Birkenhead Park Cricket Club Season Review 2012

“Oh Birkenhead! (oh Birkenhead!), is wonderful….”

Top (from left): C. Kell (Scorer), C. Reid, I. Cooper, D. Jordan, H. Khan, K. Wahbi, A. Liu
Bottom (from left): J. Crofton, S. Tuohey, C. Stenhouse (C), I. Platt, D. Adkins (WK), Raz
(Missing): M. Howard


For most delusional people, 2012 was seen as the year that the world would apparently end (especially if you saw the blockbuster film from 2008!).

However, those involved with Birkenhead Park Cricket Club would beg to differ as the result of this incredible season proved. As a scorer of this great club since 2005, I admit it had been frustrating to watch some of the games where Park’s 1st (and 2nd) team had struggled for form during those last few seasons. Relegation one minute, survival the next, then back to relegation, things went completely rock bottom for the club when the 1s were condemned to life in the Meller Braggins Cheshire League (the Saturday cricket equivalent to the Conference!) back in 2010.

Those who expected that league to be a walkover were left dumbfounded as the 1s found themselves second from bottom half-way in the season. But during this difficult period, some good news came our way when the club announced that they had applied to return to their former home, the Liverpool District Cricket Competition. This allowed the team to gain more momentum as the season went on. Skipper Chris Stenhouse tormented many batsmen with the ball and finished with 70 wickets as they finished a credited 6th in their final campaign in Cheshire.

As 2012 came round, it was clear that there was a lot of buzz surrounding the club’s return to the Comp with the 1s getting the chance to play more local cricket against the likes of Caldy, Parkfield Liscard and of course, their close neighbours Birkenhead St Marys. But for Stenhouse, it was all about merging a great team together and looking to reclaim the fighting spirit that had made the club a force back in the day. As this season would prove, the objective of just settling back in was achieved much quickly then most people had anticipated and as a result, it became one of the most successful seasons in the club’s history….

This special review will look back on the 1st team’s magnificent title-winning season with brief match-by-match reports concentrating sorely on the 20 games which defined our year.


Led by the bowling machine that is Chris Stenhouse and relying on a mixture of experience (Ian Cooper, Jon Crofton, Ian Platt), youth (Khalid Wahbi, Sean Tuohey, Matty Howard) and fresh faces (Haroon Khan and Daniel ‘Chip’ Adkins), Park’s 1st team settled back home in style….


Before their league season began, Park faced the unusual task of competing in the Ray Dignam Knockout trophy over the course of three weeks for which they would compete in a group of four.

All three opponents were higher-league teams who Park had encountered during their previous stint in the Comp. It proved a tough start for them as they slumped to a disappointing home defeat to Newton-Le-Willows in a low scoring match which the away side sneaked home by three wickets.

The following week, they travelled to Hightown but the batting let them down again as they struggled to 134 with Stenny top-scoring with 39. They ended up losing by five wickets with the day made worse by the skipper’s car failing to start and leading to several players staying back to help.

Already unable to qualify for the next round, Park managed to claim a consolation win at home to old adversaries Sefton Park with the batting being restricted to the 120ish score. But solid bowling from Haroon and left-arm spinner Alistair Cairns proved pivotal as Sefton eventually went down by two runs in a thrilling finish. It was the closest 1st team win I had scored so far!

Though the build-up was mixed, that win was enough to show that Park were back and determined to stamp their authority on the Second Division….


#1 – PRESTATYN (H) – 5/5/2012 – DRAW

PRESTAYN: 251-5 (55 overs)
BIRK PARK: 115-7 (50 overs)

It looked like a case of deja-vu for Park as they conceded over 200 runs in their opening match at home to relegated Division One side Prestatyn echoing a similar situation last season when they entertained Weaverham.

Stenny took the first of his many wickets this season as he dismissed Gareth Boughey via a catch from Adam Liu. However the early momentum was quashed by the Welsh side’s deadly South-African all-rounder Warren Groeneveld. He smashed an exquisite 112 while young batsman Danny Davies hit an unbeaten 74 to leave Park’s bowling attack looking tame as they made 251 for 5. Sri-Lankan newcomer Deshan Wijesekera endured a forgettable debut going for 32 runs off 5 overs in what ended up being his only game for the club as a finger injury ruled him out for the remainder.

