Newcastle 153/8 (20) lost to Burnmoor 157/6 (15.5) by 4 wickets
Newcastle 114/9(30.5) lost to Sunderland 226/6 dec (51) by 112 runs
Reports from Phil Hudson:
Newcastle 1st team endured a mixed weekend to say the least, with 2 defeats but some positives to take out of the weekend.
On Friday night, they hosted T20 holders Burnmoor knowing that anything other than a catastrophically heavy defeat would allow them to get through. Batting first, once again Chris McBride made the early running compiling a superb 74. The innings wobbled when McBride got bored of hitting boundaries and it was left to Bobby Green to restore order for the second time in a week, compiling a very smart 31 that involved smart running and judicious hitting. Newcastle totalled 153-8. Phil Hudson had spent the earlier part of his work day compiling a spreadsheet designed to calculate a live net run rate and worked out Burnmoor needed to knock the runs off in 9.3 overs to progress. They went off in fashion to do just that, before George Darwood came in with a smart first over to put the skids on the chase. George finished with 2-0-9-1 which was no mean feat, and combined with fellow bromancer Jesse Tashkoff ensured Burnmoor took a while to reach the desired total. Obviously finishing on a loss is disappointing but qualifying from this group was a fantastic effort and the lads have played some really good cricket. We look forward to going to Willington in the Qfinal and welcoming a few players back.
On Saturday, a heavily depleted NCC travelled to Ashbrooke to take on big spending Sunderland. Ben Mussett was still hamstrung, Tom McIntosh had been forced to self isolate and Kieran Trevaskis was still waiting for the last coat to dry on his nail varnish. Furthermore, during the game Frankie Collins thumb exploded after being hit by a ball and he was unable to bat. Missing 4 batsman of this quality inevitably told on the NCC side. We bowled well without luck in the early stages, the absence of a third man being the only thing DoC Hudson could really moan about. Jesse Tashkoff continued his fine form with another 4 for, and Luke Mussett returned 2 wickets in his second spell (just reward for his recent efforts) meaning Sunderland declared on 225-6 off 51.
Captain Quirk inspirationally sent himself out to open in Frankie Collins absence and looked a natural in the role. However, a strong Sunderland attack featuring 2 full internationals was not to be denied, assisted by some loose batting from NCC. Credit to Euan Stenhouse and Ross Sinclair in the lower order for showing the necessary defiance required.
Results have however gone our way elsewhere and we remain well placed in the chasing pack, having played 5 games against the top 3 in our opening 10 games.
DoC (Wo)man of the match for this weekend goes to JACQUI DARWOOD, for washing Frankie Collins utterly disgusting cricket kit.
Newcastle 211/6 (54) beat Sunderland 166 all out (49.1) by 45 runs
Report from James Carr:
The seconds impressive run of NEPL form continued with a hard fought win over Sunderland at a sun-soaked Headquarters.
Winning the toss on a used surface with an even covering of grass, captain Carr had some doubts before electing to bat first, with the hosts showing 4 enforced changes from last week’s victory over leaders Benwell Hill.
The Sunderland opening seamers bowled with fine control in marathon 12 over stints each. Newcastle’s aggressive opening duo of Pinnington and the fresh from nuptials Poll unable to impose themselves as they would have wished, managed to push the home side to 32 before Poll was cleaned up by Yaqoob.
Matty Stewart joined Pinnington and the pair showed good discipline in leaving the moving ball outside off stump where possible. Pinnington reached 27 with 5 boundaries before falling to Smith. The Wearsiders continued to probe with the ball and Fellows edged into the cordon for just 7.
Stevie Allen attempted an ambitious swipe as the openers approached the end of their spells and was well snaffled by visiting captain Cooney for his second grab of the innings. The first bowling change of the innings paid immediate dividends for the Ashbrooke outfit as Law was unfortunate to play on to Hutchinson.
Newcastle had crept to just 70/5 by the time the skipper joined Stewart at the crease with a rebuild job on the cards. Cooney introduced himself into the attack and his controlled flat off spin proved difficult to score from. Gradually the pair began to manipulate the bowling well, taking the score into three figures by the 35th over.
