the ball began to turn sharply. The experienced left arm spinner then claimed two more quick wickets, including that of Foster for 11, to leave Park 147 for 4.
Dixon had looked good for his 15, including a glorious punch off the spin through wide mid-on, but he fell shortly after Foster, leaving the game on a knife edge at 147 for 5.
Hird and Beadsworth came together in the middle, with the game entering the last the hour. Both had been heavily involved in successful run chases previously this season and looked set to contribute to another, as the pair quickly found their stride, striking regular boundaries and running well between the wickets.
Their experience in these situations told, as the pair showed calm heads, with the runs required quickly dropping. Hird looked to end the game in a hurry, as he hit 2 fours and a six off one Shehzad over, to take Park just one hit away and bring up a brilliant fifty partnership in the process.
It was left to Beadsworth to land the final blow, as he struck Farrell to the boundary to give Park a famous win. The pair (Hird 34 not out, Beadsworth 28 not out) had compiled an excellent, unbeaten 63-run partnership, which completely took the game away from Ormskirk, when the game was finely poised. The victory was the 1s ninth on the spin, including five in a row in the league, to leave them in fifth. It was also their first win away at Ormskirk since 1996.
Next up is a home tie to runaway leaders Wallasey in the league before Park host the 2022 LDCC Echo T20 Knockout Finals Day in what will be a blockbuster Sunday at Park Drive.
Birkenhead Park CC 2nd XI fell to an agonising 1 wicket defeat to Sefton Park CC 2nd XI on Saturday at Park Drive. Park won the toss and batted first, compiling a competitive 213 all out from 44 overs, with Charlie Jones top scoring with 48 (45 balls, 9 fours). He was well supported by skipper Danny Jordan, who made 42 (44 balls, 9 fours), and Louie Evans, who made a quick-fire 23 from 16 balls.
In reply, Sefton just scraped over the line as they reached 214 for the loss of 9 wickets. Jones followed up his 48 with three wickets, and there were 2 wickets also for Archie Dicken. Sefton captain David Kelly’s 60 not out from 36 balls (5 fours, 4 sixes) proving to be the difference.
The defeat leaves the 2s in fifth, 43 points behind Lytham in first. Park travel to local rivals Wallasey this weekend, as they look to keep their title hopes alive with a win.
The 3rd XI also fell to defeat on Saturday, as Northern 3rd XI ran out four wicket winners. Delwar Hossain blasted an unbeaten 106 for Park as they posted a strong 212 for 2 declared from 45 overs. Mason Cockcroft also struck his maiden Park 3rd XI fifty in a brilliant batting performance from the 3s. In reply, Northern captain Simon Kelly reached an unbeaten century of his own, as the visitors reached their target inside 45 overs. The defeat leaves the 3s in sixth, with another trip to Northern next weekend.
The 4s fought hard to earn a draw against Bootle 3rd XI on Saturday. Bootle reached 187 for 6 declared from 42 overs, with two wickets and a run out from Jimmy Riley. Park then managed to negotiate the 44 overs required for a draw, for the loss of 8 wickets. Riley capped off an excellent day personally, as he top scored with 28. The result leaves the 4s in eleventh in Division One, as they host Orrell Red Triangle 3rd XI on Saturday.