Morpeth (137-4) v Alnwick I (138-1)
During the week Alnwick travelled to Whickham for a place in the League Cup final, a feat which they had failed to achieve for around 20 years.
Despite the efforts of Whickham’s overseas player, Matt Parr, the Northumbrians came out comfortable winners and will now play Ashington in July.
They took their impressive form into a David versus Goliath contest as they travelled to bottom-of-the-league side Morpeth as they looked to record their fourth successive league victory and leapfrog Backworth into top spot.
Despite the overnight rain, Morpeth’s ground staff managed to work hard, and the ground dried up quickly resulting in just a short delay.
Captain Rob Woods again won the toss and asked Morpeth to bat in a game reduced to 43 overs per side.
Alnwick’s opening bowlers kept it extremely tight; particularly Gareth Bateman who conceded his first run on the penultimate ball of his fifth over.
Despite the slow start, Alnwick struggled to make the first breakthrough, until Bateman’s persistent accuracy got the better of Lawn for 31.
The change of bowling immediately after the breakthrough saw Morpeth lose their second wicket as Dave Wright had McKay (21) bowled after a very resilient innings. Following the two quick wickets, Morpeth’s captain, the in-form Charles Anderson, along with Poxton, rotated the strike as they looked to increase the below-par run rate.
Poxton then fell as he looked to go big over the leg side, lofting the ball to create a simple catch for Andrew Scott and a second wicket to Wright.
Truscott, the new man, continued to frustrate the Alnwick bowlers as he poked and squirted the ball into unusual positions before eventually standing on his stumps in a bizarre dismissal.
Anderson (43no) at the other end, however, managed to keep to score ticking and Morpeth eventually finished on 137-4 off their reduced allotment.
Following the interval, openers Michael Brewis and the in-form Daniel Graham set off in pursuit of the total knowing that there could possibly be a chance of rain later in the evening.
Graham smashed the ball all over the ground and took advantage of some wayward bowling. Graham brought up his half-century with another exquisite boundary, at the same stage fellow opener Brewis had just six to his name.
Morpeth eventually got the breakthrough as Brewis was the victim to a good catch.
However, the wicket did little to curtail Alnwick’s scoring rate as they brought up the 100 in the 13th over.
From then on it was all about whether Graham could reach his personal milestone as a watchful Michael Threlfall ensured he had as much of the strike as possible.
With Alnwick only needing five to win, Graham needing six for his hundred, the misfortune of four byes curtailed his chances.
He finished with an Alnwick career-best 95 not out from 70 deliveries including 17 boundaries and one six.
In an impressive victory Alnwick had some 24 overs left and now sit second in the league, just five points adrift of Backworth with a game against Steve Harmison’s Ashington to come this Saturday.