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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Masterful Renton misses out on century

A FLAWLESS display of clean hitting from Hedley Renton saw Humshaugh to an emphatic eight wicket victory over Haltwhistle.

With 10 fours and seven sixes to his name, Renton didn’t give the fielders a chance even though his final total of 95 was made up of a staggering 82 from boundaries.

It was a true masterclass with the bat but he was to be denied a maiden century as he was caught by John Armstrong off Will Forster.

By that time, he and captain Allan Murray had done the damage as their partnership of 120 following the early departure of Nick Reid saw them over the line for the 10 points.

Renton proved pivotal in the field to restrict Halty to 150-9, claiming the catch of Phil Thompson to end his opening stand of 80 with skipper John Richardson.

Haltwhistle had got off to a flyer after 20 overs, but Ed Crawford bowled well to take three wickets to start the decline.

In came veteran Dickie Purvis and his quest for best bowling averages in the league was boosted as he ended with five wickets.

On a day when all of the top four won, Ben Thompson’s century helped Hexham Leazes close the gap at the top by two points.

He again formed a formidable partnership with his skipper Ben Griffiths as Hexham put on 239 on a wet wicket, defeating Benwell Hill III by 141 runs.

The pair had to see off some good bowling from Hill’s opening duo of Dave Archbold and Thiranga Darshana, the score on a miserly 40 after 14 overs.

But they soon upped the run rate with the introduction of the change bowlers, making a combined 131 before Griffiths was caught after 10 fours and a six.

Stephen Donnison made the most of a rare start for the firsts, but it was Thompson and Paul Newton who really took it to Benwell to fire their side to 239 runs.

Thompson was particularly on fire, hitting Archbold for six to bring up his 100 and then finishing on 109 in a fiery final over.

New boy Dershana was the stand-out batsman for Hill after a shaky start due to three wickets from Leazes’ Dan Toward.

Paul Newton finished things off with three wickets as Hill were all out without reaching triple figures.

Leaders Haydon Bridge had a century maker of their own to be thankful for, even if they had to settle for just 10 points in their three wicket success over Stocksfield II.

While wickets fell regularly around him, opener Joe Barber looked like he could have batted all day as he looked comfortable at the crease despite facing some good deliveries.

He remained in bat from ball one – and it was a good job for the frontrunners as Robert Gibson was the only other batsman to get past single figures!

Bridge were chasing 157 set by Stocksfield who put in a decent display despite losing Phil Bewick early on.

Graham Tolchard and Paul Watson put on a good second wicket stand but failed to up the momentum after a change of bowlers, while Sam Beedle again shone for his side. Their patient knocks were to see the team end up about 20 runs short in the end.

While their teammates were away on a playing tour of Scarborough, a makeshift Wylam kept hold of third spot with a win over Mitford.

Without a number of regulars, they weren’t their usual fluent self as they opened the batting but Scott Collingwood, coming in at number eight, made a big contribution to put them in a better position.

He and Angus Wright formed a good late order stand to help their side to 180, David Wigham and Richard Brown helping to keep the score down for Mitford.

Losing Matthew Ellinor early was a blow for Mitford, but opener Colin Crowe rebuilt the innings with good contributions from Tery Dunn and Jack Taylor.

But Mark Rowell and Wright were making things difficult for the batting order with some tight bowling to put Wylam in control.

A late stand by Wigham and Kieran Mole saw things go to the wire, but Wylam prevailed to pick up the 10 points.

A big win for Stamfordham over Prudhoe puts them back in with a chance of beating the drop, the basement side victors by 35 runs.

The struggling hosts put their recent woes behind them with a solid batting display, openers Ian Donkin and Tim Anderson putting on 100 for the first wicket.

They started slowly due to some sensible batting and they were only on 17 after nine overs, before taking it up a notch to 86 at the halfway stage.

The introduction of Stokoe into Prudhoe’s bowling line-up saw a change in fortunes as things slowed significantly and wickets began to tumble.

In reply, Prudhoe started like a house on fire as Jak Alnwick and Zak Walker hit 40 off the opening three overs.

But while Alnwick was more sensible with his shot selection, Walker continued on the offensive and was caught by Anderson off Donkin.

It was a theme which ran throughout the order as the tactic of all-out attack saw wickets fall, Stamfordham putting the pressure on with some good bowling from Donkin, Graham Anderson and Richard Gardener as they were removed for 169.

Although Eddie Scott worked wonders to get the pitch at Matfen Hall in good order, but guests Allendale benefited by winning the toss and electing to bowl first on a drying pitch.

One of Matfen's challenges has been losing early wickets, and within the first 11 overs, they found themselves at 32-4, with both Amit Sunda and Kendall Nolan bowling well.

Returning skipper Pilkington, fresh from two weeks off, joined Charlie Robson at the crease and a sensible rebuilding process began, mixing watchfulness with assertive batting when presented with bad balls.

A 58 run partnership was ended in the 24th over when Pilkington was brilliantly caught by Geoff Sparke at long on.

Robson continued his fine work, though, and guided the tail to a total of 136 all out, scoring an impressive 72 individually.

Matfen would have been fairly confident as they started their bowling, and an early wicket to Robson, who bowled eight maidens in his nine overs, suggested this would be the case.

But his reward brought together the two South Africans, Nolan and Hugo Bothma, and they built an impressive partnership, and despatched any loose bowling.

After a tight opening spell, the bowlers did not find their lengths and conceded too many boundary balls as they guided Allendale to a comfortable eight wicket win.

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