Blagdon Park (177-3) v Blue Flames (173 all out) Northumberland Cricket League, Premier Division
A GOOD all-round team display gave Blagdon another victory.
It was the toss that neither captain really wanted to win, and it was home skipper Senior who had a tough decision to make. He elected to bowl first.
Blue Flames got off to a good start, as both of the opening bowlers struggled against a strong wind and a damp run-up. Young opener Matty Senior nearly made the early breakthrough, tempting Walker with a wider ball that he nicked to Gibson at first slip, who could only parry the ball up and away from his body and onto the damp outfield.
Walker and McKeever seemed to be making the most of the life, putting on 55 for the first wicket before Walker snicked a full turning ball from Clark straight to Gibson at first slip, who made a good low catch.
The introduction of spin looked to be a masterstroke from the skipper, and Clark soon removed Storey with a long hop that the number three hit straight into the hands of James Sander at point. Greame Gaff joined the party shortly after Clark, removing Flames captain Pinnington, caught at mid-off by Leybourne for a nine-ball duck.
At 68-3 the game was swinging in the direction of the home side, but stubborn resistance from Keith Brown and opening bat McKeever knocked the wind out of Blagdon’s sails.
The pair put on 44 before Brown was stumped, once again the man to make the breakthrough was Clark, who tempted the batsmen down the wicket before turning the ball sharply away from him.
With their tails up, Blagdon proceeded to rattle through the next three batsmen. McKeever feel to a Gibson full toss, which he lobbed straight back to the bowler.
Marshall was the next man to go, run out after calling through a suicidal second run to Foster, and Andy Horner was the subject of a great catch by Leybourne on the run and outstretched at deep long on.
Sanders and Gibson wrapped up the tail, Awan fell to a stumping, while Thorley was outwitted by Gibson and was also stumped. Blue Flames lost their last wicket with one ball to spare, with a Senior run out. They were dismissed for 173.
The hosts went out to bat knowing it wouldn’t be an easy task, but some distinctly village bowling from Walker and Awan let Blagdon get off to a flier, collecting 13 runs from the first two overs.
Those first two overs set the tone from the rest of the innings, and the Blagdon openers, Hughes and Gibson, set about collecting runs with ease. Hughes passed 50, his fifth in a row in all competitions, in the 11th over.
With the field set back to combat the high run rate, the two youngsters were able to score runs easily, and Gibson joined Hughes in passing 50.
A wicket was finally taken when the score stood at 144 when Hughes lunged forward and was stumped off the bowling of Pinnington for 83.
With Blagdon needing just 30 to win, Blue Flames fought back, with Taylor picking up two wickets in 2.5 overs.
His first victim was Sanders, bowled for two and he picked up Collins LBW in his second over, somewhat fortunately as it seemed clear to all that the big hitter has inside edged the ball onto his pad.
Sixteen-year-old Matthew Senior then showed what he can do with a three-ball eight, scoring the winnings runs with a four. Gibson finished on 56 not out.