Like last season’s opening game, Park got off to a bad start with the bat as the out-of-form Liuy was dismissed for a golden duck. Haroon played some nice shots as he made it into the 30s but the sublime Groeneveld tore into Park’s batting attack finishing with incredible figures of 16 overs, 13 maidens, 8 runs, 5 wickets. But with the score at 75 for 7, veteran batsman Ian Platt and young Khalid Wahbi held out for 20 long overs to finish on 115 for 7 and earn the Wirral club a stale draw.



#2 – WAVERTREE (A) – 12/5/2012 – PARK WIN BY 3 WICKETS

WAVERTREE: 133 (43.3 overs)
BIRK PARK: 136-7 (41.4 overs)

It only took Park until week two to get things up and running as they survived a mid-order collapse to edge past former opponents Wavertree by three wickets.

Stenny showcased his talents to the Comp as a predatory bowler by taking a stunning six wicket haul with his first coming from an incredible slip-catch from the athletic Adam Liu. Aided by a couple of well-taken run-outs, 133 was seen as a winnable target but despite losing Ian Cooper cheaply, Matty Howard and Haroon put on an effective 61 runs partnership to lead Park on course for victory.

But once the pair got out, things fell apart as Jon Crofton, Matty Langford, Chip and Platty were all dismissed to leave Park in a vulnerable position at 95 for 7. Thankfully, Stenny and the out-of-form Liuy put on 40 runs to win the game and claim the first of our twelve wins…..




BIRKHEAD PARK: 130 (47.3 overs)
SKELMERSDALE: 131-6 (35 overs)

After being knocked out of the Cheshire Cup by Warrington the previous week, Park slumped to another away defeat at early pace-setters Skelmersdale by four wickets.

The two previous Young Player of the Year winners Craig Reid and Sean Tuohey were both drafted into the side but Park’s batting faltered again on a wet outfield. As with the Wavertree game, Stenny and Liuy led the revival with decent knocks as the team were bowled out for 130.

Skem struggled at first but their excellent pro Sunny Gandhi (who hit a century last time Park came up against him) produced a clinical 56 to lead his team on their way. Despite a brief stumble at the end, the hosts crept home to leave Park in a mixed position. Little did we know that it would be almost three months before the 1s would taste defeat again….



#4 – SUTTON (H) – 26/5/2012 – PARK WIN BY 77 RUNS

BP PARK: 195-8 (55 overs)
SUTTON: 118 (36.2 overs)

On a hot and glorious day, Park secured their second win of the season (their first at home) thanks to a comprehensive win over Sutton.

A good toss to win, things weren’t looking great at one stage as they struggled to 105 for 7 with Reidy and Platty being dismissed for first ball ducks. But Haroon produced his best innings of the season so far with a solid 79 while Liuy made an effective 45 not out to guide Park to 195 for 8.

After the first over, Sutton were already two down after Stenny claimed a couple of wickets (his second coming from a terrific catch from Khalid). The away side tried to claw their way back into the game but Haroon then took centre stage as he completed an excellent all-round performance with a five wicket haul to help Park to a 77 run win and move them up to third.



#5 – CALDY (A) – 2/6/2012 – PARK WIN BY 148 RUNS

BP PARK: 222-7 (55 overs)
CALDY: 74 (25.3 overs)

The first of two bank holiday weekends during the season began with Park producing one of their best all-round victories in a long time as they annihilated Caldy to keep themselves in the top three.

Despite losing openers David Gain and Muzza cheaply, they relied on former Caldy man Haroon to do the damage as he and young batsman Craig Reid put on 111 for the third wicket. Haroon eventually fell just short of his first Park century with 93 while Reidy made amends for his first ball duck in the previous match by making an effective 40. Stenny and Liuy contributed decent scores to help Park declare on 222 for 7.

Sten then destroyed Caldy with his vicious bowling as he claimed the second eight-wicket haul of his career (8 for 40 off 13 overs) to help bowl the home side out for a woeful 74; a win that was rounded off by a clumsy run out. A sublime performance that showed how merciless Park could be.




