Picture: NEIL CROSS
Only seven matches remain in the Liverpool Cricket Competition premier division but any hopes of a local St Helens club lifting the coveted title are receding fast.
Newton-le-Willows and Rainhill - fourth and eighth in the table respectively - failed to make ground on the leaders Wallasey and other front runners after a poor points return on Saturday.
It went badly wrong for Newton-le-Willows who toppled to 89 run home defeat against struggling Birkenhead Park The Wirral outfit batted first and posted a total of 227- 4 declared, in which Abdullah blasted 79 not out and Foster 62.
It proved way out of Newton’s reach - the Crow Lane East side crumbling to 131 all out (Hughes 33).
Rainhill fared a little better by earning a draw against bottom of the table Southport and Birkdale at Trafalgar Road where the hosts, taking first knock, rattled-up a total of 220-3 declared (Whitehead 90 and Stanley 61).
In response, the Merseysiders were far from over-awed and managed to reach 188-7 when stumps were drawn.
Several batsmen, including Edmondson (57), Kershaw (38), Kelly (30 n.o.), McGladdery ( 24) and Higham (22), all made solid contributions but they were unable to steer Rainhill across the winning line.
Rainford kept their promotion hope alive following a 32 run first division victory at Ainsdale. Not for the first time this season all-rounder Dotters had a massive impact with both bat and ball.
He made 37 as RaInford reached 152 all out and then grabbed 4-30 to ensure the hosts’ innings ended on 120.
In division two, third-placed St Helens Town are coming up on the rails and now genuine promotion contenders. Their latest win came at Wavertree where they romped to an emphatic 118 run triumph.
Batting first, St Helens amassed a total of 221-4 declared including a century stand from openers Donnelly (42) and Roberts (66) and excellent support by Black (51) and Whipps (43) and then dismissed the home team for 103 (Griffiths 6-35, Rajendran 3-40).
Neither can fifth-placed neighbours Sutton be ruled out in the fight for promotions after a nerve-tingling one run victory over Norley Hall.
The Wiganers, who batted first, hammered 215 (Oldfield 4-49, Scott 2-48, Brown 2-56, Greener 1-15, Corrigan 1-32) and in reply the New Street boys reached their target thanks to the sterling effort of York (62), Brown (43), 0nion (37) and Noctor (27).