Ashington II (227-7) v Morpeth II (211 all out) Northumberland & Tyneside Senior League, Division B1
ON the back of a comprehensive win, Morpeth travelled to local rivals Ashington in search of another victory.
They went into the match as underdogs, as Ashington continue to drive towards another league championship.
The hosts won the toss and decided to bat first on a cloudy but warm day that would become blistering later on.
Skipper Thewlis opened with Nichol and they set about Maxted and Harbottle to race off with a plethora of boundaries either side of the wicket, although Harbottle was finding some away swing.
Nichol was the main aggressor, but on 25 Harbottle induced an outside edge with returning gloveman Meikle smartly falling to his right to complete the catch.
Storey came in at three and the runs showed no sign of slowing, as he looked to attack anything wide of off-stump and Thewlis began finding his range.
Young Callum Lawn came on and helped pull Ashington back with some excellent economical bowling. He returned 0-14 from six overs, having deserved a wicket.
Nick Rose had followed suit at the other end and the squeeze that Morpeth applied reaped rewards when the stand of 85 was broken as Storey looked to break the shackles, only to chip a Rose delivery to Wailes at mid-off for 39.
Ashington were 122-2 and Thewlis had waltzed past 50 and showed no sign of getting out. Charles Anderson’s off-spin was introduced and Hetherington, in at four, was struggling to combat the drift that the youngster was getting.
Thewlis was also playing and missing, but did manage a beautifully-struck six by using his feet and crunching Anderson over extra-cover.
He then brought up a well-constructed and organised century with more elegant stroke play, leading from the front for his side, only to be caught at long-on for exactly 100 by Ingram to give Anderson a much-deserved first wicket.
Next ball, Anderson deceived Hetherington to have him caught and bowled.
Morpeth skipper Wailes had come on to bowl his medium pacers and was keeping the runs down well as Ashington moved towards 200.
Veteran Williams was in next at five but was run out for two after excellent work from Adam Lawn in the deep.
Anderson took another sharp caught-and-bowled to finish with 3-65 and Wailes bowled Matt Hetherington to bowl the final six overs from one end with figures of 1-28. Ashington finished on 227-7, having threatened more earlier on.
Wailes and Cowell strode out looking to set the foundations for a successful run chase. They started off positively against the youthful seam of Collins and wily spin of Williams.
Wailes cut and drove Collins consistently, which included a sprinkling of boundaries in amongst the singles used to tick the strike over.
They continued along at four an over and, as Matt Hetherington was introduced, accelerated with cut shots proving especially effective.
Wailes skipped down the track to punch Williams through wide mid-off for four and brought up a consecutive half-century in the next over.
However, Williams deceived the opener as he tried to whack Williams out of the ground, only to be bowled for 51 in slightly ugly fashion.
Cowell had been rotating the strike well but misjudged a shorter Williams delivery to be bowled for 20 attempting a pull-shot.
Sandy Meikle had come in at three and was timing the ball excellently, in his fluent and effortless style.
Anderson, at four, was also pleasing on the eye, flicking anything too straight and angling any wide balls for singles.
But Meikle was bowled by a shooter and Williams’ final delivery, for 16.
The visitors were wobbling and the introduction of off-spinner Nichol saw Harbottle attempt to get off the mark with a sweep, but he missed and was given out lbw, despite advancing a fair way down the track. A score of 76-0 had become 107-4.
With the rate above six an over, Anderson was joined by the aggressive Jimmy Ingram.
Hetherington was re-introduced and was in tandem with Nichol, but the young batsmen were running aggressively and picking off the bad ball to help the boundary count.
Anderson was graceful and began peppering the leg-side boundary by whipping anything on his toes through mid-wicket.
Ingram was striking powerfully through cover and mid-off.
He was unfortunate to be caught on the deep mid-wicket boundary by Storey, attempting to blast Nichol out of the ground, for 27.
Wonders was in next and the no-nonsense middle-order man did not mess about, hitting the ball hard to a well-spread field.
Anderson passed a much-deserved 50 and then belted Nichol over his head and out of the ground – it really was game on, with 40 required from four overs.
However, just as it was getting tense, Nichol bowled Wonders then Adam Lawn in the same over and Morpeth’s hopes began to look dashed.
The away side needed 20 from the final over, but Rose holed out from Hetherington’s full delivery and Callum Lawn was run out without facing.
Man-of-the-match Charles Anderson was bowled from the final delivery for a cracking 68 as the brave Morpeth effort finished 211 all out.