BATES Cottages made the trip to Warkworth in the Northumberland League premier divison on Saturday, and a combination of player unavailability and holidays left them with an under-strength XI, making the game a tough ask against a side unbeaten at home all season.
Skipper Symington was brave in putting the home side in after winning the toss, and a stand of 66 for the first wicket between openers Pringle and Dargue was not the start Bates wanted.
It took the skipper himself to strike the first blow, removing both openers in successive overs.
Along with Kilner, the skipper found some good control and both bravely bowled a full 13-over spell unbroken, which allowed the visitors a chance to get a real foot-hold in the game, sharing six wickets between them.
Dan Younger was the one to hold firm, with a strong innings of 86 at exactly a run a ball, however, once he departed to the returning Matty Walton, the home side seemed to lose momentum.
Walton’s second spell was awesome, taking four wickets in as many overs to finish the innings and restrict Warkworth to 218.
Bates needed a good start, and Andrew Lamb looked in great touch early on, however, finding a partner to stay with him for any length of time proved difficult, and once Symington was out for a duck, Bates were 38-2 and in trouble.
A steady partnership between Lamb and Allan got the visitors up to 77-2, which then became 77-4 once Allan was caught and then Lamb was disastrously run out on 49 just short of what would have been an excellent half century.
Still the batsmen could not get going, Fenwick, Welch and Wilson all departing, and Bates looked dead and buried at 157-7.
Enter all-rounder Walton, who ended his poor run with the bat with a truly sparkling innings.
Perhaps the borrowed bat helped his cause, but he proceeded to batter the attack to all parts of the ground in a brutal innings of 91 not out off only 52 balls, which will go down as one of the best knocks seen by a visiting player at Warkworth in many a year.
Finding a partner in Kilner at the other end who was prepared to dig in and stay with him, Walton single handedly won the game for the visitors, hitting his fifth six to win the game in style with eight overs to spare.
A third win on the bounce for a resurgent Bates side, who move out of the relegation places for the first time this season, and a welcome 30 points