Harrison earns draw in Wales

Rainhill share the spoils at Colwyn Bay

Colwyn Bay 284-5 (Evan Withe 93, Usama Mir 49; Jack Lowrie 3-49)

Rainhill 209-9 (Billy Godleman 55, Jamie Harrison 33*; Usama Mir 5-67)

Rainhill (6 pts) drew with Colwyn Bay (9 pts)nnScorecard

Rainhill returned from their visit to North Wales with a hard-earned draw – thanks in no small part to the efforts of Jamie Harrison (pictured).

Having beaten the same opponents in the Ray Digman Trophy last Saturday, Rainhill were confident of a result.  However, Colwyn Bay proved a different proposition and – when put in to bat by the visitors – made the most of the opportunity on an excellent pitch with a lightning fast outfield.  On the hottest day of the season so far Rainhill were made to sweat by the Welshmen.
The hosts’ opening partnership of Zack Gidlow and 17 year old Evan Withe added 97 for the first wicket. Jack Lowrie made the breakthrough when he bowled Gidlow for 28, but the runs continued to flow and Rainhill struggled to find answers to Withe’s measured strokeplay.  The teenager was eventually out for 93, his highest score in Premier League competition. Usama Mir, a Pakistan ODI international who had featured in Worcestershire’s Vitality Blast win over Yorkshire the previous night, made a rapid 49 from 28 balls as Colwyn Bay declared on 284 for 5 taking maximum batting points. nnJack Lowrie prevented Withe and Mir’s respective century and half century and looked dangerous throughout, taking 3 for 49 from 12 overs.

Ross Higham and Billy Godleman made a confident start to Rainhill’s innings with a series of fluent fours before the first wicket fell at 34. Higham was the first out, presenting a catch to Will Higginson off the bowling of Mir. The Pakistan leg spinner tormented Rainhill’s top order and picked up the wicket of Rob McKeown (15) before Adam Campion trapped James Clarke lbw for 4. Godleman, who had hit a couple of fantastic sixes, became more circumspect as wickets fell but was able to briefly mount a revival with Khalid Usman as the pair moved the score on to 127 before Usman fell, lbw, to Paul Jenkins for 26. Godleman’s colourful resistance was over shortly afterwards when he was out to Mir – also lbw – for 55.

At this stage, with the score at 135 for 5, a defeat looked the most likely result.  However, Sam Williamson (11 from 35 balls) and captain Paul Ford (12 from 47) offered determined resistance.  However, the star of the rearguard was Jamie Harrison who made a super unbeaten 33 from 47 balls that was a mixture of classical defence and big hitting.  Harrison hit three huge mid-wicket sixes en route to his highest league score for the club.

What Harrison could not do was prevent wickets falling around him and, after Ford’s stand ended Rainhill endured a nervous final few overs. Mir claimed the wickets of Simon Brown (2) and Jack Lowrie (0) to leave Rainhill nine wickets down.  Mir, with five wickets already to his name, bowled the final over of the match.  Liam O’Toole confidently played out the first three balls and took a single from the fourth, leaving Harrison to block the last two balls with impressive composure.

Rainhill captain Paul Ford was pleased by the resolve shown by his batsmen particularly as 23 overs of leg spin had been bowled by an international class player.

Umpires: Peter Haslam, Phil Luxon

Scorers: David Parry, Andrew Finney

Match ball sponsor: Black Swan Tax Advisors

Many thanks to Peter Mercer for assistance with the match report.