Kirkley I (179-6) v Warkworth I (177 all out)
Northumberland Cricket League, Premier Division
Warkworth’s away-day blues continued on Saturday as the Castle Field men went down to Kirkley by four wickets in a hard-fought match at West Park.
Inserting Warkworth on a sunny day, the home skipper was perhaps influenced by the blustery wind and opened the attack with two spinners.
A predictable early maximum from Puddephatt (27) was part of a steady 72-run second-wicket stand with Pringle (45) which seemed to set up the innings nicely.
Sadly, neither of the two Ps could press on and get the big score to put the visitors right on top.
Indeed, runs and boundaries (only nine in the innings) were in short supply and, despite good work from Clark (17) and Anderson (15) lower down, a score of 177 all out represented a good result for the home bowlers, notably Ritchie with 12-1-21-2 and Johnson, who mopped up the tail, with 3-20.
Fifteen-year-old Alistair Ball also impressed with 1-28.
Early wickets, then, were required to put the pressure on, but Asher (28) and Howey (41) replied with a 53-run opening stand and, finding the boards with more regularity than Warkworth, Kirkley (22 boundaries) were always in front of the clock.
Nevertheless, skipper Dargue rotated his bowlers cunningly, searching for the telling breakthrough and his fielders backed him up with a committed display even as the wind increased and the temperature dropped.
Pringle’s bootstrap catch to dismiss top-scorer Howie oozed class, but Spoors’ running, tumbling, over-the-shoulder take from a proverbial Nicholson snow-dusted skier left onlookers open-mouthed.
With 50 still needed, it gave Warkworth just a whiff of victory.
Two more wickets were to fall to the pick of the visitor’s bowlers, Adam Hall, 13-3-37-3, but it was, again, Johnson 12* and Ritchie 16*, amid a flurry of late boundaries, who saw Kirkley over the line for a deserved win with seven overs to spare.
A special thank-you to all our sponsors and to the charming tea ladies of Kirkley.