Hartlepool's second week of action saw their firsts take a five-wicket win away at Redcar and their second team securing a draw at home to Thornaby.
After a disappointing result in last week’s opener, the 1st XI were galvanised for a much better performance this week as they travelled to Redcar. Visiting teams can usually expect a bowler-friendly surface at Redcar, and it was no surprise when captain Marc Symington elected to bowl upon winning the toss.
Things started well with opening bowlers Symington (2-39) and Prosser capitalising on early movement with the new ball and making life difficult for the Redcar batsmen.
This proved to be a frustrating period for the away side as some excellent bowling from Prosser went unrewarded and it wasn’t until a constricting spell in the middle overs from Josh Cannon (2-14) and Adam Greenwell (3-28) that the 1st XI’s luck began to change.
Ultimately, it was a strong bowling performance; reinforced by a positive late spell from Mike Yuill (1-18), that saw the 1st XI restrict Redcar to 143 for nine.
In reply, an opening stand of 65 runs between Hartlepool batsmen Jonathan Rickard (44) and Neil Coverdale (22) provided the platform from which the 1st XI were able to complete a victory.
A measured performance from Craig Symington (36 not out) and, not be denied his say, some late hitting from Callum Prosser (19 not out), ensured the first 20 points of the season courtesy of a five-wicket win.
The 2nd XI welcomed one of the promotion favourites - Thornaby - to HQ, the Teesside team having been relegated from Premier Division last season. Wet weather caused a late change of wicket; the match being played on a good old fashioned sticky dog that provided a stern test for both teams’ batsmen.
Hartlepool won the toss and inserted Thornaby, hoping to make good use of a drying wicket. After a steady start Adil Ahmed made the first breakthrough with a leg-stump yorker before Chris Smith pulled off a stunning diving catch.
Visiting captain Paul Allen decided attack was the best course of action, scoring 49 before being stumped off Smith. Finding some turn and significant bounce, Smith was the pick of the bowlers (4-39) although the final four wickets added 90 runs with some late hitting and Thornaby were all out for 191 in the final over.
In reply ‘Pool made a slow but steady start. After losing Johnston, Shurmer and Rhoden started to score fluently, even though the ball was leaping alarmingly at times. Some poor shot selection saw a clutch of wickets fall to Allen and thoughts turned to survival and avoiding defeat.
Allen capped a fine game with five for 20 off 14 overs but was unable to pry the final pair from the crease as Ahmed and Smith batted out the last three overs to secure the draw on 125 for nine.
Next weekend is a double header and captain Rhoden will be hoping for a much improved performance from his batsmen.