Brothers give Pont a platform for success

Ponteland Cricket Club first team. Picture by Keith Robertson.
Ponteland Cricket Club first team. Picture by Keith Robertson.
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Ponteland (142-7) v Leadgate (127-all out) Northumberland & Tyneside Senior League, Division A2

PONTELAND bounced back from last week’s defeat to Lintz with a 15-run home victory.

After being put into bat the game was then delayed for 40 minutes by a heavy rain shower, so it was reduced to 43 overs.

Pont had a steady start as the Ritzema brothers put on 62 for the first wicket before a powerful drive by James deflected off the bowler onto the stumps and found Wayne (32) stranded short of the crease.

Matt Darwood was then lbw first ball and the Leadgate spinners took control.

Tom Seymour struggled with the spin and was dismissed for a 21-ball duck and Stuart Taylor on his return to the first team fared little better with just two runs.

But James Ealey put his early season batting woes behind him in a stand of 59 with James Ritzema to drag Ponteland up towards 140.

Three wickets fell in the final three overs with Ealey (33), Ed Common (four) and Jonny Appleby (zero) dismissed as Ponteland reached 142-7. James Ritzema scored what turned out to be a vital 66 not out.

In reply, the opening bowlers struggled early on before Tom Seymour (one for 20) took the first wicket when Barnes’ stroke was well caught by James Ritzema. First change bowler Duncan McGregor took the next wicket and his six overs cost just seven runs.

A stand between Robbie Hockaday (26) and Greenwell (19) took Leadgate past 60 but the game swung back in Pont’s favour with the introduction of Wayne Ritzema and Ealey into the attack.

The fielders backed up their bowlers as Howard Wright took an outstanding running catch at long-on off Ealey, then Dan Wright behind the stumps took an excellent reaction catch after the batsman played the ball onto his foot from a Ritzema delivery.

Ealey then took a second when Stuart Taylor topped the previous two dismissals with a catch diving forwards from mid-off, again off Ealey. Ritzema also bowled Paul Hockaday for a duck.

With both bowlers extracting significant turn, Ealey and Ritzema breached the lower order batsmen’s defences to reduce the Leadgate innings to 110-9.

Some big hitting in Ealey’s final over pushed the score up to 127 before Ritzema got through to bowl the last man and claim the victory.

Ealey finished with figures of three for 27 and Ritzema achieved his first five-wicket match for the club with five for 17 as Ponteland forced their way back among the early season leaders in the league.