22 May 2024

McKinleys put Sutton to the sword

Fantastic centuries from brothers Ashley and Connor McKinley set up a fine 153-run victory over Sutton on Saturday.

The pair both batted superbly, setting up a testing total before the bowlers once again did the business. The firsts are looking to get their season back on track as they sit in sixth place, still with eyes on a top- four finish.

Winning the toss, home skipper Ashley McKinley opted to bat first when the first XI entertained Sutton on Saturday. With the pitch more or less under cover for two weeks, it would be interesting to see if there would be any assistance early on in what looked like a good surface for batting.

Despite the amount of rain in recent weeks, Southside looked in good order. Daniel Fincham (13) and Ash McKinley opened the batting and added 57 for the first wicket before the former was caught at deep extra cover in the seventh over as Patrington flew out of the blocks. Wicketkeeper Connor McKinley joined his brother at the crease, playing watchfully to start and allowing himself to settle in before increasing the tempo, while brother Ash continued to punish anything loose as Patrington ticked along at a healthy rate. Ash reached his half- century in the 15th over from 52 deliveries.

With the hosts now firmly in control, the rate increased further as the pair batted superbly. The partnership passed three figures in the 28th over and just a few balls later, Ash registered a fourth century of the season and Connor soon brought up his half- century as Patrington reached a commanding 188 for one with 20 overs to go.

Then, from nowhere, a cluster of wickets fell, starting with the skipper falling for 102. His 103-ball innings featured 14 fours and four sixes, cementing his spot as the league’s leading run scorer with 742 runs to his name so far. Jacob Duffill (0) fell to the very next ball and Curtis McElwee (0) joined him back in the pavilion just two balls later as seamer Lewis Sanderson (4-31) took an incredible triple- wicket maiden to put the brakes on the Patrington innings.

A brief period of rebuilding was required; Robbie Smith (10) somewhat stemmed the flow before he became the impressive Sanderson’s fourth wicket. Opening bowler Sam Graham (4-42) returned to the attack and removed Buss and Eldon-Smith for ducks as Patrington lost six wickets for just 41 runs, falling to 229 for seven.

Despite the carnage at the other end, Connor moved serenely into the 80s and found an ally in number nine Grant Van Es (24), with the pair adding 47 in a partnership that regained the momentum and allowed Connor to reach a fine century.

This was his first of the season and somewhat surprisingly, his first since 2019. He would finish unbeaten on 107, facing 115 deliveries, hitting 15 fours and two maximums as Patrington closed their 50 overs on 284 for nine. A remarkable scorecard saw two players hit centuries (for the first time since Ian Buss and Jordy Critchley in 2013 versus Rowntrees and Huntingdon) and five players register ducks, with the hosts clearly indebted to the contribution of the McKinley brothers.

At halfway, the hosts felt confident they had enough runs on the board, but not for the first time this season, they started the second half with the ball and in the field in a sluggish and laboured fashion. They allowed the visitors to get off to a decent start, moving to 42 without loss inside seven overs, as opening pair Billy Ineson (0-26) and Ian Buss (2-26) struggled for consistency. However, the latter soon rectified this and settled into a good line and length, claiming the first two wickets to fall, to make it 49 for two.

Captain Rob Gainer joined an impressive-looking Kai Nicholson (44) out in the middle and the pair moved the score to 81 before the former became one of three wickets for slow left-armer Grant Van Es, as spin began to dictate proceedings. Van Es (3-34), bowling beautifully, and his 13-over spell deserved more than the three wickets he claimed. Joined by his spin twin from the other end, Danny Collinson (3-24), the pair strangled the scoring rate and took regular wickets as the hosts gained complete control of the game. The spin duo has now claimed 68 league wickets between them, with Van Es (37) being the joint-leading wicket-taker in the league. Curtis McElwee (1-12) wrapped up the innings as Sutton would be all out for 137 in the 39th over.

It was a mixed bag in the field from Patrington, but some excellent catches were taken, with Billy Ineson and Ian Buss making the standout efforts. Behind the stumps, Connor McKinley claimed a couple of stumpings, taking his total to 20 dismissals for the season.

The firsts put in a good performance and earned a much-needed 10 points as they enter a tough run of fixtures, starting with a trip to second-placed Welton on Saturday. The next three or four games may well dictate where the firsts will end up in the league. With a number of players missing this weekend, it’s certainly going to be a tough test in a fixture that sees the league’s top two run-scorers and joint-leading wicket-takers all in action. Many thanks to this week’s match ball sponsor, Frank Hill & Son.