Defeat For Hartlepool's Strengthened Seconds
With no first XI fixture being played due to rain, it was a strengthened second team that welcomed Billingham Synthonia to Park Drive, but they were unable to clinch victory.
2nd XI Succumb To Disappointing Loss
Skipper Rhoden was able to call upon a number of proven match-winners from the first team as he hoped to start the second half of the season with a win. The opening day fixture at Billingham had seen ‘Pool hang on for a valiant draw.
The game started well for the home side with an early wicket for Rob Walker after Rhoden won the toss and decided to field.
An attacking cameo from Tayyab Mamtaz threatened to shift the momentum before 1st XI strike bowler Callum Prosser bowled him with a fine yorker. Meanwhile young Elliott Holmes was crafting an innings of Boycott-esque patience before miscuing a pull off Prosser (showing his diversity with a few slow left-armers) to depart for 55.
Visiting skipper Mike Atkinson took advantage of a small boundary to launch Smith into the gardens in compiling 43. Synners finished their innings on 200 for nine, possibly a little disappointing when a larger score was on the cards with five overs left.
In reply, ‘Pool got off to a terrible start as Rhoden suffered the kind of freak dismissal that only those completely out of form seem to suffer – the ball ricocheting off various body parts before hitting the stumps.
After the loss of Dan Shurmer, it was left to Jack Wilkinson and Alan Tebbett to rebuild the innings. Both demonstrated their first team credentials with careful negotiation of difficult bowling. Wilkinson was the more fluent of the two compiling a fine 54 before chasing a wide one.
Following Wilkinson’s dismissal the almost inevitable collapse occurred; young Elliott Wing extracted considerable turn and bounce to snare five wickets with his off-spin. In the end ‘Pool were dismissed for 145, last man Smith being caught attempting to secure enough runs for a draw.
Another heavy defeat for Darlington RA means that the seconds remain second bottom and are still 38 points away from safety. A big improvement will be required over the second half of the season if another season in Division 1 is to be secured.
© Cricket World 2014