First Division - Ellis 167 not out on début gives newcomers win at Wigan
Saturday 14th April 2007

The match at Bull Hey gave a unique instance of brothers captaining opposing teams. Rainhill, promoted from the Merseyside Alliance, made a sparkling introduction to Competition cricket with a five wicket triumph at Wigan – but it all fell apart when it was discovered they had fielded an unregistered player. As a result, they have lost the 22 pts they earned, been deducted a further 10 as a penalty and fined £25.00. Home skipper Andy Ford (120, 15x4s, 1x6) and New Zealander Aaron Redmond (50, 7x4s, 1x6) shared a second wicket stand of 148 and dominated a total of 248-5d (53 overs), but another New Zealander, Andrew Ellis, trumped that with 167* (16x4s, 7x6s). He shared a fourth wicket stand of 132 with his captain Paul Ford (34) and made light of the task of chasing the total, finishing the match at 250-5 (51.5 overs) with three successive sixes off Redmond.

Relegated Sefton Park’s return to life in the First Division was hardly an auspicious one. They did the first half of their job at home extremely well, dismissing Ainsdale for 102 in 33.3 overs after putting them in, Dave Poskitt (4-30) and David Baird (3-21) doing the damage. The visitors fought back well to skittle them for 92 in 47.3 overs with Otago bowler Craig Smith taking 4-24 and Bhautik Shukla 4-21 on his Ainsdale début.

Newton le Willows opened spectacularly at home, Ian Lyon and débutant Mark de Brabander both plundering centuries in the 84 run win over Southport Trinity. Lyon (103*, 128 balls, 13x4s, 3x6s) and de Brabander (100, 98 balls, 16x4s) shared a stand of 155 for the third wicket out of 269-3d from 54.2 overs. West Indian Dwight Mais led a recovery from 39-5 with an exciting 95 (6x4s, 9x6s), but Trinity’s response foundered on Mike Walkden’s controlled 6-89 and they ended on 185 all out after 39.2 overs.

The other new side, Wavertree, put up a valiant show at Aigburth, but opener Andrew Rogers starred with an unbeaten 110 (160 balls, 11x4s) to set Liverpool up for victory. Rogers and James Titmuss (58) put on 132 for the second wicket in their 221-5d (50.5 overs). Phil Heath (59) was the mainstay of the reply, which was curtailed to 167 in 50.2 overs, Ikram-ul-Haq Malik taking 3-23.

St Helens’ fine recovery from 35-4 set up a win at Prestatyn, thanks to the input of former Warwickshire and Derbyshire player, Mohammed Sheikh. He hit 9x4s in his 105* as the visitors made 231-7d thanks to a 127 run stand for the fifth wicket with Adam Friar (53). Prestatyn’s batting suffered as Sheikh's spell of 6-39 kept them to 155 (Danny Thomas 44).

New Orrell Red Triangle captain Phil Unsworth took 5-10 off 11.4 overs to help dismiss neighbours Highfield for 127 (42.4) in the derby at Billinge Road after putting them in, Mike Gaskell making 40. Richard Smith (54*) and former East Lancashire batsman, Paul Turner (43) secured a seven wicket win in 24.3 overs.

Northop Hall hope to make a greater impact this season and they started with a 50 run success at Formby. Dave Kennedy top scored with 70 for the Welsh side, who made 210 (53.4 overs), despite John Taylor’s fine 5-73. Ata-ur-Rehman undermined the reply with 5-69 in the home side’s 160 (Stephen O’Keeffe 46, Stuart Reading 45, Taylor 33).