Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News

Weather dampens Widnes spirits in Oulton draw


FOR the second week in succession the weather intervened in what was developing into a very evenly fought match.

Oulton’s innings was severely curtailed by rain, which prompted the umpires to leave the field, which meant that only 21 overs were available for their reply.

With the light fading, chasing

159 for victory, a sustained Oulton run chase was never on the cards.

The resulting draw left Oulton in 4th position in the league, but with Widnes earning additional batting points, they were able to leap frog last week’s opponents

Alderley Edge into fifth place – their highest league placing of the season.

Oulton won the toss and decided to field first, anticipati­ng that the weather would intervene, and the second innings was likely to have a restricted number of overs to chase the required runs.

With regular opener Chris Kirby nursing a broken finger, Widnes made one change to their line up, with youngster Shashwat Rusia opening the batting after impressing in the second team.

Alongside Ali Chughtai, Rusia made a promising start and the score advanced to 30 before the more experience­d Chughtai was bowled by veteran Martyn East for 10.

Luke McCoy looked in good touch, but was caught and bowled by Newton for 11.

And when Majeed had a rush of blood with the sixth ball he faced, and was caught on the boundary, Widnes were 50 for four.

James McCoy looked to dominate the bowlers but was well caught in the covers for a duck and then

Rusia tried to pull Dufty once to often and was caught for 25.

Alex Hewitt joined Burns and got quickly into his stride.

Although Burns was stumped off the bowling of Newton for 25, Hewitt managed to get some momentum into the Widnes innings.

With older brother Ben playing a supporting role, Alex smashed two mighty sixes into Moon Meadow and brought up his 50 in just 43 balls.

Having managed to get the Widnes total up to a more respectabl­e 131, Hewitt was caught off the bowling of Dufty.

With rain forcing play to be suspended, the Widnes innings was reduced to 38 overs instead of the regular 55 and it was left to the big hitting Qamar Hafiz to hit a rapid 17 with a 6 and two 4s – 158 was a reasonable total and much better than could have been expected when Widnes had lost six wickets for just 86.

Oulton Park made a steady start in response, although they had a reduced number of overs to achieve their target.

However, the rain intervened again and a further 17 overs were lost to the weather, reducing the overs available to just

21 instead of the revised total of 38 overs – which Widnes had enjoyed.

When Ben Hewitt claimed the early wicket of Robinson and keeper Sehmi was smartly stumped by Burns for 9, much of the wind was taken from the Oulton run chase sails.

East and Begg made 19 and 14 respective­ly, before becoming the second and third victims for Majeed.

Only Jimmy O’Sullivan came to grips with the Widnes bowling, making a good 50, ably supported by the ever green Danny Leech.

With the Oulton batters playing out the final overs in relative comfort, the match limped to a draw with the total on 118 for four wickets .

After the match, captain Tom Evans was disappoint­ed that the weather had caused too many overs to be lost and denied both sides a possible victory.

Oulton skipper East may have had cause for greater disappoint­ment as his side originally had 38 overs to score 159, before the rain came during his teams innings.

Could Widnes have bowled out Oulton in that time?

Unfortunat­ely the weather had the final word.

Evans was pleased with the debut of Shash Rusia, who is one of a number of second team players looking to force themselves into the first team.

The second XI won again at Neston, chasing down 190 for victory. Captain Steve Dean paid tribute to stalwart Phil Catterall and Dan Wearden who scored 56 and 69 respective­ly.

This Saturday, the first team are away to Toft.

The Knutsford-based side are looking to end a run of four defeats in their last five matches.

Bramhall are the second team’s opponents at Beaconsfie­ld Road and victory will put pressure on league leaders Didsbury for promotion to the first division.

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