WOODLANDS’ journey into the unknown in the National Club Championship came to an end in the last-16 at sun-drenched Liverpool & District Competition leaders Wallasey.

The visitors, who won the toss, recovered from 21-3 to make 202-9 on the back of another good innings by Tom Clee.

However, despite dismissing Durham T20 squad member Jamie Crawley with the first ball after tea, Woodlands were on the wrong end of a tense finish, losing by four wickets off the penultimate ball.

Woodlands secretary Brian Pearson reflected on their trip to the Kevin McCullagh Oval, saying: “From a day out point of view it was brilliant.

“It is a nice set-up and a nice field and we got a good welcome.”

As for the match, the visitors’ display was patchy, with Tim Jackson, Sam Frankland and Brad Schmulian all falling early and the innings being pulled round by Clee, who had important partnerships with Liam Collins (64 for the fourth wicket), Scott Richardson (43 for the fifth) and Muhammad Bilal (47 for the sixth).

If the first two of those stands put Woodlands back in the picture, the partnership between Clee, who is having a stellar season, and Bilal gave the innings the late impetus it needed, and the visitors would have eaten their tea in a happier mood than the hosts.

Pearson said: “We would have liked our top-order to get some runs, but Tom’s innings was the backbone of our total.

“The run-outs of Bilal and Clee (at 175-5 and 176-6) cost us the chance of getting to 230, and Billy’s was the worst because he took on their overseas, who looked an excellent cricketer - a good fielder who was very aware, a good bowler and a good batter.

“Our total looked even better when we got a wicket with the first ball of their innings but those sixes off Kez Ahmed and Elliot Richardson gave them a bit of momentum.”

Woodlands were then in the difficult position of trying to save boundaries and singles, and although Ahmed took two wickets in the final over, it also cost 10 runs, with Harry Meehan hitting the fifth ball for six to win it for Wallasey.

The home side’s passage had been confirmed three balls earlier anyway when Indian Sumit Ruikar hit Ahmed for four to tie the scores, with Wallasey then knowing that they could not lose as many wickets as the Bradford Premier League champions.

As for the experience of playing in the National Club Championship for the first time, Pearson said: “We have enjoyed it. We have had three good results up until this one.”

However, it may prove to have been a blessing in disguise that they were knocked out early in the Heavy Woollen Cup, given their run in the National Club Championship, the fact that they are in the semi-finals of both the Priestley Cup and T20 and that their second team are also in two semi-finals.

Fielding a team on two successive days is not possible for some clubs, but Woodlands have it as part of their player ethos that holidays are taken out of season and that things such as injury, illness or being a best man at a wedding are the only acceptable reasons for absenteeism.

Clee’s 69 came off 93 balls in 111 minutes and contained seven fours and two sixes, while Collins scored a run-a-ball 35, Scott Richardson made 12 and Bilal 29 off just 18 balls, including four fours and a six.

Wallasey, who were only 53-2 at drinks after 20 overs, were revived by opener Dan Beaver (25), who added 59 for the third wicket with Alex Eagles (52), and Ruikar (76), who put on 47 with Eagles for the fourth wicket and 79 for the fifth with skipper Greg Beaver (26).

Bilal (2-32), Elliot Richardson (1-34) and skipper Schmulian (1-21) were the most economical Woodlands bowlers.