Bates up to third with games in hand on leaders Hebburn

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BATES Cottages seconds travelled to Ulgham for a crucial Division B2 encounter on Saturday as both sides looked to move into the automatic promotion spots with a win.

Despite heavy overnight rain the covered pitch looked a beauty and Bates skipper Gibson chose to bat on winning the toss.

Some early accuracy from Thompson removed both Gibson and Allan and saw Bates in trouble at 13-2.

But a partnership between Wilson and Fenwick then followed, with some positive batting from both players as Ulgham struggled to cover the short boundary.

By the time Wilson was out for an excellent 56, both players had put on 120 for the third wicket to leave Bates in a positive situation going into the last ten.

Fenwick continued to impress, with support from Lambert and then wicket-keeper Barnes, who put a couple of sixes into the tree at the mid-wicket boundary.

Some late wickets fell once Fenwick and Barnes departed and Bates were eventually all out off the last ball of the innings for 206.

Ulgham were watchful from the start with great accuracy from Lambert and Binns opening the bowling.

However the second block of ten proved more successful as first Tait and then Skinner started to find their range and put Bates under some pressure.

At 102-1 off 25 overs, Ulgham showed some confidence and, although the run rate was always creeping up, they had wickets in hand for the eventual onslaught in the latter overs.

Some great accuracy from junior bowlers Mavin and Allan in the middle kept things tight, and by the time Wilson arrived at the crease for Ulgham they required seven an over off the last 12.

Enter Bates slow right armer Chris Thomas, whose lack of pace confused the Ulgham batsmen who were looking to score quickly, and with a well set field on the ropes they resorted to dancing down the track to try and hit out of the park.

Not so, as first Gowland and then Wilson were both undone by the same tactic, clean bowled by the spinner.

Still Ulgham refused to accept defeat, and some huge hitting by first Hornsey and then Barrass kept things moving.

And 60 to win from four overs became 45 from three, but despite a few more sixes that cleared the ropes Bates held on with a tidy last three overs from Binns, Mavin and Allan ensuring there would be no successful chase.

Bates move up to third with a game in hand on leaders Hebburn and entertain second bottom Monkseaton thirds at Bates next weekend as they hope to continue their promotion push.