The hosts kept the scoreboard ticking over well, although Sunderland heads were far from down despite Stewart unleashing delightful boundaries off the back foot and Carr punishing the spinners for over pitching and taking particular toll on anything short from the seamers.
Stewart eventually departed for a fine 44, attempting one too many whips off the pads as he looked to up the rate. The 76 partnership with the skipper really changing the momentum of the home innings.
Boaden came to the wicket and was expressive from the beginning, particularly strong on the sweep and pouncing on anything short. Carr passed his half century with a ferocious pull for a maximum which was almost miraculously grabbed on the line. The pairs partnership had reached 65 when the hosts decided on 211/6 that enough was enough as the captain finished on an unbeaten 72 from 85 balls and the young spin star a more than handy 23 off 19.
The Bees’ seamers didn’t match their Wearside counterparts parsimonious opening as the visitors reached 25 from just 4 overs. Keeper Allen then decided to come up to the stumps to McLaughlin and the hosts were immediately rewarded as the dangerous Brigham lost his off stump. Newcastle threatened to run riot as McLaughlin nicked off Dinsdale then trapped Boal lbw to leave the away side reeling on 30/3.
Phillips was eventually rewarded for finding his line and length as Shaw edged behind for 23. Cooney looked intent on survival before getting a leading edge to Brown and Stewart just about held on at mid-off.
Dan Sanderson was looking to be the rock of the Sunderland innings and took advantage of a few loose deliveries to keep his side in the hunt for some decent points or even an unlikely win. His partnership with wicketkeeper Potts had realised 44 before Stewart tempted the gloveman into a lofted drive and Phillips made no mistake.
Another 40 runs were added as Hutchinson supported the increasingly aggressive Sanderson before Boaden was rewarded for a decent spell with his first wicket at the beginning of his 9th over. Brown, brought back with 2 overs left in his spell then worked the oracle for the hosts, nipping one through Sandersons defences to seemingly end the visitors chances.
Sunderland were determined to take the game to the wire and a couple of lusty blows from Yaqoob had the home side scratching their heads trying to work out the batting sides game plan. With all 3 results still possible Yaqoob attempted to take on the returning McLaughlin but swung and missed, allowing Allen to execute a fine stumping.
Last man Smith had the unenviable task of seeing off the irrepressible McLaughlin in the penultimate over and the seamer wasn’t to be denied, trapping the tail-ender dead infront lbw to spark scenes of jubilation on and off the field and handing McLaughlin a phenomenal return of 5 for 21 in 9.1 overs on his 2nd XI seasonal debut.
A fine Tyne/Wear derby win which strengthened the hosts 3rd place in NEPL Div2 ahead of a crunch fixture as the Turret cross the river to take on leaders Gateshead Fell at Eastwood Gardens.
Newcastle 143 all out (32.5) lost to Castle Eden 196/6 (40) by 53 runs
Report from Ali Poll:
Sunday saw the 2nd team travel down to the picturesque ground at Castle Eden for a Banks Bowl Quarter Final. With some enforced changes, a young team looked to impress and show the promise of the future of cricket at the club. Upon arrival, the scenic backdrop was as far as any excitement went, as a wander out to the pitch led to the home skipper deciding to abandon the use of the intended track due to its uncanny resemblance to Perth in late summer in favour of something marginally better. Further inspection of the square resulted in 12 year-old Charlie Darwood being issued with bungee cords, and the rest of the team advised to carry pocket knives should the need to amputate a limb in order to escape from one of the cracks arise.
