Promotion chasers lose by the narrowest of margins

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Benwell & Walbottle (129 all out) v Alnwick (128 all out)

Northumberland and Tyneside Senior Cricket League, Division A2

Alnwick suffered a setback at the hands of Benwell & Walbottle to put the talks of promotion on hold for at least another week.

After winning the toss, Benwell & Walbottle elected to bat, but got off the worst possible start when Bateman bowled Denehy off the very first ball of the innings.

Things could have been even worse for the home side, but for Green and Wright dropping the same chance off the bowling of Guy.

A partnership started to build as Reed in particular looked to be very aggressive on anything loose.

A change in bowling brought Alnwick’s second wicket with the score on 42 as Woods took a good, low catch off the bowling of Roxburgh.

That wicket caused a collapse in Benwell’s middle order as four wickets fell for just 15 runs, including the key wicket of professional Raza for just eight.

Robbie and Haque started to rebuild for the home side, but both were aided by dropped catches as Graham, Green, Bateman and Roxburgh were all unable to hold onto chances.

Both Robbie and Haque’s luck finally came to an end as Scott (4-39) claimed two wickets in two balls to leave the home side struggling on 80-7.

Cook managed to get the total past 100 as he made 36 not out before Bateman and then Wright claimed the final two wickets to finish off the Benwell innings on 129 all out.

After the break, Alnwick got off to a slow start and Benwell took full advantage as they claimed the important wicket of Threlfall for just four runs.

Graham looked to continue his recent form with the bat as he smashed a few boundaries, but that also brought his downfall as he looked to go big again, falling for 23.

After a very slow period in the game Green (six), the out-of-form Guy (two) and then Ayre (three) all fell in quick succession to leave Alnwick 56-5 off 24 overs.

Scott and Woods still had a lot of time to get Alnwick to the total they needed and increasingly looked more positive before Scott was caught and bowled for 16 off the bowling of Raza.

Woods hit two boundaries and then cleared the ropes with a towering six before being bowled for 18.

Bateman followed soon after for 0 to leave Alnwick 85-8 and the lower order to score the 40 runs required for victory.

Both Wright and Armin batted sensibly and put Alnwick into a great position in needing eight runs off the last three overs with two wickets in hand.

Wright (19) fell as he looked to clear the infield to leave the away side needing three runs to win off the last over with only Roxburgh and Armin left at the crease.

Roxburgh was bowled to leave Alnwick just one run shy of Benwell & Walbottle, finishing on 128 all out.

Alnwick now have four games left in the season and need to bounce back strongly next week as they face Greenside at home in a must-win game.