Gritty half-ton denies firsts victory

WHITBY 1sts travelled to promotion candidates Redcar on Saturday, with the hope that they could carry on their good form after defeating Northallerton in their last outing.

Once again, Whitby skipper Paul Buck lost the toss and the hosts had no hesitation in asking Whitby to bat first on a sunny day and on what looked as if it was going to be a slow pitch.

This appeared to be the case, as the visitors’ opening batsmen, James Hall and James Fawcett, found scoring tough in the face of some tight bowling from the Redcar opening bowlers.

Despite this the pair stood firm as they frustrated the home side.

However, with time the partnership began to develop and Hall and Fawcett began to look more and more assertive. But then when the score had reached 60 for no wicket, after 24 overs, with Hall sitting pretty on 26, he flashed at a wide one and edged a simple catch through to Tyler Easton behind the stumps. This meant Kai Morris came to the crease to partner Fawcett.

The pair weren’t together long though, as Fawcett fell lbw to the bowling of the opposition skipper for a very assuring 31. This meant Morris was joined by Ron Lyth, and the pair went about rebuilding the Whitby innings.

Lyth looked in good knick as he muscled a big six over mid-wicket. Morris, however, appeared to struggle to come to terms with the conditions as he found timing the ball difficult.

Unfortunately, the promising partnership was ended when Lyth pulled one to mid-wicket for 17.

This meant skipper Paul Buck came to the crease and joined Morris. Morris was beginning to find batting a bit easier by this point, as he began to manoeuvre the ball into gaps and get the scoreboard moving.

The pair moved the score onto 131/4, with Morris looking more and more assured.

Buck fell in the quest for quick runs towards the end of the innings. And when Morris lost his wicket soon after, for a valuable 35, a collapse was sparked and Whitby found themselves being bowled out for 156, four balls shy of the 50 overs.

The visitors had posted a competitive total, but knew they would have to bowl and field exceptionally well against Redcar’s strong batting line-up.

They started strongly, with Tom Steyert and Liam Beckett bowling some very good areas and applying the pressure to the hosts’ openers. The first wicket fell when Tom Urwin sliced a drive to point off the bowling of Steyert with the score on 36. By this point, Whitby felt they had a chance of causing a major upset and this was reflected by some tight bowling and good fielding.

The next wicket went down when Tyler Easton hit a very generous delivery from James Hall straight down deep mid-wicket’s throat and with the score sat at 47/2 the visitors really did seem in with a chance.

But Redcar’s skipper had other ideas. Hutchinson began to take the game away from Whitby from the moment he walked to the crease, twice depositing Hall over the boundary.

Whitby strived for a breakthrough but seemed to have no answer as opener Rodgers and the captain took the hosts to 115 before Hutchinson had a lapse in concentration and left a straight one from Chris Lyth.

And then when Lyth dismissed the new man, Sam Berry, soon after, Whitby believed they still had a chance of snatching a win.

But Rodgers stood firm as he went to a gritty half-century in the 42nd over.

Whitby toiled hard but were unable to find a means of picking up another wicket and a gutsy fifth wicket stand of 37 took the hosts over the line in the 45th over.

Credit must be given to all of the Whitby bowlers who battled hard and never gave up in the face of quality batting. The result left Whitby to reflect on what could have been – would the result have been different if they had scored an extra 30 runs?

Quite possibly.