A magnificent 96 from 16-year-old Theo Clarke wasn’t quite enough for Whitby 1sts to snatch a dramatic victory in a remarkable game at the Turnbull Ground Saturday.
After winning the toss, home skipper Paul Buck asked visitors Normanby Hall to bat first on a warm sunny day.
Prior to the game, both teams and supporters immaculately observed a minute’s silence in the memory of Ellis Hall.
Whitby’s limited bowling attack began well against a strong batting line-up with James Hall applying his usual control and young medium pacer Matty Towey finding some pleasant away swing.
Former premier league players Lee Hutton and Carl McGregor were the standout performers for the Hall with 67 and 43 respectively. Some lusty hitting from the middle order of Beaumont and Hussain propelled the visitors to 202/7 at the close of their 50 overs.
As so often this season James Hall was the mainstay of the home attack. returning figures of 17-1-43-5. He was ably supported by Towey and Will Donald in a good bowling and fielding effort.
Whitby’s reply began in disastrous fashion against the league’s premier bowler.
Former Durham CCC left arm spinner Leigh Beaumont.
None of Whitby’s top order had any answers to his bamboozling deliveries and Whitby faced total embarrassment at 34/6 when Buck joined Theo Clarke at the crease.
Buck began the fightback, scoring 29 runs at better than a run a ball before he drove lazily at Beaumont to become his sixth victim during a brilliant exhibition of bowling.
It was left to youngster Clarke, supported by Donald and then Hall, to produce one of the best innings by a Whitby batsmen in many a year.
Clarke struck the ball firmly to all parts, playing some magnificent sweeps and pulls through the leg side.
With 17 runs required from the final two overs, Clarke was agonisingly caught a yard inside the boundary as he attempted to clear the ropes to bring up what would have been his hundred. His innings of 96 included 13 fours and two sixes from only 102 deliveries and was an innings of the highest class.
With only the inexperienced Jack Lyth to come, Whitby decided to abandon the run chase and settle for a very unlikely draw on a day when cricket was secondary to everyone connected with Whitby CC.
After two consecutive draws Whitby will be looking to return to winning ways tomorrow when they travel to near neighbours Great Ayton 2nds.
Whitby Cricket Club main sponsor: Passage To India.