It was a mixed weekend for Hartlepool, whose first team celebrated a comprehensive win although their second team continues to struggle.
Great Ayton 1st XI v Hartlepool 1st XI
After holding on for a draw in last Monday’s Bank Holiday fixture, Hartlepool travelled to Great Ayton for what would prove to be a much better performance and a truly comprehensive victory.
Pool skipper Marc Symington won the toss and elected to bowl in what looked like bowler-friendly conditions. Things started brightly for Pool with Callum Prosser (2-28) and Ollie Mole (1-21) creating pressure, which led to early wickets.
Change bowlers Jon Rickard and Craig Symington continued the procession as Ayton were never allowed to get going. Rickard (2-13) made the most of any turn on offer to strike twice while Symington bowled with great control to return figures of five for 21 from 10 overs as Pool routed Ayton for just 86.
Hartlepool openers Rickard and Neil Coverdale wasted no time in demolishing the Ayton total as the visitors soared past the 86 runs required in just 14.3 overs.
Rickard batted superbly to end on 58 not out from just 45 balls - hitting three sixes and five fours in the process while Coverdale found the boundary three times in his unbeaten 22.
This was a stunning victory for Hartlepool to make up for more disappointing results in recent weeks.
2nd XI vs Northallerton
The 2nds welcomed fellow strugglers Northallerton to Park Drive, hoping to bounce back from last week’s dismal performance and things started brightly with skipper Rhoden winning the toss and electing to bowl.
Town’s opening pair started comfortably, putting away the bad ball as Ahmed struggled with his line and Smith struggled to find a good length.
It was Adil Ahmed who made the breakthrough as Lewis Hall took a quite brilliant one-handed catch to dismiss the dangerous Albert Aurelius; “Dilly” then produced a pair of jaffas to uproot the stumps of numbers two and three.
Young Nicky Rathbone was bowling a fine spell of off-spin but without much luck as the ‘Pool fielding failed to maintain their usual high standards. Nicky did get some reward and finished with one for 54 off 17 overs as the visitors posted 203 for six.
On the fast scoring Park Drive wicket the visitor's total was par at best and the home batsmen were confident of rising to the challenge.
Unfortunately it was not to be the case as a number of batsmen played injudicious shots as the home team slumped to 36 for seven.
Even a highest score in senior cricket by Lewis Hall (20) could not add any respectability to the final total and Pool were bowled out for 73.
Hartlepool are now rooted to the bottom of the table, some 38 points from safety. With the next five games against teams tipped for promotion, a vast improvement is going to be needed to prevent further embarrassment.
© Cricket World 2014