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|Hartlepool came away with only 5 points from Synthonia after the offspin
bowling of Martin Cull completely dominated the match. Hartlepool
began brightly enough when bowling with 2 early wickets including the
catch behind off Anthony Fawcett's bowling. Synthonia rallied
briefly, then subsided to 118 for 8 before man onf the match Cull made an
impact with the bat to take the home team to a more than challenging total
on a difficult pitch. Marc Symingtomn with 4 wickets and Saman
Warushivithana with 3 for 21 from 13 overs signalled the problems ahead
for Hartlepool when they batted.
Early wickets from Cull who bowled throughout saw Hartlepool struggling to make any impact on the total. With unpredictable bounce (or lack of it as 2 of the photos show clearly) and turn on a dust bowl of a wicket made 180 seem like 280. Hartlepool looked in danger of losing until an unbroken 7th wicket partnership between Symington and Percifer took them to safety but well below the 75% cut-off for the draw points to count. Symington remained unbeaten with a half-century in a battling innings against the spin of Cull who finished with 3 for 28 from 25 overs.
The 2nds had an entertaining draw with Northallerton but had only themselves to blame for not gaining the victory. They collected 13 points each but Northallerton were grateful for some dropped catches (some howlers) to survive.
For local fans with an eye on the promotion and relegation battles in the various divisions it looks as if the Division 1 championship will go to the wire as it did last year. Currently Marton lead Barnard Castle by 5 points with Redcar a further 6 points adrift. All teams have 3 matches left and the crunch may well be this weekend as the top 2 meet.
Marton v Barnard Castle
Marton v Yarm
Barnard Castle v Marton
Darlington v Barnard Castle
Redcar v Normanby Hall
Redcar v Marske
Normanby v Redcar
Barnard Castle v Seaton Carew
Darlington v Marton
If Marton were to go on and clinch the title it would mean no relegation from the Premier League this season. Redcar or Barnard Castle as champions would see one team relegated from Premier League. Hartlepool are probably mathematically safe with 2 difficult matches left, Guisborough away and Marton at home. Thornaby and Northallerton are most vulnerable at present and they meet this weekend - so one of them will lose points to keep them out of reach of teams above (including Hartlepool)!
In Division 2 Whitby lead the way by 2 points with a game in hand. Darlington RA who were deducted 25 points for a breach of player registration kept hopes alive by beating Whitby convincingly at the weekend. Hartlepool could well have a say on the final day of the season when they set off for the Turnbull Ground. Should be good.