Seconds under the cosh

Alnwick II (145ao) v Swalwell II (282-4)

Wellstream Northumberland and Tyneside Senior Cricket League, Division B2

ALNWICK hosted Swalwell in what turned out to be a one-sided contest from the outset.

A youthful and inexperienced home side, due to several cry-offs, fielded first and were immediately put under pressure particularly from Shotton. Both he and Gray took an early liking to Alnwick’s very own Grey.

Woods started consistently but wickets were hard to come by on a true batting surface.

It wasn’t until the introduction of skipper Andrew Stewart that the breakthrough finally came, Gray dismissed for 31 with Nelson (111) doing the damage.

The Shotton brothers continued at an express rate and a large total looked a certainty.

Ollie Holst was the pick of the Alnwick attack generating steep bounce and clean-bowling Shotton (74) and then Watson for 15.

Number three Michael Shotton continued to bat fluently and aggressively and brought up his hundred just before the interval.

Alnwick were set a daunting target of 283 for victory. Several Alnwick youngsters bowled well, including Woodburn, Harrison and Wright, and their commitment showed up some of their more senior team-mates. Roxburgh opened with Stewart but found the going difficult against some accurate bowling from the visitors.

Roxburgh departed for nine as he was clean-bowled and almost immediately, Alnwick were dealt a major blow as Thompson chipped an innocuous delivery into the hands of mid-wicket.

Wickets continued to fall around Stewart (42), who showed the patience which has seen him become the season’s leading run-scorer.

Several strong hits from Marty Grey gave some cheer, but the run-out of the captain signalled that the end was near at 107 for six.

Holst showed all-round promise with some well-timed strokes and then youngsters Max Harrison and Andrew Wright showed determination to try to bat out the allotted overs and earn valuable bonus points.

Unfortunately, the innings concluded with two deliveries remaining as Wright was caught behind for eight, leaving Alnwick all out for 145.

In a game where they were thoroughly outclassed from the very beginning, Alnwick can take only a few positives, with the young players showing the commitment and determination required from all players in order to be successful.