OLD XAVS: 130 (48.4 overs)
BIRK PARK: 135-7 (48.2 overs)

Part two of Bank Holiday weekend saw Park entertain the bottom club Old Xaverians who proved a far tougher opposition than expected.

Young left-arm seamer Sean Tuohey and the in-form Haroon overshadowed Stenny with the ball as they took four wickets each to restrict Xavs to 130 all out.

However, the away side’s bowling attack left Park in a tough position as they found themselves 44 for 5 and then 78 for 6. Liuy held things together with a settled 28 though after Tuohey had been run out, Park still needed less than 40 runs to win the game. Step fourth Khalid who shrugged off the Xavs bowling attack as he and Liuy put on the runs needed to secure victory. The young batsman ensured the win in style with a straight six that helped Park into second place. It had been a long time since we had last got off to a flyer in a league season.



#7 – ST HELENS TOWN (A) – 9/6/2012 – CANCELLED

No play was possible in week seven as torrential rain meant that nearly every fixture in the Liverpool Comp was cancelled. However, it became a routine thing for St Helens as they had several home games called off throughout the season because of their poor wicket. The enemy awaited us the following week….



#8 – BIRKENHEAD ST MARYS (A) – 23/6/2012 – PARK WIN BY 95 RUNS

BIRKENHEAD PARK: 213-7 (55 overs)
BIRKENHEAD MARYS: 118 (33.3 overs)

One of the biggest games of the season for the 1st team saw them make the very short trip across the park to face their neighbours Birkenhead St Marys.

Benefiting from two free weekends, Park lost the out-of-form Matty Howard to an early run out but took control for the next forty overs as Coops and Haroon put on a superb 148 run partnership. Haroon smashed some emphatic sixes as he made it to 85 before eventually being dismissed. Coops regained some crucial form with a clinical 75 while Chip and Khal struck their own sixes later on to get Park to 213 for 7.

Tuohey made the early breakthrough before Sten claimed his 100th wicket as skipper thanks to a slip catch from Liuy. Despite the home side smashing some sixes of their own, Sten cleaned up the batsmen with a six wicket haul while ‘Muzza’ took three wickets to help Park to an emphatic (and very satisfying!) win.

At last, we were top of the league!



#9 – PARKFIELD LISCARD (H) – 30/6/2012 – DRAW

BIRKENHEAD PARK: 177-5 (52 overs)
PARKFIELD LISCARD: 106-7 (36 overs)

For the second week running, Park found themselves up against a much stronger fellow Wirral outfit in Parkfield Liscard. The poor weather frustrated both teams as the match was delayed for half an hour before play finally began.

Khal was moved up the order to open the batting in the absence of Muzza and showed his potential with a well-measured 30. Once again though it was Haroon who led the way with 49 before being cruelly run out by Parkfield bowler Matty Keogh. Reidy passed his previous best batting score making 48 not out with a sublime six off ex-Park bowler John Warrington being the last contribution to the innings.

With only 36 overs to play, Liscard held out until they lost a couple of wickets with their in-form batsman Kamran Hussain smashing 31 off 16 balls before being bowled by Stenny. With a few overs to go, Platty was brought on to tighten the bowling and ended up taking three wickets in a quality spell. However, Park were unable to force an unlikely victory as Liscard held out with three wickets in hand.

Coincidentally, both sides locked horns again in the Cheshire Shield the following day though this time around, Liscard bowled us out for just 53 to clinch a thumping 100 run win.



#10 – BURSCOUGH (A) – 7/7/2012 – PARK WIN BY 3 WICKETS

BURSCOUGH: 138-9 (53 overs)
BIRKEN PARK: 142-7 (41.2 overs)

Halfway in the season, Park kept their stranglehold on top spot thanks to another nervy win with the bat by three wickets at fellow promotion rivals Burscough.

A slow outfield enabled them to win the toss and put Burscough into bat and after restricting them to 8 for 2, things looked promising until a crucial 68 run partnership between Brendan Domigan and skipper Adam Waterhouse improved the score. Domigan was eventually dismissed by Stenny via a great catch from Reidy with the Park skipper then ripping through Burscough’s middle order as he bowled 27 overs unchanged to claim 8 for 56, the third 8ther of his career!

