Five-wicket hauls from Alex Baker and Ahmad Safi Abdullah saw the Birkenhead Park CC 1st XI overpower Orrell Red Triangle by five wickets, in a key bottom-half of the table clash at Park Drive on Saturday.
Orrell won the toss and elected to bat on what was a sun-soaked day in Birkenhead. Despite this, Baker put Park well in charge by taking two wickets off balls number two and three of the game.
Firstly, Ammer Mizra was well caught by Michael Barnes, before Richard Everett was trapped in front to leave the visitors in immediate danger at 0 for 2.
Andrew Baybutt went on the counter-attack at the other end, striking three early boundaries off Safi to try and shift the early momentum away from Park. However, Baker’s pressure told and Mark Waddington was caught behind by Steve Hird, to give the six feet, eight inches tall fast bowler, his third wicket of the day.
Baybutt continued to play aggressively for Orrell and dominated the scoring in a 40-run partnership with captain Sam Heeley. The ex-Ormskirk batsmen passed a resilient fifty, before Baker and Hird combined once again to dismiss Heeley for 6. The score now 62-4.
This sparked a mad couple of overs for Park, as Safi picked up three quick wickets, including the big scalp of Baybutt for 52, with Orrell only adding one run in between, the visitors now reeling at 63 for 7.
Park were ruthless as Orrell could only muster a further 17 runs before they were bundled out for 80. Safi and Baker both finishing with five wickets apiece from 14 overs each (Baker: 14.1 overs, 5 maidens, 5 wickets for 36 runs. Safi: 14 overs, 4 maidens, 5 wickets for 43 runs), as they dominated the first half for Park and put the 1s in complete control.
Safi then began to put the game completely out of Orrell’s reach with the bat, as he hit two sixes in a quick-fire 26 from 18 balls to take Park past the halfway mark in the run chase. Four quick wickets from Orrell however, delayed Park’s victory slightly as the hosts fell to 63 for 5.
Hird and skipper Tom Foster safely negotiated the remaining 18 runs for victory to cap off a memorable weekend for the club, which saw two big wins from two games and the 1s move up to eighth in the table. Next up is the return fixture against Orrell on Saturday, before the massive Cheshire Cup quarter-final clash with Chester Boughton Hall on Sunday.
The win against Orrell was the second victory for Foster’s men of the weekend, as they firstly defeated Port Sunlight by 12 runs, in a thrilling last 16 tie in the Liverpool Echo T20 Knockout. 76 not out from Foster (53 balls, 12 fours, 1 six), 38 from Safi, then some late innings hitting from Hird and Chris Foran, took Park up to a commanding 195 for 6 from 20 overs.
Port Sunlight were cruising in reply at 157-1, including a brilliant century from Steve Graham (102 off 55 balls, 13 fours, 3 sixes), before 2 wickets for 24 runs at the death from Foran saw Park fight back to win by 12 runs, and progress to the quarter finals. A trip to St. Helens Town awaits the 1s next.
Birkenhead Park 2nd XI were left frustrated as they could only manage a draw at Liverpool CC, on Saturday, despite half-centuries from Jack Dixon and Jon Crofton.
Danny Jordan won the toss for Park and elected to bat on a scorching hot day in Aigburth, as the 2s looked to pile on the runs, on a flat looking wicket.
Liverpool’s opening bowlers managed to find some movement with the new ball, and Jack Simmons beat the defences of Chris Parker with a devastating yorker, to leave Park 2 for 1 in the first over.
After a short period of consolidation, Dixon and Crofton took control of proceedings for Park, as they regularly found the boundary on their way to a commanding 139-run partnership for the second wicket.
The pair both passed well-deserved fifties in the process, as Park began to accelerate the scoring to push towards a declaration. Dixon eventually fell for 67 (93 balls, 12 fours) and Crofton 74 (88 balls, 11 fours), with Park firmly on top in the contest.
A run-a-ball 46 not out from Jordan and 17 not out for Charlie Jones helped take the 2s up to 227 for 3 in the 42nd over, and a positive declaration from skipper Jordan, trying to ensure Park had enough time to bowl out their opponents.
Despite an early breakthrough from Jones, Liverpool put together a 138-run partnership of their own for the second wicket, as they too took advantage of the batting-friendly conditions. With the score on 150, Adam Dunsmore fell for a brilliant 96 (75 balls, 20 fours), with Liverpool looking towards victory.
However, the wicket of Dunsmore sparked a fightback from Park and bought back some hope of a win, as Bailey Jones picked up two quick wickets, including the key wicket of Vivek Kothari for 61 (75 balls, 11 fours) and a smart catch behind the wicket from Jake Hubble to dismiss Tushar Jashnani. Liverpool now 184-4.
A stumping off Jordan from Hubble, and two wickets in two balls from Louie Evans gave the 2s some real hope of pulling off what looked like an unlikely victory.
The game then entered the final over with Liverpool needing 6 runs for victory and Park three wickets. Jordan managed to pick up one of the wickets off the second ball, as Hubble collected his third dismissal behind the stumps. Neither side could ultimately get over the line as the game ended in a thrilling draw. Evans finished the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 65 from 16 overs, with 2 apiece also for Bailey and Jordan.
The result leaves the 2s in fifth, still 38 points behind leaders Formby. Park will continue to hunt down the top of the table, as they host Liverpool in the return fixture, on Saturday.
The 3s, unfortunately, fell to a six-wicket defeat against Formby 3rd XI on Saturday. Park posted 130 all out from 48 overs, with Jack Lambert top scoring with 39. Formby eventually reached their victory target four down, in the 36th over, despite two wickets from Lewis Foran. The defeat leaves Tim Williams’ side in third place, as Park host local rivals New Brighton at Cannon Hill this weekend.
The 4s fell to the same fate as they lost by nine wickets against Alder 3rd XI on Saturday. Andrew Turner top scored with 31 as Park fell to 81 all out inside 33 overs. It took Alder just 9.4 overs to reach their victory target and 25 points. This leaves the 4s eighth in the Division One table, with a trip to Wallasey this weekend.