MOTORISTS beware. Watch out for cricket balls if you’re travelling on the A69 on a Saturday afternoon.

For hard-hitting Haltwhistle’s batsmen are regularly sending balls across the busy A-road when their first team play at home, with their pitch boundary close to the road’s edge.

The team west to the district have been racking up the sixes this season, and Graeme Rowell, who is better known by his nickname Archie, continued the trend as he and opener Bart Ryan guided them to a comprehensive 10 wicket victory over Mitford A.

Chasing down Mitford’s total of 142, Rowell and Ryan opened their bats with the former reaching 85 in quick time to follow up the previous week’s century. On that occasion, he became Haltwhistle’s third century maker of 2019 following in the footsteps of his brother Mark, known locally as Scampi, and Aussie Ryan.

As a result of the victory, their fifth from the opening six games, Haltwhistle moved into second spot in the Division One table.

Mitford batted first and, after a stuttering start, made some headway through the partnership of captain Colin Crowe and Paul McKenna, who fell two balls short of his half ton.

After an impressive stint with the ball from Archie Richardson, Ryan showed his all-round talent to weigh in with two wickets. But it was the introduction of Jack Johnstone, promoted from the second team, who really stemmed the flow of runs with an impressive three wickets.

Hexham Leazes are the new leaders of the division following their slender three run triumph over visiting Benwell Hill III.

It was Mark Armstrong who took the plaudits as he quelled Hill’s chase, helping Leazes to defend a under par total of 105. From his eight overs, which included on maiden, he took six wickets at the expense of just 12 runs.

Leazes batted first but found runs hard to come by throughout the innings, with the bowling of Joseph Torre causing all sorts of problems.

Many of their batsmen struggled to reach high scores, although Ross Davies, Billy Kingman, Dan Toward, Liam Carroll and Jon Toward limped to double figures.

Benwell were set to leave with the victory with a third wicket partnership between Leighton Hopper and Assanka Jayaweera edging them closer to the target.

But the introduction of Armstrong into the Hexham attack dashed the visitors’ hopes with a late stand of 14 from Torre failing to see Hill over the line.

Previous leaders Haydon Bridge dropped to third as they suffered the first defeat of the season at the hands of champions Humshaugh.

It was a close-run affair for most of the day, but Humshaugh’s final total of 125 proved out of reach of Bridge in the end.

Jamie Taylor continued his impressive form and two early wickets, of Ed Crawford and Rob Forster, had Humshaugh reeling.

In came Jack Garrett to stabilise the innings as nine fours helped him reach his half century.

Wickets fell around him as Taylor returned to dismiss Joe Johnson and Ian Watson saw off Will Forster, Matthew Williamson and Luke Parkinson. Facing some tricky deliveries from Williamson, Bridge’s innings didn’t really get going and losing Neil Kendrew and Robert Gibson early was a blow.

Joe Barber and Dale Leadbitter tried to get things moving along, with Watson, Graham Gradwell and Graeme Pigg contributing.

Tom Waugh’s late knock of 20 threatened a comeback, but Bridge were well off the total when they were sent packing for 86.

Belsay’s troubles at the foot of the table continued as they were unable to find a first win of the season, going down at home to Wylam.

They were unable to post an imposing total for their visitors to chase as they were dismissed without reaching triple figures, four wickets for Kevin Marshall inflicting the damage alongside Steve Wilson, Paul Robinson and Tony Parker. Opener Scott Neeson, Chris Townson and captain David Robson, who remained at the crease, were the only Belsay batsmen to reach double figures.

There was some impressive bowling from Neeson, Townson and Richard Mills, but Wylam were still able to reach their target within 23 overs. Brothers David and James Teasdale got Wylam off to a solid start, but there was a surprise when the usually dependable Christophe Vever went for a golden duck when he came in at number three.

Steve Wilson was the innings’ mainstay and he was well supported by Ross Wilson and Rob Helm.

Newton kept pace with the early front runners as they made light work of challengers South Northumberland.

The away side were all out for a collective score of just 66, with Newton needing just over 17 overs to knock the total off.

Newton’s opening bowler Chris Wilkie proved difficult to play and he ended his eight overs with 4-12. Dave Archbold and Andy Goulding also impressed with two wickets apiece, with Andrew Jones also getting in on the act.

Opener Michael Harbottle, Patrick Hatcher, Ben Thomas and Alan Roskilly hit double figures but that was as good as it got for South North. After a disastrous start, Dinak Rawlley, Andrew Jeffery and Andrew Jones steered Newton home.