Seconds finish on a high

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Alnwick II (144ao) v Backworth II (126ao)

Wellstream Northumberland and Tyneside Senior Cricket League, Division B2

ALNWICK Seconds ended the season in comprehensive fashion on Saturday as they inflicted defeat on low-lying Backworth, while the first team’s game fell victim to a waterlogged pitch.

Asked to bat first, the hosts failed to capitalise on a promising start, collapsing to 144 all out before an all-round bowling performance saw them end on a high.

Andrew Stewart, perhaps still in shock after losing virtually the only toss of the season, played an uncharacteristic stroke first ball leaving Alnwick one wicket down in the opening over.

The hosts appeared to be shell-shocked and perhaps already out in town later on when fellow leading run-scorer Thompson departed for just 12, leaving Alnwick 15 for 2.

With Laurence Reeves and Chris Woods at the crease, a period of consolidation looked necessary.

To the contrary, the pair played fluently and aggressively on a pitch on which runs appeared difficult to score.

Reeves was playing the innings his fellow team-mates knew he was capable of, after several unfortunate dismissals this season.

However, his innings was cut short when he fell just one shy of a deserved maiden half-century.

The excellent partnership was filled with quick running between the wickets and several boundaries had been notched, with the pair amassing 91 runs.

The dismissal led to several wickets falling almost instantaneously.

Grey ran himself out and Lakey stood on his stumps before Woods also fell shy of another half-century after being caught behind for 48.

From being 106 for 3, Alnwick had slumped considerably to 138 for 8 and were in real danger of failing to bat out the allotted overs.

Indeed, this turned out to be the case when Kyle Minogue was clean-bowled, leaving Backworth a target of 145 for victory.

Alnwick struck in just the second over when Collins was clean-bowled by Marty Grey; Backworth 0 for 1 and immediately struggling.

Woods was bowling an inconsistent opening spell, a rare occurrence this season.

However, he also struck, having Scott lbw for seven.

The pair finally allowed others to bowl after the demolition of Cowgate in the previous fixture.

This immediately paid dividends when Stewart picked up two wickets in just three overs, and Andrew Barker had danger man Clarke caught by the captain for 34.

Backworth were 79 for 7 and the game looked all but over when youngster Andrew Wright was asked to bowl.

He bowled with immaculate control and variation, even claiming a wicket via a stumping thanks to smart work by Lakey. Wright ended with 3 for 14 from four overs.

There was even time for Hollingworth to get involved in the action, when he bowled last man Robson for no score, leaving Alnwick victorious by 18 runs.

Overall, Alnwick have had a satisfactory season, finishing mid-table with a young side, all of whom are making regular contributions which can only lead to a positive future.

The team thanked Gav Turnbull for producing fine wickets in a poor summer, Andrew Stewart for remaining calm when Marty Grey tried to cry-off and even playing the odd game when he wasn’t crocked, and everyone else who made it a pleasure to play with this season.