Twos finish a game at last

Morpeth II (147 all out) v Sacriston II (172 all out) Northumberland & Tyneside Senior League, Division B1

AFTER several weeks of rain-filled Saturdays, Morpeth Seconds eventually got a full game in this weekend against table-toppers Sacriston at Longhirst.

Home skipper Wailes won the toss and, with a heavy swing-inducing atmosphere and wicket with a green tinge, inserted the visitors.

Stuart Hills was making a long-awaited comeback and shared the new ball with David Harbottle. Hills though wasted no time in getting a breakthrough, with Dinsdale dragging a short ball onto his stumps for four.

It was soon 17-2 when Hills struck again, having number three Dixon caught behind by wicketkeeper Ali Clow.

Straughair came in next and looked to play his shots, but the slippery swing of Harbottle was proving hard to play.

Straughair was starting to settle after some expansive drives that beat his outside edge, when he tried one shot too many and Harbottle had him bowled for 21.

Hardy was soon out for five with Harbottle, who was unlucky not to take more wickets in his spell, finding the edge and Sander taking a sharp catch at the second attempt.

Anderson flicked a boundary to reach a patient 50, but just as Robertson was looking a danger he tried to take a quick single to Harbottle at mid-wicket and the seamer knocked the stumps down with a direct hit to send him back to the pavilion for 27.

A few overs later, Anderson chipped James Sander to long-on, where Hills dashed in to take an impressive catch, diving forward, to finally dismiss the opener for 70.

Sander then had McSkelly caught at mid-wicket by Harbottle and bowled captain Bestford.

With a little wag of the tail, Jimmy Ingram’s medium pace was introduced and he bowled with accuracy, getting Scaife caught at mid-on by Harbottle again before trapping last man Appleby lbw to end Sacriston’s innings on 172.

Morpeth’s reply got off to a bad start as they were 16-3 when Jonny Wailes, Stephen Cowell and Ingram were all dismissed cheaply.

But Sander and Harbottle rebuilt the innings with an excellent partnership.

Timing his drives beautifully through the off-side and latching onto any short stuff, Harbottle regularly found the boundary and looked to sweep the spinners.

Following an attractive clip through the leg-side, he reached a nicely-crafted half-century and the game really looked in the balance – although Morpeth suffered a blow when Sander (who scored 27) cut a Robertson delivery to Hardy at gully who clung on to a smart, low catch.

Just short of 100, the home side still required less than a run-a-ball and Harbottle showed his intent by hitting a long, straight six.

Wonders and Hills had both come in, but they were caught trying to bash Hardy for big runs.

The Morpeth chase was all but over when Harbottle was run out for a swashbuckling 81 and despite some nice batting from JJ Evans, Morpeth fell short as they were all out for 147.