Again, 138 seemed a winnable target but the problematic batting continued to trouble Park after fine knocks from Haroon and Reidy had put them in a solid position. Eventually, Sten came in and struck a terrific boundary to sneak Park home and keep them top of the league!



#11 – SKELMERSDALE (H) – 21/7/2012 – PARK WIN BY 9 WICKETS

SKELMERSDALE: 111 (41.1 overs)
BIRKHEAD PARK: 113-1 (31 overs)

A free weekend off meant Park had dropped to second but the first of three successive home games saw them produce another great victory as they crushed promotion rivals Skem by nine wickets to exact revenge for their defeat earlier in the season.

They restricted the visitors to 43 for 3 with the big wicket of Sunny Gandhi coming off a fine delivery from Sten (who almost missed the game because of a shoulder problem!). However, their own skipper Ben Maddocks led a decent fightback as he made it into the 30s. But once the drinks break came, Skem capitulated as they lost seven wickets for just 21 runs courtesy of a fine spell from Muzza who finished with figures of 5 for 8 off 8 overs. Sten himself also ended up with another 5 wicket haul.

Park barely broke a sweat with the bat as Coops made an effective 50 with Haroon making quick runs to wrap up another key win.



#12 – WAVERTREE (H) – 28/7/2012 – PARK WIN BY 67 RUNS

BIRK PARK: 160-9 (50 overs)
WAVERTREE: 95 (33.5 overs)

Park faced their first test with the last 20 overs rule as their superb bowling attack helped them to a dramatic win over Wavertree at home.

The damp wicket made things tough when they were put in to bat as they lost Khal for a duck before Barbados all-rounder Randall Hoyte superbly bowled Haroon and Reidy cheaply. But Coops led the fightback with a dogged 45 and with Park looking to claim a third batting point, they relied on veteran Platty’s unbeaten 34 to help them reach their target of 160 before declaring.

The bowlers then went in for the kill as Sten and Tuohey tore into Wavertree’s batsmen with the young left-armer claiming the valuable wicket of Hoyte for a second ball duck. At 65 for 9, the away side held out for several overs before Tuohey clinched the final wicket with a spectacular caught and bowl to snatch victory for Park with three overs to spare. Both he and Stenny finished with four wickets each.



#13 – CALDY (H) – 4/8/2012 – PARK WIN BY 2 WICKETS

CALDY: 129 (51.3 overs)
BP PARK: 130-8 (40.5 overs)

What should have been the most routine of their three successive home matches almost turned into a shock defeat as Park sneaked a close victory to put them 30 points clear with a game in hand.

Caldy’s batting improved from the last encounter as an opening 50 run partnership from their Kiwi pro Jacob Crow and Paul Keaney frustrated Park until Sten eventually made the breakthrough. But the away side were still able to get past the 100 run mark as Sten (bowling 27 overs unchanged) and Muzza took four wickets each with Haroon getting the other two.

With Khalid away, Muzza returned to the top of the order but was dismissed for a nine ball duck and then much to the shock of nearly everyone, Haroon was brilliantly caught and bowled by Caldy skipper Rich Battersby for a second ball duck. With the score at 47 for 5, it was another nerve-wracking experience until Coops kept his composure with a defiant half century as Sten also contributed with 31. But despite a couple of late dismissals, Tuohey came in and made a valuable 10 not out to win the game for Park. That hat-trick of home wins seemed to indicate that promotion would be clinched sooner rather than later but trouble was just around the corner….



#14 – SUTTON (A) – 11/8/2012 – SUTTON WIN BY 96 RUNS

SUTTON: 214-6 (55 overs)
BP PARK: 118 (43 overs)

Losing the toss at Sutton proved the key factor for Park as their run of ten games unbeaten finally ended with an emphatic defeat at the New Street Oval.

