An emphatic bowling display from Blagdon Park saw them secure a seven-wicket victory over local rivals Cramlington on a blustery day at the Cramlington Sports Village.
Winning the toss and opting to bowl first, skipper David Gibson shone with the ball with figures of 3-19 as the hosts were all out for 117. The Bulls reached the total with relative ease, Elliott Leybourne top scoring with an eventful 46*.
Gibson inserted the hosts with Dan Craddock and Tony Kay opening the batting for Cramlington, Angus Johnson and former Crammy seamer Ben Cuthbertson opened the bowling for Blagdon.
Both openers bowled tight lines, giving the batsman nothing to free their arms to, and Johnson didn’t have long to wait for his first wicket, removing Craddock with a beautiful delivery, cannoning into the top of off stump for 4.
His opening partner Kay (4) soon followed in a similar manner, Johnson dislodging his off stump with another away swinging delivery.
This brought Billy Pulman and Matthew Hall to the crease as they looked to rebuild the innings. Pulman was on the defensive from the off, taking 34 balls to get off the mark, with Hall a little more fluent.
Johnson was replaced by Alex Senior and the youngster struck in his second over, hitting the top of Hall’s off stump for 13. Jonathan Marshall was next to the crease but his stay was short lived, A Senior having him caught behind in his final over for 5.
Pulman and new batsman Graeme Barnes looked to steady the ship as Blagdon cranked up the pressure with the introduction of spinners Gibson and Matthew Senior. After a couple of tight overs, Pulman danced down the track to Gibson, playing all round a ball which clipped the top of middle stump.
New batsman Paul Bramley didn’t last long, lofting an M Senior delivery to former Cramlington man Adam Robson at Mid-On for 3. Andy Langley came and went within two deliveries, tickling one to wicket-keeper Stuart Dick for a duck.
With the score at 70-7, things looked bleak for the home side, but a strong partnership from Barnes (20) and Jamie Parker (14) took the score past 100. Skipper Gibson then got a ball to turn and bounce, Barnes chipping the ball straight up for Dick to pouch his third victim of the afternoon.
Jamie Parker didn’t last much longer as he pulled a ball from Gibson to Cuthbertson at mid-wicket, the final pair of Joe Ingram and Ian Black saw the innings to the 50th over before the returning Cuthbertson struck, removing Ingram caught behind for 3. The final total 117 all out.
Mark Foster and Elliott Leybourne strode to the crease for the ‘Bulls’ as they looked to chase the modest total. Leybourne rode his luck early as he was dropped at slip off the bowling of Andy Langley twice in the same over.
Foster at the other end settled in well as Blagdon looked to set the foundations for a successful run chase. After 10 overs, the ‘Bulls’ sat on 17/0.
From there Foster began to tick the scoreboard over, as he and Leybourne pushed the singles with some good running between the wickets. Leybourne was beginning to look more comfortable at the crease despite an errant shot that saw him dropped on a caught and bowled chance by Ian Black.
To Cramlington’s credit they kept fighting, Langley picking up the first wicket of the innings as he sent Foster’s leg stump cartwheeling, the opener playing all round one that perhaps beat him for pace for 26.
Soon after the first dismissal, Cramlington introduced left-armer Jamie Parker and he struck almost immediately. Lakey was early on a drive and he lofted a simple catch to Hall for 9.
Next in was M Senior who upped the score rate from his first ball, hitting a succession of boundaries with some powerful strokeplay, bringing down the run rate to just a run an over before departing for 20, LBW to Hall, M Senior very unhappy with the decision.
It was left to captain Gibson and the resilient Leybourne to knock off the remaining runs, Gibson finishing on 9* off 7 balls, while Leybourne fell just short of his 50 in his workman like 46*.
Blagdon secured maximum bonus points in victory and sit 2nd in the Northumberland Cricket League Premier Division. Next Saturday the ‘Bulls’ will host Ashington Rugby CC, four days after hosting the same opposition in the William Birkett Memorial Cup.