Phil Mustard showed his class with a stunning century as Hartlepool defeated Middlesbrough at a busy Park Drive on Saturday.
While the weather that was promised did disappoint, the action certainly did not, with both sides scoring in excess of 200 on a perfectly presented wicket.
The visitors batted first and must have fancied their chances after posting 249-3.
Their side was depleted somewhat by players wanting to watch their football side, but they showed no signs of rolling over, with their main players standing up and performing.
Despite losing David Bruton for 9, Middlesbrough made it to 82 before the next wicket fell, Callum Prosser and Dale Metcalfe grabbing a wicket apiece.
That though was the only highlight for the bowlers as James Lowe and South African Steven Reeves set about the Pool attack.
With both players scoring freely, it has to be questioned why more than the four bowlers were not used by skipper Chris Harrison, one of them being himself. Lowe, who likes playing at Park Drive, ensured his trend of scoring runs there continued as he scored an undefeated 136 from 157 balls - the ex-Durham player striking 12 fours and four sixes in his knock.
Reeves played a very good supporting roll, making 48 before he was dismissed by Lewis Stabler. His knock was vital though, turning the strike over to Lowe as the visitors posted a very competitive total.
Pool started strongly with Neil Coverdale and John Watson taking a liking to the Boro opening bowlers.
They raced to a partnership of 91 before Watson was dismissed. He was caught for 38 by Lowe from the bowling of Mike Cook, which triggered the arrival of Phil Mustard.
The Durham man made his intentions clear from ball one, scoring at every opportunity.
Coverdale almost went unnoticed as he played an anchor role.
He himself passed 50, making an undefeated 75 from 139 balls, but importantly played to the strengths of the team and Mustard’s clean striking.
Mustard displayed the kind of skills that saw him selected by England several years ago, striking the balls to all parts and punishing any loose bowling. The bowlers simply had no answers, at at one stage they also ran out of balls, with Mustard comfortably clearing the ropes on six occasions.
He passed 50 at a canter, his century even quicker, and won the game with eight overs remaining!
It was one of the best individual knocks witnessed at Park Drive, certainly in recent years.
Players and spectators from both sides could simply watch in awe as ‘Colonel’ bludgeoned his side to victory.
Pool had struggled to make score of 200 a couple of years ago, but now scores of 300 seem possible!
Mustard finished the game undefeated on 132, facing just 69 balls as the Middlesbrough attack looked helpless.
His knock contained six maximums and 15 fours as the Sunderland man brought an abrupt end to proceedings.
Middlesbrough: Lowe not out 136, Bruton ct Tebbett b Prosser 9, Knaggs c Stabler b Metcalfe 23, Reeves b Stabler 48, Rashid not out 13. Extras 20. Total for 3 wickets 249.
Bowling: Stabler 1-66, Prosser 1-55, Metcalfe 1-60, Carson 0-61
Hartlepool: Coverdale not out 75, Watson c owe b Cook 38, Mustard not out 132. Extras 7. Total for 1 wicket 252.
Bowling: Cook 1-56, Shrindal 0-41, Reeves 0-91, Alexander 0-21, Lowe 0-13, Bruton 0-25