A spongy wicket allowed the home side to play some mesmerising shots though Sten then took three scalps with the score on 65. But instead of falling apart like other teams had this season, Sutton fought back thanks to a sublime 104 run partnership between middle-order batsmen Adam Onion and Jonathan Green as the pair both went on to make half-centuries. An emphatic 33 not out off 19 balls from Jamie Greener then did further damage (particularly for Tuohey’s bowling figures) as the Sharks finished on 214 for 6.

Park’s hopes of chasing a big score were dashed when Coops was bowled for a 12 ball duck and other wickets soon followed. With the score on 75 for 8, Sten decided to give the ball a whack to get us to a batting point as he and Chip put on 40 for the 9th wicket. However, Sutton eventually cleaned up to leave Park still top of the table but licking their wounds following this defeat.



#15 – ST HELENS TOWN (H) – 18/8/2012 – ST HELENS WIN BY 45 RUNS

ST HELENS TOWN: 140 (59.3 overs)
BIRKENHEAD PARK: 95 (37.2 overs)

After being defeated by a side from St Helens the previous week, Park then lost to a team called St Helens in what was their poorest performance of the season.

The Saints chose to bat first and were restricted to 46 for 3 only to drag things out as Jamie Ellis’s 46 (off 156 balls!) and a half century from Stuart Lyon helped the visitors recover. But upon getting to 100, they then lost their final six wickets for nine runs as Stenny once again helped himself to a stunning six wicket haul off an incredible (and unchanged!) 30 overs.

Park’s mixed fortunes with the bat continued to trouble them as they lost Khalid, Liuy, Haroon and Reidy cheaply. Muzza and Crofty tried to turn things around as they put on 35 until the spin did the damage as Park were eventually bowled out for a woeful 95, their first home defeat of the season.

Just a handful of points now separated them from their three nearest challengers….



#16 – PRESTATYN (A) – 25/8/2012 – PARK WIN BY 97 RUNS

BIRK PARK: 190-9 (55 overs)
PRESTATYN: 93 (37 overs)

Following two straight defeats, Park were keen to bounce back as they looked to avoid slipping up in the promotion race when they travelled to Wales to play Prestatyn.

Their previous encounter had been mostly dominated by the Welsh side but on this occasion, it was Park who triumphed as the bold selections of Danny Jordan and Alex Harris proved a master-stroke. After choosing to bat first, Park lost Haroon cheaply but recovered thanks to an effective batting performance from Jordan who scored his first half-century for the 1s while Khalid and Reidy also contributed. They eventually got to 190 for 9 and knew they had to defend the total with dark clouds threatening.

Sten yet again made an impact running out Gareth Boughey before young bowler Harris took control. He produced a sublime spell of two double wicket maidens in his first two overs which included the key wicket of South-African pro Warren Groeneveld. Sten then took three wickets but with Prestatyn trying to hold out for a draw, the Park skipper had the final say as he ran out their number ten in dubious fashion to clinch victory with three overs to spare. A crucial win that kept us in contention!



#17 – OLD XAVERIANS (A) – 27/8/2012 – ABANDONED

OLD XAVS: – 70-4 (31 overs)

That victory over Prestatyn was important for Park but the bad weather eventually struck during their Bank Holiday Monday clash at the bottom side Old Xaverians.

A downpour of rain delayed the game for two and a half hours before play finally began at 2:30 with the home side batting first. They managed to get to 70 for 4 with Muzza taking three wickets but it became clear the weather wouldn’t stop and eventually the match was abandoned around 4ish.

It ended up being a mixed day for Park as Burscough’s game was called off and Parkfield lost though Skem somehow got their game on at Caldy and thrashed them by ten wickets chasing down 50. This was becoming a rather tight race….




BIRKENHEAD MARYS: 67 (28.5 overs)
BIRKENHEAD PARK: 68-1 (15.3 overs)

A massive derby match saw Park close in on promotion after destroying their neighbours Birkenhead St Mary’s by nine wickets which meant they now required just 30 points to go up.

They chose to bowl first but after being repelled by a couple of flashy boundaries from Muhammed Ghafoor, Tuohey made the impact claiming two wickets. Captain Sten then produced further damage with another six wicket haul which took his league tally for the season to a brilliant 68.

