Whitby 1sts meet title rivals in crunch clash

Whitby 1sts celebrate a wicket during last weekend's victory over Bishop Auckland. Picture by Brian Murfield
Whitby 1sts celebrate a wicket during last weekend's victory over Bishop Auckland. Picture by Brian Murfield

Whitby 1sts travel to Billingham Synthonia on Saturday for a game that will likely decide who becomes league champions.

Paul Buck’s men currently lead the way in the North Yorkshire and South Durham Division One standings, but they are just five points ahead of second-placed Billingham.

With just two games left to play, and so little between the two sides, the destination of the league title is likely to be decided when Synthonia host Whitby in a game of epic proportions.

The men from the Turnbull Ground kept their title bid on track after they picked up a crucial eight-wicket win over third-placed Bishop Auckland last weekend.

Having put the visitors into bat, Australian ace Richard Howe claimed four wickets and Tom Steyert grabbed two as Whitby made the most of favourable bowling conditions on a cold and windy day.

A collapse looked on the cards when Bishop Auckland slumped to 84-6, but Craig George,80, and Dan Conway, 63, saw them to a total of 198-9.

Whitby’s reply began with stout defence from James Fawcett and 32 attractive runs from Theo Clarke.

At 41-2 there was still a long way to go when Howe and Lyth came together at the crease, but 16 fours and a six in a knock of 88 not out from Whitby’s overseas star, plus Lyth’s unbeaten 70 sealed a comprehensive success.