Whickham I (220-8) v Morpeth I (221-8) Northumberland & Tyneside Senior League, Division A2
MORPETH’S new-look first team opened the season with an exciting away victory at Whickham.
This was the youngest team that Morpeth have fielded in many years following the departure of several senior players, with seven new players making their debut.
Captain Charles Anderson won the toss and put Whickham into bat on a green wicket. This proved to be a good decision as the visiting bowlers restricted their hosts to only 112 runs after 30 overs, ably backed up by some very enthusiastic fielding including good stump work by young Joe Carrick on his debut.
Jake Hodgson worked tirelessly to bowl 15 overs up the hill and was rewarded with four wickets. Shyam Patel bowled 15 overs of spin for one wicket at an economy rate of only 3.5 runs per over and John Turnbull took the wicket of the home team’s South African professional Parr.
The home side ended their 50 overs on 220 for six.
Morpeth’s batsmen started in fine style and were always ahead of the run rate. They played sensibly against Parr, who bowled at great pace down the hill, and then hit the bowlers who bowled up hill all around the park.
Patel was outstanding on his debut and was desperately unlucky to be given out LBW when on 99. He hit four sixes and 13 fours.
Also in great form was stalwart Andrew Poxton, who stroked the ball around the park for 60.
After 27 overs, the visitors were on 173 for two and seemed to be running away with the game. However, Parr returned for his second spell and ripped out Morpeth’s middle order. In five overs he removed five batsmen for only 13 runs.
Just as it looked like the game was slipping away, the innings was steadied by a sound 22 from Ben Stewart and fittingly Carrick and Hodgson completed great debuts by striking the winning runs with 10 overs to spare.