The Birkenhead Park Cricket Club first team succumbed to a 122-run defeat to Wallasey on Saturday after a brilliant all-round performance from their Indian overseas Sumit Ruikar.
Park came into the clash full of confidence, following last weeks dominant win over champions Northern and were put in the field on a sun-soaked afternoon at The Oval.
Opening pair Dan Beaver and Jamie Crawley found the boundary early on and put 39 on for the first wicket before a sharp diving catch by Mark Rowland at slip bought an end to Beaver’s stay at the crease for 24, off the bowling of Ahmad Safi Abdullah.
The 1s didn’t have to wait long for the next breakthrough as former Park captain Chris Davies edged behind to Steve Hird to give Alex Harris his first wicket of the day, leaving the score at 44 for 2.
Alex Eagles joined Crawley and the pair put on 59 for the third wicket to ease the pressure for the hosts, before the latter found the safe hands of Sam Beadsworth at long-on off the bowling of Khalid Wahbi for 46.
Ruikar and Eagles then produced another fruitful partnership for the league leaders to take the score past 150. However, Harris, back on for his second spell, broke through Eagles’ defence for 45, with a perfect yorker as Park tried to wrestle back control of the contest.
Ruikar, now batting with Wallasey skipper Greg Beaver, reached a half century as the home side accelerated the scoring before declaring on 243 for 4; Ruikar finishing 78 not out (64 balls, ten 4s, one 6) and Beaver 40 not out. Harris finished the standout bowler for Park, with 2 for 60 from 15 overs.
In reply, Park started strongly with Rowland and Mike Barnes quickly reaching 32 before the latter was stumped off Ruikar, by Jack Leckey for 11.
This bought two more quick wickets as captain Tom Foster and Harris fell in quick succession off Ruikar and Chris Bourne respectively, leaving the score 33-3.
Rowland wasn’t troubled by the loss of wickets at the other end and smashed three sixes to get Park past the 50-mark. However, the 1s were pegged back again as Beadsworth was given out LBW off Ruikar.
After a quick-fire 35, the dangerous Rowland swept hard to Josh Rylance at square leg and was followed shortly after by Chris Parker, as Ruikar picked up his fifth wicket of the day.
Safi then went on the counter attack and hit a series of maximums to provide some stern resistance for Park as the score accelerated past 100. Following the wicket of Wahbi off Ruikar, Abdullah reached his first half century of the season.
However, the introduction of Andrew Beaver into the attack bought an end to Abdullah’s fightback, leaving Park eight down.
Ruikar’s seventh wicket of the day and then some lightning glovework from Leckey off Beaver wrapped up the win for Wallasey to give them their fourth straight win this season.
The 1s will look for a response this Thursday as they meet Liverpool in the Liverpool Echo T20 competition before welcoming Ormskirk to Park Drive next weekend.
In the weekends’ other fixtures, the 2s recorded an impressive 88-run victory over Wallasey 2s, with unbeaten half centuries from captain Danny Jordan (82 not out, 87 balls, ten 4s) and Charlie Jones (52 not out, 64 balls, five 4s, one 6).
This helped Park reach 229 for 4 before Jordan took three wickets to cap off an impressive individual and team performance, as the rest of the wickets were shared around the bowlers. Wallasey 2s falling to 141 all out.
The 3s also were victorious over Wallasey 3s on Saturday with a 29-run win, which takes them to second in the table. 55 from David Smith and 40 from keeper Jake Hubble helped Park to 177 for 6 declared, before six wickets from left-arm seamer Jahanghir Shah helped bowl Wallasey out for 148.
The fourth eleven unfortunately were defeated by eight wickets against South Liverpool on Saturday. Miles Lambert’s men were dismissed for 114 before South Liverpool reached 117 for 2 in reply.
The 2s make the trip to Sefton Park this Saturday and the 3s to Merseyside Sports and Cultural Club in a bid to build on their outstanding performances from last weekend.