County League Division One –Eckington 191/5 (27pts) beat Marehay 172ao (4pts) by 19 runs
AFTER the previous week’s excellent victory, Marehay travelled with confidence to Eckington but fell to a narrow defeat on a difficult batting wicket.
Marehay slip to eighth place but only 29 points behind fourth place they still can finish in the top half with a good run in their final four games, starting with a home fixture against bottom team Clay Cross this Saturday.
With overnight rain running under the covers the wicket had considerable wet patches so it was no surprise that Rich Wood decided to bowl first upon winning the toss.
It looked the right decision as the ball misbehaved as early as the first over and the home batsmen made a very watchful start as eight maidens were bowled in the first dozen overs.
The wicket of Lewis Staniforth(4) came as he chipped Kyte to the hands of Gaz Buckley at cover.
This brought the dangerous Ruhan Pretorius to the crease but the South African struggled early on to find his timing and was lucky to survive a couple of attempted big shots.
His partnership with Andy Firth developed as the score progressed to 83/1 at drinks. Firth (36) then fell in the next over as Waldo Lategan executed a smart leg-side stumping off the bowling of Martin Camm. By now Pretorius (48) was playing more fluently but he fell two short of his half-century after slicing Dean Mills (1/42) high for Jonno Bradder to take the catch at point.
The hosts built on 123-3 with 17 overs left to finish on 191-5 which looked challenging on a tricky wicket.
In reply, openers Camm and Mat Bailey made a solid start taking the score to 52/0 after 15 overs which included a short delay as rain stopped play temporarily.
Camm (23) was the first wicket to fall as he drove Wayne Dye straight to mid-off but Bailey and Andy Walters added a further 40 in the next ten overs as Marehay were handily placed at 97/2 after 28 overs.
However, Bailey (31) fell in the next over after being adjudged to have edged behind off Adam Leonard and was soon followed by Walters (26) who was undone by extra bounce of the pitch to edge Leonard to slip. Lategan and Stephen Lee looked to play with caution against left arm spinner Leonard in particular as the ball was turning and bouncing but Lee then had to call for a runner as he pulled his groin.
After showing patience, both fell in the same over to Jonathan Balfour – Lee (8) caught at deep mid wicket and Lategan (9) getting a leading edge to mid-on. With Dave Buckley (LBW for 2) lasting only six balls the visitors fell to 119/6 with 13 overs left and they and were in desperate need of a partnership. Jonno Bradder (18 off 12 balls) hit four quick boundaries but then sliced Leonard to point to leave Gaz Buckley and Kyte requiring 50 off the last nine overs.
They added 24 runs from just 21 balls to close in on the target but Kyte became Leanord’s (5/58) fifth wicket as he was stumped for 15 and Buckley (15) followed in the next over to Pretorius. Last man Mills survived four balls from Pretorius before being bowled to give Eckington victory by 19 runs.