AFTER several weeks of inactivity due to the inclement weather, Whitby Cricket Club 1sts finally returned to action on Saturday with an entertaining winning draw at home to Darlington 2nd XI.
After losing the toss, Whitby were invited to take first knock on what was a very dry and used surface.
With most batsmen having spent little time at the crease in recent weeks, Whitby struggled initially against the swing of Lee Craggs and the pace of Thomas Chapman.
It was left to Paul Buck and talented junior Will Donald to form the first meaningful partnership of the innings, with Donald once again highlighting his outstanding potential as the pair moved the hosts past the 100 mark.
Buck continued his excellent season as he brought up another 50 alongside Chris Lyth and James Hall, who both struck the ball well towards the end of the innings which meant Whitby closed with a competitive 180 runs from their 50 overs.
With Darlington usually reliant on experienced openers Mark Stainsby and captain Gary Moody for the bulk of their runs, Whitby knew early wickets with the new ball would be vital if they were to defend their total.
The prized wicket of Stainsby arrived second ball of the innings when Tom Steyert crashed one through his defences. Things got even better next over when veteran seamer Chris Lyth bowled two bemused batsmen to leave the visitors’ reply in tatters.
Whitby’s dream start continued when Buck brilliantly caught Moody at short mid-wicket to give Lyth his third victim of an outstanding opening spell. Once Steyert also bagged his third wicket of the innings, Darlington were in total disarray at 36/6, leaving Whitby eyeing an early finish to proceedings.
All-rounder Craggs was joined by the experienced Steven Lethbridge and the pair formed an excellent partnership, mixing stout defence while still taking full advantage of anything loose that was on offer from the bowlers.
At one point it looked as though the pair may take their side to an unlikely victory before Craggs fell to James Hall for 39.
Lethbridge then found another ally in Russell and they further frustrated Whitby’s pursuit of victory.
Two quick wickets provided some late drama, leaving it to Lethbridge to see off the final over from James Hall to secure a draw.
Whitby came within inches of a dramatic win as Hall found the outside edge only to see the ball flash past Paul Harrison in first slip and to the boundary.
Lethbridge finished 58 not out as Darlington held on to conclude an excellent game conducted in a good spirit throughout.
Whitby face two games this Bank Holiday weekend when they travel to Guisborough on Saturday (27 Aug) before entertaining rock bottom Middlesbrough on Bank Holiday Monday.
Whitby Cricket Club main sponsor: Passage To India