Birkenhead Park CC edge Formby in last wicket thriller

Birkenhead Park CC 1st XI beat Formby by one wicket on Saturday, following 97 from Mark Rowland and a nail biting 25-run partnership for the tenth wicket from Jack Dixon and Dom Hogarth.

Bowling first on a grey day in Formby, Bailey Jones struck with his first ball, in the second over, as Ollie Sutton was caught by Hogarth for 0.

Calum Turner 
and Sam Oldham got the innings going for Formby as a 93-run stand took the hosts into the driving seat.

The pair passed fifties before both fell in quick succession as Park looked to regain a foothold in the game. Turner was clean bowled by Rowland for 51 (59 balls, 9 fours) and Oldham fell to Chris Foran for 50 (62 balls, 7 fours), with the catch being taken by Matty Langford. The score now 102 for 3.

Captain Ryan Brown and Steve Lazars quickly found their stride, notching up a fifty partnership quicker than a run-a-ball. With Formby chasing maximum points to ensure their safety in the Premier League, the pair upped the scoring rate in an attempt to force an early declaration and have enough time to claim all ten Park wickets.

Both batsmen raced past fifties, as Formby had taken complete control of the game once more, on what was a fast-scoring ground. The hosts eventually reached 262 for 3 off just 39.1 overs and called time on their innings.

In an onslaught that saw 80 runs being taken in the last six overs of Formby’s innings, Brown (94 not out, 66 balls, 14 fours, 2 sixes) and Lazars (62 not out, 8 fours, 1 six) had put on a very entertaining 160-run partnership for the fourth wicket in double quick time.

Rowland and Langford began the run chase in typical aggressive fashion, with Langford taking 16 runs from the fourth over, with the former striking a maximum of his own in the next over. However, Langford was cleaned up for 26 by Sam Ellis, leaving the score 38 for 1.

Rowland took Ellis for 16 in the ninth over, before new man Mike Barnes struck a pair of boundaries off Lazars. Formby then struck back, as Barnes returned a chance to Lazars off his own bowling, with the score 68 for 2.

Skipper Tom Foster now joined Rowland, and the pair took advantage of the quick scoring conditions, racing to a fifty partnership in the 24th over, with Rowland reaching his eighth fifty of the season in the process.

Foster compiled a well-made 49, before Sutton ended the 107-run partnership, but with Park well in control of the run chase, at 175 for 3.

Rowland continued to strike the ball to all parts of the ground but fell three runs short of what would’ve been a magnificent century. He finished on 97 (113 balls, 13 fours, 3 sixes) as Lazars picked up his second wicket of the day.

As the ball began to turn square, Park fell from 211 for 4 to 239 for 9 in a mad period which saw Lazars take two more and Jackson Darkes-Sutcliffe take three scalps to put Formby on the brink of a victory.

With Park still needing 25 runs for a win, Dixon and Hogarth stood firm and showed calm heads, rotating the strike and reducing the runs required for victory. The pair took the score to 255 for 9, until they decided enough was enough and a boundary each off Darkes-Sutcliffe saw Park pick up a nail-biting victory, sparking wild celebrations.

Rowland’s 97 and the gutsy Dixon-Hogarth last wicket stand consolidated Park’s place in fifth position of the Premier League table. Next up is a home tie vs 10th place Southport and Birkdale, before Park’s blockbuster Cheshire Cup final versus Nantwich CC.

Birkenhead Park CC 2nd XI played out a thrilling draw against Orrell Red Triangle 2nd XI on Saturday, where all three results were possible going into the last over.

Park complied an imposing 232 all out from 42 overs. Captain Danny Jordan top scored with a superb 91 from 106 balls (14 fours) and was well supported with 37 from Dale Taylor, 27 from Charlie Jones and 23 from Louie Evans.

Orrell were positive in reply as they needed maximum points to try and help keep their Premier League status for 2023. The visitors raced to 70 for 1, then 116 for 2, with Christopher Riley top scoring with 49 from just 37 balls.

Four wickets from Jordan and two from Evans helped peg Orrell back to 170 for 7. However, David Cheetham didn’t give up hope for Orrell as he found the boundary regularly, leaving his side needing 16 from the last over with Park needing three wickets.

Despite three boundaries off the last over, Cheetham finished 48 not out from 23 balls with Park managing to just hold Orrell off for a draw, who finished one run short. The draw leaves the 2s in sixth place, as they travel to Southport and Birkdale this weekend.

The 3rd XI managed a comfortable 46-run win over Goodlass last weekend. Delwar Hossain blasted a stunning 125 not out, as Park amassed 212 for 9 declared off 49 overs. The 3s then bowled Goodlass out for 166 in a team performance with the ball. Captain Anish Hulme took four wickets, with Under 15s prospect Adithya Jagadish taking three wickets. Hossain capped off a brilliant day with two wickets of his own. The win keeps the 3s in seventh in the 3rd XI Premier League, as they visit Maghull this weekend.

The 4s also recorded a memorable victory of their own this Saturday against Northern 5th XI. Lewis Foran hit his maiden senior hundred as he top scored with 102 in Park’s imposing 210 for 1 off 34 overs. Skipper Miles Lambert also blasted 56 not out, including 12 fours, with Sam Hubble scoring 39 in an opening partnership of 98 with Foran. The wickets were then shared between the bowlers, including two for centurion Foran, as Park bowled Northern out for 178 to give them a 32-run win. The win sees the 4s climb to tenth place in Division One, as they host South Liverpool this weekend.

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