Ironically, that number was one more than what Mary’s eventually finished on as Park managed to get the game wrapped up by 3pm. Coops and Haroon led the charge to seal an emphatic win and leave their rivals going back across the park with no points to their name (ha!).

Their final two games would see them come up against fellow promotion challengers….




PARKFIELD LISCARD: 150 (50 overs)
BIRKENHEAD PARK: 108 (43.3 overs)

Once again, an underwhelming performance with the bat left Park in a nervy predicament as they failed to clinch promotion at Parkfield Liscard in the penultimate game.

A solid opening stand from the home side was eventually ended by Tuohey who took the wicket of Dave Hadden before Park managed to keep things tight. Stenny’s decision to take himself off proved effective as Muzza and Haroon shared eight wickets to restrict Parkfield to just 150 with Grant Hughes and Kamran Hussain being the only two batsmen to make satisfying scores.

Though the total seemed simple to chase, Park were under pressure from Parkfield’s exceptional bowling attack as they struggled to put some good partnerships together. Once the likes of Coops and Jordan went, it clearly wasn’t to be as the middle/lower order collapsed to 108 all out. Liscard’s success had enabled them to move into the promotion slots and keep their hopes of going up alive.

For Park, it was a vastly disappointing result which meant that they now required a few points to at least guarantee promotion in the final weekend of the campaign.



#20 – BURSCOUGH (H) – 15/9/2012 – PARK WIN BY 6 WICKETS

BURSCOUGH: 160-5 (50.3 overs)
BIRKEN PARK: 162-4 (52.1 overs)

The dream finally became a reality for the 1st team as they clinched promotion AND the championship thanks to an effortless performance with the bat to seal victory.

Different calculations were figured out with Park eventually being put in to field as experienced players like Platty and David Smith were brought back into the team. However, the case of bowling out promotion rivals Burscough was another matter. Stenny took the early wicket of Michael Bimpson to claim his 70th league wicket of this extraordinary season but the away side refused to budge. Their talented Kiwi batsman Brendan Domigan put on an effective partnership firstly with Lee Berrie and then with Alan Murray as Burscough got to 144 for 2 to leave Park agitated in the field. Domigan eventually went for 88 as Muzza and Haroon chipped in with a couple of wickets but when the away side reached 160 for 5, they chose to declare much to Park’s annoyance as one more wicket would have guaranteed them promotion.

Instead, they faced the nervy task of needing just 100 to go up though it was never going to be quite so routine. Khalid, Haroon and DJ were dismissed cheaply and when Coops was given out LBW for 32, Park still required 30 runs. But cometh the men and cometh the hour, Muzza and Sten stepped into the breach and held things together as they hit the necessary runs needed to reach their target.

Some of the celebrations began back at the pavilion but now it was about going for the win that would give them the title. While Muzza dug deep in his innings, Stenny decided to smash some glorious boundaries including two massive sixes to score quickly before another boundary got him to 50 off 47 balls. Having got into the 40s without hitting a boundary, Muzza did just that as his four allowed him to finish on 49 not out and ensure Park were Division Two Champions in emphatic style.

After several years of frustrating viewing, I was now revelling in my team’s success which led to crazy, alcohol-fuelled celebrations afterwards!



So there we have it, what a season and what a team!

A supreme achievement by the Park lads enabled us to make an impact back in the Comp and do so in mesmerising fashion. It certainly was a team effort with a lot of the players contributing at significant moments during the season. But of course, a lot of credit deserves to go to Chris Stenhouse for his solid performances as skipper and most of all, his marvellous bowling which completely bamboozled many teams along the way. His recent Player of the Year win (for the third time in his Park career) proved just why he is so important to this wonderful club which has made a tremendous turnaround since the seasonal woes of previous years.

It has been great to see everybody enjoying their cricket not just in the 1st team but the whole club in general (obviously including myself!) and hopefully 2013 can lead to further success.

This scorer is most definitely looking forward to trips to Aigburth, Formby and Colwyn Bay next year!

Thank you for reading, up the Park!

1 Comment on "Birkenhead Park Cricket Club Season Review 2012"

  1. Congrats Haroon khan and all the entire team that make such good efforts to achieve this position

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.