AN under-strength Whitby Cricket Club 1sts turned in a creditable performance Saturday when they drew a rain-affected game at second-placed Sedgefield.
Before the game, Whitby were rocked by the news that experienced top order batsmen Simon Taylor and Mark Harrison are lost for the season with both suffering serious knee injuries.
Whitby were further weakened on the morning of the game when captain and last week’s centurion Paul Harrison, along with bowler Mark Jackson, dropped out due to illness, meaning they took to the field with four members of last season’s all-conquering under 15 squad in the side.
Under the guidance of Paul Buck, Whitby made a good start to their bowling effort and with a bit of luck they could have made a deserved early breakthrough. Several aerial shots just evaded the fieldsmen and prolific opener Lower survived a very confident run-out appeal.
The introduction of seamers Chris Lyth and Steve Allen, who both bowled excellently, did the trick for the visitors with both openers falling in quick succession and finally giving Whitby some reward.
Durham University students, Humphreys and Ahmed, were Sedgefield’s next two batsmen and both looked very accomplished players, although Lyth and Allen managed to keep the scoring rate in check with some accurate bowling.
The defining moment of the game came when the normally reliable James Hall grassed two simple chances to dismiss Ahmed, who took full advantage as the innings progressed to smash his way to 69 off only 73 deliveries.
For the first time, Whitby’s lack of experience started to show during the final few overs of the Sedgefield innings as they became ragged in the field as the hosts powered past the 200 mark to close on 221 for 7, although it was still a much-improved performance in the field by Whitby.
With a depleted batting line-up against a bowling attack that featured former Durham CCC left-arm spinner Lee Beaumont, Whitby knew victory was a long shot and accumulating draw bonus points would be their target.
Makeshift opening pair James Fawcett and James Hall started well with Fawcett in particular displaying great technique and powers of concentration against Beaumont to keep the vocal home side at bay.
Hall was happy to use the pace of the bowling from the other end to get the scoreboard moving, driving some lovely boundaries through the covers. Hall was first to go when he edged the lively Durham CCC colt Randall to first slip for a battling 29.
With steady rain falling, the umpires took the players from the field with Whitby well placed on 45-1.
Unfortunately, the delay cost Whitby 15 overs of their reply and on the resumption, they had the almost impossible task of scoring 121 runs from only 17 overs against such a high quality bowling attack to gain any draw bonus points.
With tall bowler Lower extracting extravagant bounce and movement from the surface, Whitby wobbled slightly, losing three quick wickets to leave the home side scenting victory.
It was left to Buck and young all-rounder Tom Steyert to bat through the final overs of the game and secure Whitby a deserved draw.
Due to the rain break, Whitby only earned four points from the game but they can be pleased with their display against a very talent team and the experienced gained by their young players bodes well the future.
Whitby Cricket Club main sponsor: Passage To India