Alnwick are pitch-perfect for vital win

Alnwick (161-5) v Benwell & Walbottle (160 all out)

Northumberland and Tyneside Senior Cricket League, Division A2

Following a three-wicket victory over rivals Alnmouth & Lesbury in the League Cup, Alnwick looked to maintain the momentum going into the longer format of the game against Benwell & Walbottle.

While head groundsman Gavin Turnbull had been on holiday, it was left to Gareth Bateman and Kyle Hollingworth to prepare a pitch for this must-win game.

Captain Woods won the toss and decided to bowl first and both opening bowlers responded accordingly by bowling in consistent areas.

Benwell, after an extremely slow start with only nine runs off 10 overs, eventually got going with Anderson finding the gap in the field.

It wasn’t until the change of pace that Alnwick got the breakthrough with Scott picking up the wicket which was then immediately followed by a run-out from Graham and a caught-and-bowled by Wright to leave Benwell 55-3.

Their captain Raza and Reed looked to rebuild, however, the impressive Scott took the crucial wicket of Raza for 24.

Reed (37) and Robbie (28) took the attack to Alnwick and started to build a partnership which looked to take the game away from the home side.

Both batsmen, concentrating on scoring their runs towards the short boundary, looked to make sure that Benwell had a score somewhere in the region of 200 to be a competitive total.

The re-introduction of Roxburgh and Bateman, however, picked up crucial wickets at a key time and restricted Benwell to a below-par 160 all out.

A recently-formed opening partnership of Ayre and Graham got the home side off to a fluent start and looked at ease with the pace attack of Benwell, with a highlight being Ayre hitting a straight six off Brown.

Similar to the Benwell batting, it was the introduction of spin which brought the breakthrough as both Graham and Ayre fell to off-spinner Raza with the score on 54.

Brewis then continued his inconsistent run of form with the bat as he was bowled by Raza to give Benwell a shout as Alnwick were stuttering on 64-3.

The out-of-form Guy then looked to go about reaching the 161 for victory in a positive manner as he hit three sixes off Raza while Scott was able to rotate the strike effectively.

The introduction of Rashid got the vital breakthrough as Guy fell for 37 leaving Alnwick still needing 30 to win.

Any sniff of a Benwell upset was quickly demolished through the fluent batting of Reeves as he scored 24 not out to get Alnwick over the line to win by five wickets.

Alnwick now travel to an inconsistent Greenside as they look to continue their momentum and put elusive back-to-back victories on the board.

SCORECARD

Benwell & Walbottle I

Denehy run out 13

D Anderson b A Scott 36

M Birrell c&b D Wright 2

H Raza c M Threlfall b A Scott 24

S Reed b J Roxburgh 37

G Robbie lbw b A Scott 28

S Hague c M Brewis b G Bateman 6

S Smith c M Threlfall b J Roxburgh 0

M Brown b G Bateman 4

N Rashid not out 3

G Robson b G Bateman 0

Extras 7

Total (all out) 160

Bowling: B Bateman 12.5-4-29-3; J Roxburgh 9-4-22-2; A Scott 15-4-52-3; D Wright 9-2-29-1; J Guy 3-0-25-0.

Alnwick I

D Ayre c M Birrell b H Raza 25

D Graham lbw b H Raza 22

M Trelfall c S Smith b S Reed 20

M Brewis b H Raza 4

J Guy c&b N Rashid 37

A Scott not out 17

L Reeves not out 24

Extras 12

Total (5wkts) 161

Bowling: S Hague 8-1-32-0; M Brown 6-3-11-0; S Reed 14-2-35-1; H Raza 13-2-59-3; N Rashid 3-0-12-1; C Robson 1.2-0-2-0.