First Division - Jenkins' nine takes Recs to second as top two draw
Saturday 27th August 2005

Mark Jenkins gave the performance of his life to preserve St Helens Recs' promotion push. The 27 year old medium pacer ripped the heart out of Liverpool's batting with a breathtaking 9 wickets only two hours after saving his side from a batting disaster.

Jenkins, in only his first full season in First Division, missed the whole of 2004 with a shoulder injury. His impact with the ball this season had been steady rather than spectacular, but the former 2nd XI captain, nicknamed the 'Rolls Royce' for his perfect action after a lengthy run up, gave a vintage show just when it mattered.

"I gained motivation from putting the ball in the right place and the pitch did the rest," was his modest response to achieving 9-40 off 12.4 overs.

"I only had 20 wickets before this, including four against Formby, and I did not get a wicket in the first five games despite opening the bowling. I got one in the next and it was a massive relief, but it has been a big transition from second team cricket.

"There wasn't a chance of a 10 for today as Garve (Steve Garvey) chipped in after I'd taken four", Jenkins added.

Ironically, his top score of 26* batting at nine, along with Mark Malone's 18, proved crucial as Recs, tottering on 13-5, recovered to 99 (35.1 overs) after winning the toss. Jimmy Titmuss (5-28) and Daniel Jackson (4-27) did the damage. But hero Jenkins was devastating as Liverpool were destroyed for just 73 after 25.4 overs.

In contrast, Newton le Willows' promotion bid suffered a major setback at Southport and Birkdale, where spinner Nilesh Kulkarni proved almost unplayable. His superb 8-32 ripped the visitors out for 104 (Shiv Das 48) after losing the toss and the home side, in trouble at 37-5, then eased home at 107-5 (36.2 overs) thanks to Ather Abid's 52* and Kulkarni (17*).

Kiran Powar's all round show ensured Maghull retained their leadership in a top of the table draw at Colwyn Bay.  After sharing a stand of 108 for the third wicket with captain Niall McDonnell (66), Powar went on to make 81* in the visitors' 257-9d. Bay skipper Paul Jenkins' spin produced 6-56.

The Welsh side replied confidently with 76 off the first 10 overs, but Powar's 5-65 and Liam Crilly's 3-80 restricted them to 214-8 (48 overs), with Patrick Leach (45), Sion Morris (44) and Brian Williams (44) the pick of the batting.

Formby remain on the heels of the leaders after beating Orrell Red Triangle at Cricket Path. After losing the toss, the promotion hopefuls amassed 181 after 48.5 overs, with Darren Barton (71), Dave Hadden (45) and Adam Phillips (34) the top scorers. The home side had been 119-7 before Barton was last out after adding 20 for the last wicket with Tony Rogan (0*).

Adam Taig, who took had taken 6-50 in Formby's innings, also hit 48 for Orrell, who were dismissed for 134 (39.2 overs). Jack Woosey enjoyed fine figures of 5-25 and Steve Dutton 3-35.

Ainsdale's splendid chase earned reward at Highfield with a five wicket victory, thanks to fine knocks by Malcolm Swift (59) and Rakesh Patel (53*) out of 222-5 (40.4 overs), Simon Mollitt 3-43. Earlier, Tariq-ur-Rehman's 82*, aided by Mike Farrell's 51, lifted the home side to 220-5d after 45 overs.

Wigan's survival hopes were boosted as they hammered bottom club Caldy by eight wickets. Mark Shorrocks (4-42) and Ashraf Rana (4-19) skittled the Wirral side for 98 (39 overs). Former captains Sean Casham (31*) and Joe Taylor (34) led Wigan home.

In a match starting an hour late because of the weather, Mark Potter's excellent 102* (13x4s, 4x6s) could not spark a win for St Helens at Worsley. He shared an undefeated sixth wicket stand of 106 with Neil Woods (24*) in a total of 203-5d. The home side ended on 119-6 after 41 overs (Andy Hayhurst 59*), Pandey taking 3-42.