Swalwell (95-1) v Morpeth (94 all out) Northumberland & Tyneside Senior League, Division A1
MORPETH headed to regular title contenders Swalwell with an over-riding feeling that the possibility of a full day’s play was unrealistic.
However, the home side had a pitch that may have been extremely green and damp, but was ready for cricket.
Skipper Maxted lost the toss and Swalwell did the expected and put the visitors in to bat. Openers Jonny Craigs and Jonny Foster started solidly though. Experienced seam duo Pattison and Johnson were finding movement, but Craigs and Foster looked fairly unbothered by the swinging ball.
A watchful start began to grow into a promising position as each player began to branch out with their stroke play. Craigs hit three majestic drives, punched through straight extra cover, all along the stodgy rain affected outfield.
Foster survived a dropped chance at mid-off but stuck with the aerial route, with anything full disappearing down the ground.
Both moved into the 20s, looking relatively comfortable, when the trouble started. Pattison’s brisk medium pace had been accurate but he slipped a shorter ball at Craigs, which stuck in the wicket, deceiving the left hander, who could only prod to mid-wicket and depart for a well-made 25.
And an over later, Foster was unluckily given lbw to Pattison for 28, looking well forward and possibly outside off-stump.
Maxted and Rutherford were now at the crease with the score on 51-2, as experienced off-spinner Nicky Phillips entered the fray. Maxted went the only way he knows and attacked the wily bowler.
After a pleasant flick over mid-wicket and some strong drives to mid-on and mid-off, he slog swept him for a sizeable six. Rutherford attempted to attack by advancing down the track but got a thin edge and was caught behind by Anderson for just two.
Worse followed as seamer Moffat entered the attack, and a wide half-volley was skewed by Maxted to backward point, who took an opportunist low catch and the skipper was gone for 17.
Aussie Ray Cooper was next in and after belting Phillips over his head for a one bounced four, tried to repeat the trick, only to snick the ball to Anderson behind the stumps.
Wailes and Anderson were both caught at short leg, failing to cope with the bounce and fizz of Phillips for one apiece. Poxton was then bowled by an in-swinging yorker from Moffat on five and Palmer squeezed a full Moffat delivery to gully without scoring.
Jones was last out, for a duck lbw attempting to sweep Phillips’ quicker ball to give him a five-wicket haul, to leave Morpeth on a lowly 94 all out.
Swalwell sent Hewison and Anderson out to chase down their modest target. Cooper and Rutherford opened well, but Anderson looked to hit down the ground, with Hewison showing his class to score all around the wicket.
Cooper was replaced by Palmer but Hewison skipped down the track and flicked the wiry seamer for six. He followed this up with consecutive pull shots to the boundary as Swalwell looked to finish the job early.
Palmer did have Anderson caught at mid-wicket at the second attempt by a smart Craigs catch, but Pattison continued in the same vain as his team mates. Hewison and Pattison showed why they have played first class cricket in dealing with Craigs’ off-spin and Jones’ seam without hassle.
Swalwell coasted to victory by nine wickets, with Hewison unbeaten having passed 50. Only Rutherford could curb the runs with excellent control and regularly beating the bat he certainly didn’t deserve to be wicketless.
Morpeth will look to get back to winning ways at home to Lanchester on Saturday.