Newcastle Academy 154/6 (20 overs) beat Ashington 3rd XI 86 all out (17 overs) by 68 runs
Banks Cup 1st Round

Newcastle hosted Ashington in the first round of the Banks Cup. Winning the toss on a good deck, Newcastle batted first, with Frank Cook tucking into some boundaries before a cut shot found point and he departed for 16 off 14 balls. Walker and Fellows (14) put on 46 for the second wicket, but after the latter departed, followed quickly by Brown, Newcastle were 80-3 at the end of the 11th. Poll (29 off 17) joined Walker and the pair put on 42 in 27 balls, before Poll and then Armstrong fell in successive overs. Walker continued to bat aggressively, going past his 50 before eventually falling for an excellent 62 from just 40 balls at the end of the 18th over. There was still time for a late charge as Wood (9* off 5) and Darwood (13* off 14) made the most of the last two overs, the latter finishing the innings with a maximum to close on 154-6.

In Ashington’s reply Newcastle got off to the best possible start. Whilst Tyagi kept things tight from one end, 15 year old George Darwood tore through the Ashington top order with remarkable figures of 5 wickets for 1 run including 2 in 2 balls, the single coming from the final ball of his spell and the powerplay, which ended with Ashington 20-5. The father and son Harmison pair steadied the ship for a while, before 12 year old Chas Darwood pulled off a remarkable diving caught and bowled to remove the younger Harmison. 14 year old Thom Holland bowled well from the other end without the reward he deserved. With the required rate up above 12, S Harmison and Dunn briefly threatened to keep up, before the introduction of Wood saw him claim his first (and likely only…) Test scalp with the first ball of his spell, a good catch taken by G Darwood to remove S Harmison. Wood then bowled Dunn with the next ball, and although he wasn’t able to complete the bat trick, he finished with 1-1-0-2 and ended Ashington’s hopes of an unlikely victory. Frank Cook (1-4) completed proceedings with his off spin endangering low flying aircraft as well as the number 11’s off stump, as Ashington were dismissed for 86 to complete an emphatic victory for Newcastle.

A good all round T20 performance, with a solid batting display lead by a welcome return to form for Walker. However the margin of victory was down to some exceptional work from Team Darwood, George taking an exceptional 5-for and Chas bowling excellent areas and taking a superb return catch. Thom Holland’s bowling showed exceptional maturity against a good calibre of opposition, and yes Mark Wood got a former test cricketer out. A welcome win in the first round sees us play either South North or Felling in the next round.

Thanks to Fenton for scoring.


Newcastle 1st XI 104 all out (36.1 overs) lost to Castle Eden 1st XI 205 all out (48.2 overs) by 101 runs

The first team lost their undefeated record for 2021 after coming unstuck against a combative Castle Eden team on Saturday.

Having won the toss, Ben Quirk inserted the opposition and the lads set about a disciplined bowling performance. Luke Mussett bowled outstandingly for no reward on a sluggish pitch, beating the outside edge on a consistent basis. Captain Quirk brought himself into the attack early and was rewarded with a wicket first ball. Quirk picked up a second wicket to a fine catch by Jesse Tashkoff and combined with Liam Trevaskis to restrict runs and take wickets. When Bailey fell to another outstanding catch from Tashkoff (bowled Sinclair) and Trevaskis returned to remove Iqbal the opposition were 116-7 and NCC were in the ascendancy. At that point, a touch of complacency set in and combined with some smart and disciplined batting from the home side let them post a competitive total of 204.

Newcastle began the reply and were immediately put under pressure by an outstanding spell from Iqbal, who removed both openers and Liam Trevaskis, the latter with the assistance of the umpire. Francis Collins was digging in and combined with Kieran Trevaskis set about repairing the damage. Trevaskis was unlucky to be caught at mid wicket off a ball that stopped a touch, but Collins dug in resolutely with Tashkoff. They were moving well to rebuild the innings before Jesse fell for an attractive 28 to a ball from Bailey that came back. Collins at this point sought to attack the bowlers and perished for 31, having demonstrated great resolve and courage. Wickets fell regularly at this point and Newcastle were bowled out for 104.

A reality check for the lads having started the season in such fine form. There were some positives to take from a disciplined bowling performance but a lesson to take is to maintain our intensity levels throughout. DOC man of the match is Frankie Collins for a dogged and resolute effort, with special mentions to Ben Quirk for a 4 for and Luke Mussett for 2 great spells that yielded no reward.

Newcastle 2nd XI 111/8 (35.2 overs) beat Sacriston 2nd XI 110 all out (40.1 overs) by 2 wickets

The seconds clung on for a momentum building win against a spirited Sacriston side to remain in the hunt for a top 4 spot and qualification for the Banks Bowl knockout stages.

Sacriston chose to bat first on an emerald green playing surface at the Medicals ground which looked sure to offer assistance to the home seam attack. The hosts found their customary early break through in unlikely fashion as a terrific chase and throw from Matty Stewart saw Foreman run out as the openers considered an ill conceived third run.

