Sacriston (311-4) v Morpeth (245 all out) Northumberland & Tyneside Senior League, Division A1
MORPETH were stunned with the shock that a game of cricket was being played despite the surrounding weather.
The hosts won the toss and decided to bat. The visitors had an opportunity to remove openers Ali and Carr but Jonny Wailes dropped two catching opportunities.
The sinking feeling spread through the visitors and Ali started to cut loose, whipping David Rutherford through the leg-side repeatedly. With the opening bowlers beginning to toil, spin was introduced at both ends.
Jonny Craigs started consistently and Paul Elliott tried to attack, but the openers weren’t budging. Eventually, Craigs trapped Carr lbw soon after he passed 50.
Sacriston number three Peel was in an aggressive mood and he reached 20 before he sliced a Craigs full toss to cow corner where Elliott took the catch.
But even though the bowlers slowed the run-rate down a little, the home side made good progress and Pakistan pro Ali reached three figures. He did depart for 104 when Rutherford, who had come back on and found plenty of sideways movement, had him caught sharply by Craigs at backward point.
The race for 300 was still on though and Hunter began opening his shoulders. Elliott was re-introduced but Hunter was regularly slog-sweeping the thin off-spinner over the leg side for six.
As he moved on to 90, he tried to hit another boundary and got a top edge to an Elliott delivery, with Wailes taking the catch at point this time. Sacriston closed on 311 for four.
Things got harder for Morpeth when Jonny Craigs drove at the first ball of the innings, a wide half volley from Hubber, only to get a thin snick to wicketkeeper Potts.
Ben Maxted joined Wailes and the pair looked to rebuild. Carr and Hubber bowled in good areas and extracted regular movement, but had no joy. Wailes looked to cut Carr regularly, with the odd pull-shot over mid-wicket. Maxted was stubborn and playing some lovely flicks through the leg-side, as well as driving straight on occasions.
The run-rate began to rise as Wailes hooked a Hubber bouncer out of the ground and then cut him for four, to reach his first 50 of the season.
Hunter came on but Maxted responded by tanning a straight drive back past the stumps as the pair passed their century partnership. Sacriston’s spinners entered the attack, but Wailes was in full flow and hit two excellent sixes.
On 87 though, he came down the wicket and belted an extra-cover drive only for Ali to take a remarkable diving catch at the second attempt.
Rutherford joined Maxted, who continued to look fluent with powerful shots down the ground. However, just after passing 50, Hardy had him caught at long-on. Cooper came in and looked really positive, with regular boundaries before holding out to cow corner on 24.
Morpeth had given it a good go but were starting to fade. Once Rutherford departed in the teens, the away side looked all but done.
James Craigs (19) played some elegant drives down the ground and flicks over the leg side to the spinners, followed up by notable contributions from Chase Evans (14), Tom Wilkinson (13) and Cal Lawn, who was not out and hit a terrific boundary, but Hubber and Carr came back in to the attack to finish a spirited Morpeth effort of 245 all out in what had been a very entertaining game.