Morpeth v Shotley Bridge Northumberland & Tyneside Senior League, Division A1
THE sun was shining at Longhirst Hall as Morpeth took to the field for their first game of the season against last year’s second-placed side Shotley Bridge.
But the rain would arrive to spoil things later in the day.
The visitors won the toss and chose to bat, as anyone would do on the top-class wicket that is produced at Longhirst.
Morpeth were dealt an early blow when the new professional Ben Harmison was ruled out due to injury and although new signing Ify Fazal was able to make his first appearance, his debut was short-lived as he was forced off the pitch with a side strain.
Despite the injury, the Morpeth bowlers were on good form and with a bit of luck could have done even better than they did. Gary Christie was the stand out bowler, bowling nine overs for just 21 runs.
The home side got the breakthrough in the 18th over through the bowling of Horner, when he had Collingwood caught in the deep off the ever-agile Jon Harbottle for 33.
Brown and Graham then put on a good partnership, but never threatened to take the game away from Morpeth.
The next wicket came with the score on 137 when Michael Craigs bowled Brown soon after he had passed 50.
The spinners then played a vital role in reducing Shotley to 223-6. Morpeth’s new captain Jonny Craigs finished with figures of 3-45 and Paul Elliott also picked up a wicket.
Morpeth were immediately on the back-foot in their reply, as Jon Harbottle was clean-bowled by Graham without scoring.
Jonny Craigs came in and both he and James Sander, who was looking as solid as ever, steadied the ship taking the score to 63 before Craigs was given out controversially LBW for 34. Soon after, Maxted came to the crease, but so did the rain which forced the two teams off with the score at 70-2 and firmly in the balance.
Both sides had to settle for a draw.