Whitby 1sts continued a positive start to their 2015 season with another solid result to maintain their position strongly in the top half of the league.
This was despite being frustratingly held to a winning draw against travelling Darlington 2nds on Saturday.
The Darlo side, who won the North Yorkshire and South Durham league second division title in 2014, receiving promotion into the first division, have surprised a few with a good start to their own campaign.
This has included a convincing victory over Saltburn, a promotion rival of Whitby’s, in the previous round of fixtures.
Whitby captain Paul Buck continued his own successes, winning yet another toss and electing to bat first, a tactic which has been highly successful for Whitby in the previous seasons.
However he may have been left to rue this decision as Whitby lost Will Donald and Theo Clarke early, leaving the hosts 8/2 and facing pumped up opposition bowlers.
Opener Matty Towey and the ever-reliable James Fawcett set about rebuilding the innings by knocking the wind out of the visitors with resistant defence and measured attacking strokes and began to work up a more than useful partnership of more than 50. However, Towey was soon dismissed as he chipped a full toss back to the bowler, to bring an unfortunate end to a highly competent innings of 30. This brought the in-form Richard Howe to the crease but he was soon heading back to the pavilion, being bowled for a duck.
This mini-collapse again forced the Whitby lads onto the back foot, falling from 65/2 to 70/4. But Fawcett developed more effective partnerships with Ron Lyth (27) and Kai Morris (26) to put Whitby back in the hot seat towards the end of the innings.
James Hall was brought to the crease after the dismissal of Morris and together with Fawcett in the last five overs propelled Whitby to a score in excess of 200, something which seemed highly unlikely at various points during the innings.
Fawcett fell on the first delivery of the last over for a fantastic, resistant knock of 80, continuing his great form with his third half century of the season.
Hall finished with an unbeaten 24 at more than a run all ball to see the home side to 213/8 off their 50 overs, spinner Grant Sowerby the pick of the bowlers for the visitors with 3/55 off 17 overs.
Whitby got their bowling efforts off to an ideal start with their each of their opening bowlers taking an early wicket between them, Richard Howe removing the experienced Daniel Morgans for two and Chris Lyth taking the wicket of Jack Vickerman for four to put the batting side on the back foot right from the word go.
This set the tone and continued throughout as the Darlington side obdurate and fairly negative in their approach to their innings, never really attempting to chase down the target set by Whitby, despite it being very gettable on a good wicket and fast outfield, and hence offering nothing to the bowlers.
Howe and Lyth, along with spinners James Hall and Will Donald all bowled tightly but were unable to force any wickets out of the opposition.
Darlington finished their innings on 167/5, only 46 runs behind and with five wickets in hand, which emphasises their mind-set throughout the second innings, much to the frustration of Whitby.
The result sees Whitby drop, with a game in hand, into joint second place in the league.
The game deficit is soon made up this weekend in a double header, hosting Northallerton on Saturday and travelling to rivals Saltburn on Sunday hoping to retain the top spot.
Whitby CC 2nds scored a 10-wicket win away to Sedgefield 2nds on Saturday.
The hosts batted first and toiled their way to 85 all out, with Steve Crowther and Mark Jackson taking four wickets apiece.
In reply, openers Aaron Leeman (43 not out) and Adam Hogarth (38 not out) raced past the total in just 13 overs as the 2nds closed on 91/0, leaving them just above mid-table as things stand.