The visitors rebuilt with some attractive drives from Stephenson while skipper Fort began cautiously. The slow nature of the playing surface frustrating the home attack as anything short of a length lacked the pace to trouble the batsmen and any edges never threatening to carry to the cordon.

George Darwood was finally rewarded in his sixth over as Stephensons leg stump was uprooted by a trademark in swinger. Chris Miller was introduced into the attack and almost pulled off a spectacular caught and bowled from his first delivery. Miller too found the slow surface tough to come to terms with and had to wait until his 5th over to make the breakthrough as Sacriston had progressed to 72, this time making no mistake as a sharp return catch was offered.

Brown immediately put the hosts in charge, sneaking one through Forts defences to send the Segga skipper on his way for a well made 32. Wickets then became easier to come by as Brown (2/29) had Adams caught by Gray and Boadens introduction to the attack reaping instant dividends as Stenhouse stumped opposite number Anderson before Jackson gave the keeper his next victim.

The returning Darwood (2/20 in 10) picked up Dodds in familiar fashion for 18 while the Boaden / Stenhouse combination were at it again to remove Mckie. Newcastle’s young offie finishing with the impressive figures of 3/13 in his 8 overs.

Will Jobling enjoyed belated reward for a good opening spell by removing the dangerous Jones with the first ball of his comeback spell to end the visitors innings on 110.

Newcastle’s reply didn’t get off to the best of starts as Pinnington departed in disappointing fashion, chipping to mid off having already survived on a few occasions attempting similarly ambitious strokes. Stewart was to follow shortly afterwards, well caught at square leg from a well timed but aerial clip off his pads.

Irish eyes weren’t smiling with the score on 27 as Allen was next to go, failing to control an off drive and being caught in the covers. Gray and Stenhouse looked to rebuild and seemed set on establishing some kind of control for the home side before Stenhouse became the fourth of Jackson’s (4/40) victims. Gray (16) looked comfortable until he received a delivery from Fort which popped from a length leaving him with no chance and reducing the hosts to 50/5.

The watchful Boaden was joined by Jobling and the pairs partnership of 40 went a long way to securing victory. Selective stroke play complimented the steady accumulation of extras given away by the visitors. Jobling in particular batted with confidence and assurance not seen in those that proceeded him.

21 were still required as Fort removed Jobling and the home side limped past 3 figures before Boadens valuable vigil was ended.

Darwood was then removed by a fine delivery from young leg spinner Mckie bringing Miller to the crease to join the captain. Carr then had turret hearts in mouths, narrowly beating square leg with a lofted flick to the boundary bringing scores level.

It was left to Miller to hit the winning run, sensibly pushing the spinner through the off side to the relief of all involved.

A victory that could and probably should have been more straightforward gives Newcastle a 3-1-1 record with the final match in this 50/50 section of the league seeing the side travelling north to take on resurgent Ashington.

Newcastle 3rd XI 82 all out (30.5 overs) lost to GEMS 2nd XI 128 all out (33.5 overs) by 46 runs

Newcastle 3s travelled to GEMS for the meeting between the only two unbeaten teams in the league.

On arrival at Chopwell Park, a close inspection of the pitch revealed one of the greenest squares I’ve seen in cricket. The uncovered track looked a seamer’s paradise, with damp patches on a length at both ends. GEMS won the toss and chose to bat; not a bad one to lose we thought, and we duly set about searching for early inroads. McMorran took an early wicket as their opener chipped one to mid-off. Will McLaughlin was given some harsh wides but exacted revenge by claiming two quick wickets. GEMS’ in form batsman came to the crease and played sensibly (unlike other batsmen before him), accumulating 46 before a sensational catch in the deep from McLaughlin gave Marc Wood his 4th wicket. Wood was introduced with Goldsborough and they kept the squeeze going, with Woody accumulating wickets steadily as he bowled at the stumps, inducing mistakes. Vineet Tyagi came into the attack during the final 10 overs of the innings, immediately finding his rhythm and snaring two wickets as the batsmen struggled to get his accurate, darting leg spin away. Maximum bowling points were achieved with GEMS finishing on 129 all out. Newcastle fielded well and, on the most part, held their catches, which was a vital part of the innings, but 29 wides seemed very costly. Despite the extras, Newcastle were the happier side at the innings break.

Tiger Roberts and Hamzah Amin opened the batting in reply for Newcastle. Amin clipped GEMS’ opening spinner over mid on for a lovely boundary to open the scoring. However he and Tiger were both dismissed soon after. What proceeded resembled England’s 2nd innings of the day/night test in Ahmedabad. Men crowded round the bat and it looked like at wicket could fall at any moment. In the blink of an eye, Newcastle found themselves floundering at 15/4.

Nick Green steadied the ship, playing the ball late as he looked to dig in against their threatening new ball partnership. Unfortunately, Green fell for 18 which brought Rory Law and Marc Wood to the crease. Rory hit a couple of sixes on his way to an enterprising 28 but he was out LBW to another spinning delivery. Wood and Tyagi put on useful scores of 7 and 15* but they were sadly in vain. Newcastle were bowled out for 82, with their opening bowler taking 5 wickets.

