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Friday, 29 May 2015

Thompson’s century caps sparkling season for Leazes

THE league’s leading run scorer once again sparkled as he helped champions Hexham Leazes finish off their season in style with another 12 points against a gutsy Prudhoe.

Ben Thompson capped off a remarkable personal campaign with an unbeaten century as the Leazes ran out winners by 57 runs.

Batting first, Hexham amassed 213-2 from their 42 overs as skipper Griffiths made a quick 32. before Thompson and Webster shared an 181 partnership until Webster was bowled off the final ball for a fine 71.

The Prudhoe bowlers stuck at their task with young Ryan Chamberlain bowling well and Mitchell bowling with variety to get the most from a good batting wicket.

In reply, Prudhoe had the worst possible start as Dan Toward bowled Howden with the first ball.

Thompson and Alnwick, however, ran really well and were starting to build a good partnership before Thompson fell for 25 off the bowling of Armstrong.

Newton was now on at the other end and both he and Armstrong started with three maidens each as the Leazes tied up Prudhoe.

Wickets then began to fall regularly but Alnwick started to open up and he reached a fine 50, the first to be scored against the Leazes in the league this season.

When the returning Stevenson had him caught by Armstrong, though, Prudhoe targeted the 150 they needed for maximum batting points and Mitchell was to achieve this with some lusty blows.

All four main Leazes bowlers took two wickets each and the innings was finished off with a wicket for Griffiths and for young Elliott as Prudhoe finished 57 runs short in the final over.

Credit goes to Prudhoe as this was the first time a team had scored above 120 against the Leazes this season.

Leazes emulated Haydon Bridge’s double winning year from the previous year, with Bridge this year finishing the season with an easy victory over nine-men Allendale.

The visitors batted first with only extras getting into double figures as all three Bridge bowlers excelled, especially ‘Banty’ Stephenson. He had the old star Stephen Lee in all sorts of trouble before bowling him for a duck.

The Bridge batsmen quickly knocked the runs off with young Mitchell scoring his first runs of the season - not before being dropped twice by Lee though! Joint top scorer Cunningham was also dropped twice by Lee.

Haydon Bridge would like to thank all sponsors, with main one Specsavers probably expecting a visit from the unlucky Lee!

Haltwhistle took to the challenge of batting first against Newton under their wing with Wallace and Richardson providing the platform to their team’s victory.

Wallace cleared the boundaries with every opportunity and Richardson pulled off some elegant shots around the wicket before pushing one back straight to bowler.

This brought Armstrong to the crease and the new pair looked to continue the good start, Wallace continued to dominate the bowling before missing a straight one to end a wonderful innings of 53.

This led to the quick fall of another three wickets, including that of Armstrong who was dismissed for 40 from the bowling of O’Neill.

Captain Lloyd and Dan Parker looked to get Haltwhistle to 200 with some excellent shots before Lloyd was stumped off the bowling of Telfer.

Bell then helped take the score past a double century while an excellent piece of keeping saw the demise of Parker.

This brought Mike Wilcox to the crease and he showed what a big miss with the bat he will be to Haltwhistle as he has made the decision to retire from cricket.

He struck a mighty four from the last ball to take Halty to 237, and all at the club would like to congratulate him, and thank him, on a scintillating career.

After the break, Newton looked to chase down the score but some tight bowling from Thompson and Armstrong limited the scoring.

Thompson took the wickets of the two openers in his spell before spinners Lloyd and Swallow were introduced.

Some excellent batting from the very impressive O’Neill dried up the wickets for Halty which also allowed Balkwill to score quickly as he passed 50.

With the score at 100-2, Halty brought on Bell and Lee to see if they could break the Partnership and it wasn’t long before the former claimed the wicket of young O’Neill after an excellent knock.

From then on, Bell and Lee ripped through the middle order of the Newton batting line up, also ending Balkwill’s innings of 86.

As a last hurrah Lloyd brought on Wilcox to bowl a couple of the remaining overs only for the Master to take a wicket as Newton ended on 83-9, Bell picking up four wickets.

For the second year in a row, Wylam have to contend themselves with the runners-up spot despite another excellent season.

They brought their campaign to a successful end with a 50 run triumph away to Stamfordham, Graeme Rowell again top scoring for the club.

Just weeks after making a century and a half in their win over Haltwhistle, Rowell again caught the eye with a well made 81 consisiting of eight fours and four sixes.

He helped Wylam reach 140 which was too much of a challenging total for their hosts, whose top scorer was Duncan on 42.

It was all too easy for Humshaugh on the final day as they returned from Matfen with a comprehensive eight wicket victory.

With young Ed Crawford and Reid both taking three wickets each, Matfen, best served by Rithcie with 33, were limited to 100.

That goal was no problem for Humshaugh who were carried over the line by the not out pairing of McKenna (35no) and Wraith (29no).

Stocksfield finished up in fourth place as they rounded off a steady year with a 23 run victory over Benwell Hill.

Despite the best efforts of Hill’s opening bowler Archbold, who had six victims to his name, the hosts managed to post an imposing total of 177, with thanks mainly to 72 from Unwin.

Robertson, with 34, top scored in reply for Benwell but they fell short, James Tolchard finishing with 3-20.