Monkseaton CC 1st XI suffered a blow to their promotion hopes after a heavy defeat away to Alnmouth & Lesbury on Saturday.
A poor batting performance was to prove costly as skipper Mark Tunstall’s side went down by an 80-run margin to opponents who also have ambitions of being promoted from Northumberland & Tyneside Cricket League Division Six (North) at the end of the season.
Having won the toss and elected to bowl first on a good wicket in the picturesque setting of Howick Hall, Monkseaton would have been quite happy at the half-way stage, having kept the hosts to 135-7 from their 40 overs.
Alnmouth’s total owed much to Ian Pearson, who looked fortunate to survive a strong lbw appeal early in his innings before going on to make 42.
For Monkseaton, John Hewett bowled with his usual economy, returning figures of 1-14 from his nine overs.
All-rounder Ian McDine also proved hard to score againt, finishing with 1-21 from his allocation.
James Gowar (1-29), Garry Errington (1-27) and Andy Simms (2-32) were also among the wickets.
However, hopes of another victory for Monkseaton were quickly dashed as Alnmouth’s opening bowlers Oliver Tulip (8-3) and Harry Sutherland (2-17) tore through the top order to leave Monkseaton reeling at 25-6.
Arthur Sutherland (3-3) then chipped in with lower order wickets as Monkseaton could only manage to reach 55 all out in just 23.4 overs.
The defeat meant Monkseaton picked up just three points from the game, leaving them in third position, a point ahead of Alnmouth who recorded a league double over their opponents.
It means this Saturday’s visit of second-placed Ashington Rugby to Churchill Playing Fields takes on even greater significance for Monkseaton.
Ashington Rugby are currently 28 points ahead of Monkseaton, but crucially, Tunstall’s side still have a game in hand and know that a return to winning ways at the weekend will get their promotion push back on track.
l The 2nd XI suffered an eight-wicket defeat against Tynemouth at the weekend.
Batting first at Churchill Playing Fields, good knocks from Richard Hughes (43) and Sam Maguire (34) helped Monkseaton to reach 131 before being bowled out after 38 overs.
With key absences to the first team seeing the ever-dependable Hewett among those called up, skipper Garry Benns was left with an under-strength bowling line-up and, despite their best efforts, couldn’t prevent Tynemouth reaching their target in the 17th over for the loss of just two wickets.
On Saturday, the 2nd XI face another tough test as they travel to NTCL Division Six (South) leaders Cramlington (1pm start).