HARTLEPOOL look safe in the NYSD Premier Division after an incredible 10-wicket win over Great Ayton.
Pool, outplayed at Seaton on Saturday, bowled Great Ayton out for only 28 at Park Drive, Craig Symington the hero with 7-14.
The North Yorkshire side must be sick of the sight of Pool.
Earlier in the season, Pool defeated Great Ayton by 10 wickets, having bowled them out for 86. That was a great performance and result, but yesterday’s game was even better.
Pool had been on a poor run, looked deflated and had the threat of relegation looming over them.
On the other hand, Ayton had won on Saturday, just made it to a televised national knockout competition having won on Sunday morning and then just missed out on glory in the Fifteen15 final on Sunday afternoon.
You would have thought Ayton were firm favourites for this one.
However Pool put in not only one of their best performances of the season, but possibly the best over the last five years.
Craig Symington and Callum Prosser were relentless in their tight lines when bowling, and with overcast conditions favouring the home side, they made a jaded Ayton side suffer a humiliating and horrendous batting collapse.
Symington was instrumental, taking career best figures of 7-14 from 10 overs as he got the ball to move around in both the air and off the wicket.
Prosser also bowled admirably, claiming the other three wickets as the visitors were dismissed for a paltry 28 – their last six wickets amazingly falling for three runs.
Symington was not content with his best return – he also managed to grab himself a hat trick.
It is a rare event in any form of cricket, but made even more spectacular with the fact that he normally keeps wicket rather than bowling.
The on-field celebrations from Pool were expected and justified as a resigned and shocked away side got changed quickly, wanting the second half underway quickly in order to make a quick return home after a punishing weekend on the road playing cricket.
Pool made light work of their victory target, reaching it in 3.5 overs as Neil Coverdale and Liam Prosser showed the opposing batsman how to play against a swinging ball.
This win was not down to the fact Ayton were jaded, it was quite simply a superb performance by Pool, showing exactly what they have been capable of all year.
They have shown glimpses of their talent during the season, but never had two or three players performing together at the same time.
Yesterday was different as they all played to the best of their ability and outclassed their opponents, comfortably at that.
Yesterday, the fight, belief, and skill which has been lacking in so many games this year was in evidence.
It’s something the members and committee will want to see again, and something the players will need to play with if they are to progress away from the lower reaches of the Premier league.
Whether it be coincidence, purely tactical or inspirational move, installing Mike Yuill as team captain has had the desired effect.
Hopefully, he can continue to bring the best out of people and help the club move forwards.
It was a shame, although the result was great, that the game finished within two hours, with many of the spectators coming to enjoy an afternoon of cricket, arrived only to see Great Ayton leaving the ground.
Great Ayton: Batchelor c M Symington b C Symington 0, Hendrie c Johnston b Prosser 1, Harker c Yuill b C Symington 4, Harper b Prosser 14, Grainge c Symington b Prosser Thompson c Yuill b C Symington 6, Liddle c Johnson b C Symington 0, Marsey c Johnston b C Symington 0, Croft c Rickard b C Symington 0, Pennock b Symington 0, Witherley not out 0; Extras 3. Total (all out) 28. Bowling: Prosser 3-11 Symington 7-14
Hartlepool: Coverdale not out 14, L Prosser not out 15; Extras 0. Total (0 wkt) 29