Birkenhead Park CC 1st XI have made it six wins in a row as they won the third match of their cup triple-header on Sunday against Bowden, thanks to 80 from Mark Rowland and 45 not out off 37 balls from captain Stephen Hird, to see his side home in a nail-biting final over.
Skipper Hird won the toss and elected to bowl first on a sun-soaked Sunday at Park Drive in the Cheshire Cup.
Park got off to a flier as overseas Satyjeet Bachhav and Alex Baker dismissed both openers in consecutive overs to leave Bowden struggling at 9 for 2 in the fifth over. Bachhav deceived John Sanders to have him stumped by Hird before Baker found the shoulder of Jack Tipton’s bat, as he was caught at second slip by Jack Dixon.
Bowden pair Ross Zelem and Rob Lord then rebuilt the innings and set a platform, with a 107-run partnership for the third wicket. Lord, the aggressor of the two, eventually fell for a well-made 63 (73 balls, 9 fours) after sharp glovework from Hird saw him leave his back foot on the line and stumped off the bowling of Bachhav.
Zelem passed a fifty of his own and combined with Lewis Jackson for another productive stand of 76 runs for the visitors. As Bowden looked for quick runs in the last 10 overs to reach 250, Dixon picked up the wicket of Zelem, who was caught by Mike Barnes at short fine-leg for 73 (85 balls, 3 fours, 3 sixes) to leave the score 192 for 4.
Park continued to pick up wickets at the back of the innings, with Alex Harris taking two wickets, including that of Jackson for 31. Another wicket for Dixon saw the score move to 219 for 7. This was the last of the wickets as Bowden managed to reach 231 as they came to the end of their 40 overs, which was a competitive score following Park’s early breakthroughs.
Bachhav was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 8 overs, 2 maidens, 2 wickets for 17 runs, as Park remained confident of victory, following their success last season chasing in reaching the final of the Cheshire Cup.
In reply, Rowland got off to a quick start hitting early boundaries in the powerplay. However, Park were pegged back at the other end by three early wickets, including the big wicket of Bachhav, who was caught at mid-wicket, to leave the score 41 for 3.
Rowland continued on his way and now joined by Barnes, who together posted the first 50-run stand to take the score past 100 and Rowland past a well-deserved half century. Barnes, who looked in good form for his 20, was unfortunately run out by Zelem to leave the score 100 for 4.
New man in, Sam Beadsworth, continued to help move the score on at a quick rate, as him and Rowland took the score up to 134, before Bowden picked up the key wicket of the Park opener, who was caught at cover by James Bottomley for a brilliant 80 (85 balls, 11 fours 1 six). Beadsworth well placed on 26, then fell shortly after to leave the game in the balance at 156 for 6.
Despite a monstrous Harris six onto the pavilion, Bowden picked up two more quick wickets to put themselves in control of the game at 180 for 8, with Park needing 52 runs off just six overs.
Skipper Hird, already 10 not out, was joined by Baker and the pair began to put their foot on the gas as both took boundaries off the next over from Lord including a glorious cover drive from Baker.
Hird continued to keep Park up with the rate as he advanced to Lord and crunched him over mid-off. Tensions began to rise as the pair continued to bring down the runs required.
In a real captain’s innings, Hird managed to direct Park to the last over with Park needing 7 to win. He and Baker stayed calm and rotated the strike before Hird beat the infield once again and came back for two to give his side a memorable two-wicket victory. Hird finished 45 not out from 37 balls alongside Baker, who played a brilliant hand with 13 not out from 15 balls in an unbeaten 52-run partnership.
Hird’s brilliance to control the run chase and get his side home, accompanied by Rowland’s imperious 80, had earned Park the victory from a position where the odds were against them. Park will host Cheshire Premier League side Brooklands in the next round of the Cheshire Cup as Park continue to fight on all 5 fronts.
Park started the weekend on Friday night with a 20-run victory away at Liverpool, in the preliminary round of the Liverpool Echo T20 Knockout. Batting first the 1s posted 117 for 5 on a used wicket at Aigburth, with 28 for Rowland and 26 not out from Harris.
Then in an excellent all-round bowling and fielding display from Park, they restricted Liverpool to just 97 for 8 in the run chase. Khalid Wahbi and Louie Evans were the standouts with figures of 3 for 13 and 2 for 13 from their 4 overs respectively. Up next in the first round proper will be a home tie against Wavertree.
The second leg of the triple-header saw a trip to Newton-le-Willows in the first round of the Ray-Digman Trophy for Hird’s men. Bowling first, Park dismissed the home side for just 113 with three wickets apiece for Harris and David Nevin, as well as impressive figures of 2 for 12 off 9 overs from Bachhav.
In reply, Park came away with a six-wicket victory with Bachhav top scoring with 45 not out. The next round will see Park make the journey to premier league side Rainford.
The 2nd XI came out on top over Wirral rivals New Brighton in the first round of the Chester Cup on Saturday. 52 from Charlie Jones, 44 from skipper Danny Jordan and 30s from Tom Black and Jack Lambert helped Park post 223 for 6 from their 45 overs.
The 2s then dismissed New Brighton for 167 in a brilliant team display in the field, with wickets shared around the bowlers. Next up for the 2s is Liverpool in the next round.
The 3rd XI were unfortunately defeated by Northern 3rd XI on Saturday at Moor Park. A pair of 57s from Duncan Meehan and Delwar Hossain alongside 44 by Mason Cockcroft led Park to 193 for 6 declared. A strong Northern side then chased the runs down for the loss of 3 wickets. Next up for Tim William’s side is a home game against local rivals Wallasey.
The 4th XI also came second in a fighting performance against Sefton Park 4th XI. Ellis Cranham’s 50 and 37 from Kanad Nikam helped the 4s post 151 for 9 from 45 overs. Sefton then reached the victory target 4 wickets down, despite 2 for 28 from Nikam. Miles Lambert’s side travel to Maghull next weekend.
Image: Birkenhead News