Birkenhead Park held to draw as Baker, Bachhav, and Harris shine

Birkenhead Park CC 1st XI were held to a draw by Highfield, despite a hat trick from opening bowler Alex Baker and fifties for Alex Harris and the returning Satyajeet Bachhav.

After losing the toss on an overcast Saturday lunchtime, Park were put into bat by Highfield captain Michael Farrell.

For a second consecutive week, Matty Langford launched a majestic straight six back over the bowlers head. However, a mix up in the middle saw him run out for ten.

Highfield seamer Sam Rotherham began to put Park under immediate pressure as he picked up the key early wickets of Mark Rowland and debuting Warwickshire batsman Chris Benjamin.

Rotherham’s opening partner Ryan Parry then picked up the wicket Michael Barnes to leave Park in trouble at 43 for 4.

Two more quick wickets made the score a worrying 63 for 6 but captain Stephen Hird and overseas all rounder Bachhav set out about giving Park some respite.

The pair put a valuable 46 runs on for the seventh wicket to take the score past 100, including 5 boundaries from skipper Hird. The keeper batsman made his way to 30 before being stumped off the bowling of Jamie Derbyshire.

Bachhav, now joined by Harris, carried on his way and passed a well compiled half century. This came despite only landing in the country earlier in the morning, coming off the back of 154 not out out in an Indian domestic league final that week.

The partnership began to prosper as Harris began to launch some almighty blows, including one six onto the roof of the indoor nets. As the score passed 150, Harris raced to a half century of his own off just 43 balls. It was the all-rounder’s second fifty against Highfield, in as many outings, following his famous 87 not out back in 2021, which began Park’s unbeaten run that secured promotion.

The partnership reached 97 before Harris eventually was caught for 62 (55 balls, 7 fours, 3 sixes), giving Rotherham a fourth wicket. A few quick runs later, Hird declared at tea, with the score 211 for 8 and Park in a commanding position, thanks to the efforts of himself, Bachhav, who finished unbeaten on 67 (103 balls, 4 fours, 1 six), and Harris.

In reply, Park dealt the visitors an early set back, as Harris switched bat for ball, and dismissed Ryan Hargreaves for 9, with Highfield 13 for 1.

Farrell and Hedley Molyneux got the Higfield innings up and running with a 32-run partnership for the second wicket, until Baker put Park firmly in pole position.

He trapped Molyneux in front for 10, only to deal Joe Welsby the same treatment the very next ball. Madduma Lakmal was tasked with negotiating the hat trick ball, but Baker was too hot to handle, with Lakmal suffering the same fate as he was pinned on the front pad, giving Baker a hat trick and sparking wild celebrations in the middle.

Park put their foot on the gas as Bachhav picked up the key wicket of Highfield captain Farrell, with David Nevin cleaning up Harry Moxham the next over. The hosts well on top now, with Highfield 63 for 6.

Derbyshire and Edwin Brewer combined to steer Highfield towards safety, as the pair put on a vital 63 runs for the seventh wicket. The partnership guided Highfield into the last twenty overs, before Khalid Wahbi’s off spin had Brewer caught behind by Hird for 38.

Derbyshire’s resistance continued as his unbeaten 27 took Highfield to 134 for 7, and saw out the remainder of the final hour, for a draw. It was a positive performance from Park who recovered from 63 for 6 to dominate the rest of the game. Next up is an away trip to Sefton Park.

It was a disappointing weekend for the 2s as they were defeated by 6 wickets at Southport and Birkdale. 42 not out from Louie Evans and 29 from Jack Dixon helped Park to 119 all out, before S and B chased down the runs losing only 4 wickets. Evans picking up figures of 3 for 60. The 2s host Sefton Park at Park Drive this Saturday.

The 3s kicked off their season with a defeat to a strong Liverpool Superkings side. Neil Winchester top scored with 22 as Park were bowled out for 116 batting first. The Superkings then reached their victory target with seven wickets to spare. Tim Williams’ side host Formby at Cannon Hill this weekend.

Image: Birkenhead News

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