An excellent win for Whitby 1sts at Bishop Auckland on Saturday keeps them well in the promotion hunt with the halfway point of the season approaching.
The victory owed much to a 139-run unbroken partnership between Richard Howe (101 not out) and Paul Buck (73 not out) which took them to their target with five overs to spare. Whitby skipper Buck won the toss and invited the home side to bat on an overcast but dry day.
The pitch looked good and the home side’s openers had little difficulty putting on 40 for the first wicket before Andrew Menzies had Bishop’s Australian import, James Dinger, well caught by Buck.
Well disciplined bowling to the old virtues of line and length helped the Whitby side to contain the home batsmen.
In addition, Richard Howe bowled with pace and aggression, taking two for 38 in a 13-over spell.
Then came the turn of the spinners. Lengthy spells from James Hall and Will Donald saw them take three wickets each despite good knocks from Scott Oldfield (69) and Ellis Horner (54).
Whitby’s outcricket was on song as there was another catch for Buck, one for Leeman and two stumpings for keeper Ron Lyth, leaving Bishop Auckland on 192/9 after 50 overs.
Whitby had bowled and fielded well but it seemed as if it would be to no avail as the top-order batsmen collapsed in the face of good, tight bowling from the home side and some poor decision-making from Whitby’s batsmen.
Whitby found themselves firstly on 5/2, then 58/5 when Buck came to the crease to join Howe. A partnership, at first based on stout resistance began to blossom as they picked off the bad balls, despatching them suitably to the boundary and giving no chances.
In the end, their strokeplay entertained the crowd in swashbuckling style and set up a 20 point victory for the visiting Whitby side.
This follows a couple of recent defeats and should inspire great confidence in the Whitby players.
They now lie in second place in the NYSD Division One table but face a tough home game against league-leaders Billingham this Saturday.