An outstanding 71 from Jack Dixon wasn’t enough for Birkenhead Park CC 1st XI, as they succumbed to Sefton Park by 34 runs on Saturday.
The hosts won the toss and elected to bat first on an overcast lunchtime in Sefton. It took Park till the the ninth over for their first break through, as ex-Park man Chris Bellis was well caught at slip by Mark Rowland off the bowling of Alex Baker for 12. The score 22 for 1.
Sefton then laid the foundations in their innings, as Benjamin Percival and Kaash Patel combined to add 76 runs for the second wicket. Khalid Wahbi provided the much needed break through for Park, as Patel found Alex Harris at mid-off for 46. The visitors now looked to be back in the game, as five overs later Percival’s innings of 36 was bought to an end by Satyajeet Bachhav, after the left arm spinner had the Sefton opening batsman trapped in front. The score now 110 for 3.
However the home skipper Paul Horton and Huzaifa Zubair put Sefton back in control of proceedings with a stand of 98 for the third wicket. The ex-Lancashire and Leicestershire batsman Horton passing a hard fought fifty in the process.
Having batted past 55 overs, the pair now looked to set up a declaration for their side Horton was bowled by Harris for 66 (91 balls, 9 fours, 1 six). The next over, Zubair fell to a spectacular direct hit from the boundary by Chris Benjamin, for 40, which left Sefton 209 for 5. A few quick runs later, Horton called time on his teams innings with the score on 215. Despite not taking the wickets they would’ve liked, Park weren’t discouraged, as Sefton never took the game away from them, and a more than achievable target was on offer for victory.
Matty Langford got Park off to a flier as he crashed 5 boundaries within the the first 4 overs. He reached a quick fire 25 before James Dixon got a ball to shoot through and dismiss Langford, with Park 27-1.
Rowland and Jack Dixon took the score past 50 before Dixon (James) trapped Rowland in front for 17 to leave Park 58 for 2.
Park’s Dixon and Warwickshire batsman Benjamin began to score freely as the pair struck regular boundaries in a highly profitable partnership of 67 for Park, that set them well on their way. In the process Dixon bought up a well deserved half century and Park had their sights set on victory heading into the last hour.
Benjamin then fell for 38, whilst Dixon continued to motor, as a straight six helped take the required runs for victory to below 100.
With 16 overs to go the game turned, as Dixon fell to Abishek Jagan for a superb 71 (10 fours, 1 six), Park now 150 for 4. Sefton sniffed an opportunity to get back into the game, as they continued to pick up quick wickets with time running out in the day.
A collapse from Park in the last hour saw them lose their last seven wickets for 31 runs and ultimately be dismissed for 181, as Sefton claimed victory and 19 points. Daniel Kelly and Zubair claiming 3 wickets apiece. Park will look to bounce back next week as they take on St. Helens Town at Park Drive.
Sam Beadsworth helped the 2nd XI to a 6 wicket victory on Saturday, as his unbeaten 79 (99 balls, 9 fours) helped the hosts chase 176 against Sefton Park 2nd XI
3 for 35 from Louie Evans and two wickets a piece from skipper Danny Jordan and Craig Reid restricted Sefton to 176 for 9 declared off 45 overs.
Beadsworth’s match winning knock was well supported by 31s from Reid and Charlie Jones as the 2s made light work of the chase and claimed 24 points. Next up is a trip to Colwyn Bay on Saturday for Park.
The 3s also claimed their first win of the league season as they toppled Formby 3rd XI by 52 runs on Cannon Hill.
An opening stand of 169, including 93 from Jack Lambert (108 balls, 5 fours) and 68 from Duncan Meehan (3 fours 1 six) helped Park amass 235 for 5 declared from 35 overs.
Jahanghir Shah was the pick of the bowlers for the 3s, with 4 for 32, as Park bowled Formby out for 183 to pick up the full 25 points. Next up for Tim Williams’ side is a trip to Moor Park to face Northern 3rd XI.
Image: Birkenhead News