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Marton held to a draw

Marton passed up a glorious chance to go well clear at the top of the table when they were made to scramble for a draw yesterday by a Normanby Hall team who started the day at the foot of the table.

With every single game across the North-East washed out on Saturday the fact that leaders Marton’s game against nomadic Normanby was scheduled for Sunday at Redcar looked to have handed them a golden opportunity to increase their 12 point lead, but in the end they were just glad to salvage six bonus points and maintain the status quo.

Some assured Normanby batting made them look anything but relegation candidates as Shahid Khan and Dan Hodgson, free from Yorkshire duties for this match, shared a productive second wicket partnership worth 99 runs that took the Hall from 16 for one to 115 for two.

Khan was the more aggressive of the pair, striking two huge sixes on his way to 60 from 103 balls, but just when it looked like Normanby were set for a big first innings score he danced down the wicket to Upul Indrasiri (3-61 from 17 overs) and was stumped.

But the biggest blow was reserved for Pakistani Sohaib Maqsood’s dismissal when, after moving serenely to 15, he was caught one-handed inches inside the long off boundary, and from a position of strength at 135 for two Hall lost their way in the final overs as seven wickets fell for the addition of just 41 runs.

Hodgson was among this clatter of wickets, eventually going for 54 made from 118 balls, and with Aussie spinner Tom Reid picking up 4-32 Normanby were pegged back to a total of 177 for nine.

But this was to prove more than ample as Marton struggled from the off in the run chase.

They lost both their professionals with just eight on the board, and even though Alex Wardell (41) and Chris Veazey (30) shared a 44 run stand, wickets began to fall regularly once they were parted as Maqsood (3-38 from 17 overs) and skipper Leigh Beaumont (3-14 from 17 overs) really turned the screw to leave the leaders on 124 for nine.

The last pair managed to see out the last five balls, although Reid came within a whisker of being bowled from the final delivery of the match.

In the final analysis Marton remained well within reach of the chasing pack whilst Normanby deservedly took the lion’s share of the spoils, their 16 point haul lifting them three places up the standings and out of the danger zone.

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