Hartlepool coast to victory

First published in Sport by

Ecstacy, agony and exhaustion – that just about summed up the most momentous 36 hours in Great Ayton’s history.

The ecstacy came when the village club won through to the last four of the National T20 Cup by beating Sheffield club Hallam on Sunday morning, then the agony followed when they dashed back up the motorway for an early evening date with Barnard Castle in the NYSD Fifteens Premier final, only to lose their title as holders on the last ball of a nerve tingling match.

And then the exhaustion seeped through when they were routed in yesterday’s Premier Division match at Park Drive, the previous night’s celebrations of national glory catching up with them as they were skittled by Hartlepool for their lowest ever top flight score of 28. Craig Symington took 7-14 in 9 overs, his devastating burst including a hat-trick, while Callum Prosser bagged the other three. Pools then rushed through to a ten wicket win in just 23 balls at the crease.

Table-topping Darlington were saved by the rain in an extraordinary game at Feethams. Jonny Barnes did his familiar strangulation job on the opposition with an opening spell of 17 overs 4-18, and Seaton looked done for when they slipped to 70-8.

But visiting skipper Stuart Lobb crashed a defiant 48 from 34 balls to lift his team’s total to a decent 140, and the Quakers then crumbled to 42-6 as Lobb and Danny Thomas blasted out the cream of their batting. But with defeat imminent the heavens opened to drown any further hopes of play and salvage six crucial draw points for the fortunate leaders.

Richmondshire were unable to fully capitalise on Darlington’s travails as they were held to a high scoring draw at Redcar, and as a result were only able to lop two points off the Quakers lead which remains healthy at 27 points. The Dalesmen racked up 219-7 before declaring after 45 overs, but the Seasiders wouldn’t be budged as they batted through 55 overs to end on 180-6 and gain 11 vital points themselves.

With Marske picking up 8 points in an abandoned game at Barnard Castle it now looks increasing likely that Saltburn, who were beaten by six wickets at Marton where the defeat earned them just 2 points, will be unable to avoid the drop. They are now 38 points from safety with just four games remaining.

The heat was turned up in the Division One promotion race when Normanby Hall and Whitby recorded 25 point victories to narrow the gap on leaders Blackhall and second-placed Norton who both also won - but only picked up 20 points in doing so. Just 26 points now cover the top four.

In the Durham Cricket League Burnmoor went back to the top of the table with a hard fought victory over Easington. Former leaders Tudhoe, meanwhile, were being held by Castle Eden despite an unbeaten 131 from Danny Thexton. The Moor now lead by 6 points.

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