Credit must go to the opposition who outplayed us with bat and ball, exploiting home conditions to their advantage brilliantly. Sadly, we played a few too many silly shots and didn’t bowl tightly enough in this fixture. With only three batsmen reaching double figures, there are plenty of coaching points to work on at training this week.

Next week is a busy one, with our first cup fixture on Tuesday and another league match against Cowgate on Saturday. Here’s to a brighter week as we look to get our campaign back on track. Up the bees!


Newcastle Academy 168/3 (31.3 overs) beat Benwell Hill 3rd XI 164/9 (40 overs) by 7 wickets

The Academy were at home to Benwell Hill this Sunday, the only other side with a 100% record in our division. Despite an indifferent forecast we were able to start on time, and had no hesitation in electing to bowl first. Despite good bowling in helpful conditions, it was excellent fielding by Chas “rocket arm” Darwood which made the initial breakthrough, Benwell Hill’s openers deciding to risk a second to fine leg and coming up short. Two run outs in two weeks for Chas! George Darwood continued his excellent bowling record and was unlucky not to pick up wickets up top, but from the other end Isaac Howell settled into a great rhythm in a new role opening the bowling, with a double wicket maiden in his 4th over leaving the Hill 7-3 after 8 overs. Joe Boaden and Alex Sinclair continued the good work started by the openers, keeping things tight as the Hill rebuilt. The breakthrough came with the score on 47, Sinclair (1-37) drawing a false shot from opener Aatif, which was collected by James Fellows at mid on to his and everyone’s delight. Boaden (1-25) picked up a wicket the next over to an equally surprising source, Ali Poll grabbing one low to his left at slip on the third attempt. At 58-5 in the 21st, Newcastle were firmly in control, but the Hill battled back well, with opposition skipper Fletcher (74*) striking the ball cleanly and combining well with a gritty knock from Buiyan to add 67 for the 6th wicket. The comedy moment came as a skied pull shot off Sinclair headed into the outfield, only to land on the astroturf and balloon ludicrously high over a helpless Frank Cook’s head in the deep. It’s unconfirmed whether Sinclair saw the funny side of this too. Chas Darwood came into the attack and bowled with excellent control, keeping a lid on the run rate (despite 4 overthrows, sorry!) and was unfortunately not to pick up a wicket. G Darwood returned with near instant success, removing Buiyan for 17, before 2 in 2 the next over meant he finished with 8-4-12-3, whilst a stumping from Ryan off Howell (3-22) in the penultimate over was just reward for Isaac’s control. With Fletcher continuing to strike the ball cleanly to the end, Newcastle were unable to pick up the final wicket, Benwell Hill finishing 164-9, a significant recovery from the halfway mark which illustrated that it was possible to score runs on this pitch, and highlighting how well our young bowlers had bowled early on.

At the halfway stage it felt about honours even against a bowling attack which had twice dismissed sides for under 100 this season, and a pitch offering assistance to disciplined bowlers. Therefore the start was crucial. Frank Cook continued his excellent recent batting, taking 13 from the first two overs to get Newcastle moving, and from there we never looked back. Initially watchful, Poll and Cook saw off a decent opening spell from Fletcher and Malik, before tucking into anything short from the change bowlers. Cook was unfortunate to be run out for 14, but had done an excellent job in bringing the target below 100. Poll fell for 61, attempting one pull shot too many, but only after hitting what he claims to be the biggest six to stay in the ground. At this point 96 were on the board, and with 69 still required, a calm head was needed to ensure there was no collapse. Walker and G Darwood batted superbly, Walker combining trademark slog sweeps with nudges into the leg side for 1 (usually off the 6th ball of the over…), whilst Darwood drove exquisitely through the covers on several occasions, as well as latching on to anything short. Having nearly seen us home, Walker was then caught off a full toss (again), and departed for a well compiled 37. Fellows (15* off 7 balls) and Darwood (34* off 34 balls) saw us across the line with the best part of of 9 overs to spare, to complete a resounding win against a good opposition.

This was a truly excellent result, coming into the game against an unbeaten Benwell Hill side. There was some excellent work in the field, with Chas Darwood in particular throwing himself around, and collecting another run out. Bowling was perhaps the most disciplined all season with only one wide bowled (although four no balls, please please please stop this!), with special mention to Isaac who fulfilled an unfamiliar role for him exceptionally well. With 36 of the 40 overs bowled by age group cricketers (and the other 4 conspicuous by their absence in the report…), this discipline is particularly pleasing. Batting was impressive in its clinicality, with everyone respecting the good ball and pouncing on anything loose. With perhaps a little bit of work to add that last 10% in the field, this was the blueprint of how we want to play for the season, and if we continue to play like this we have every chance of some silverware.

I must also thank Kev McNab for his scoring again, the book was spot on – top club man!