Determining a good total on such a track with small boundaries was a tricky prospect, and so winning the toss we decided to bat first. George Darwood bowled well, troubling both openers repeatedly, but the uneven bounce was causing discomfort and potential emasculation, rather than wickets. From the other end Harry Phillips managed to get a full of a length ball to rattle the batsman’s lid, and was subsequently warned for his one bouncer for the over. He now considers himself to operate “the enforcer” role in the team. In response, the Castle Eden openers decided to play their shots, with fortune favouring the brave. G Darwood and Phillips both found the edge on numerous occasions without reward, and the pace on the ball gave scoring opportunities on such a small ground. A run out was also looking like an option, the opposition risking a single to Charlie Darwood at mid off, before the 12 year old threw down the non-striker’s stumps with the batsman adjudged to have just made his ground. There weren’t many singles taken to him after that! As it became apparent that slower bowling was key, Joe Boaden and Isaac Howell were introduced into the attack for an important section of the game. The breakthrough came quickly, as Boaden picked up his first caught at long on, a good catch completed by Euan Stenhouse right on the line with the score on 65. Howell then picked up his first wicket in second team cricket, removing the other opener, before some sharp glove work from Steve Allen brought a stumping and a second wicket for Boaden. Another wicket apiece for the first change bowlers and some good control of the scoring rate meant Castle Eden were reduced to 108-5 in 23 overs as Boaden (3-24) and Howell (2-38) finished their spells. With slow bowling the order of the day, Ali Poll and Steve Pinnington were introduced into the attack, and despite a couple of wickets for Poll (2-23), Castle Eden kept the runs ticking over. The reintroduction of Darwood was enough to account for two more wickets, as Castle Eden finished 196-9 in their 40 overs.
It still wasn’t clear whether this was a good total, or whether the small ground, fast outfield and inevitable extras made up for the unpredictable nature of the wicket.
Pinnington started the Newcastle innings in typically belligerent fashion, striking 3 boundaries before holing out to mid on. Poll came and went quickly to leave us 37-2. Stenhouse looked in good form, but having punched a full length ball off his nose the previous ball, he missed the next full one to be bowled for 21. At 53-3, some digging in was required, and Matty Stewart and Allen set about the rebuild. The partnership was looking promising, before Stewart (22) feathered a wide ball from the off spinner through to the keeper, which was taken at the second attempt, to leave us 80-4 after 18. After this wickets fell regularly, with Newcastle batters managing to find ways of getting out – captain James Carr strangled down the leg side, and Boaden chipping a full ball to midwicket, having looked very composed to that point. Some brief resistance in the form of a partnership between G Darwood and Allen threatened to keep us in the hunt, Allen striking the ball cleanly including the only maximum of the innings. However Darwood and Allen were both bowled in quick succession, the latter by one keeping low on off stump, to leave us 137-8. By this time the game was slipping away, but there was still chance for Charlie Darwood to score his first 2nd team runs, before we were eventually dismissed for 143.
As we reflected at the end of the game, there was little to complain about from the effort given by our side. We worked hard throughout on an unpredictable pitch, and on the whole fielded very well. Key moments in the game didn’t quite fall our way, and although the extras count looked high on paper, the extravagant spin and deviations both vertically and laterally meant sundries were always likely to make significant contribution – it’s a credit to Stevie Allen’s keeping that byes only registered at 7. It’s always a shame to lose a knock out match, but the game was played in the right spirit and a good attitude was shown throughout, especially by those making the step up to 2nd team cricket at short notice. With league and T20 competitions still very much up for grabs, there’s plenty more to play for still this season.
Newcastle 56 all out (27.2) lost to Consett 186 all out (39) by 130 runs
Report from Andy Goldsborough:
With some enforced last minute changes to the side, the 3rd team headed to Consett looking to avenge our pre-season friendly defeat at the hands of the hosts.
After losing the toss, Newcastle were asked to field and Goldsborough and Howell were tasked with opening the bowling this week. Howell was the first to strike; trapping his victim LBW with an inswinger after beautifully setting up the batsman with four previous outswinging deliveries. Howell remained metronomic in his opening seven over burst, although Goldsborough struggled to find consistency at the other end – a dropped chance from a thick edge behind was the only consolation from his first five overs. Tyagi was again introduced into the attack early, for a second week running, on an extremely dry surface. Vinny bowled with consistency but gained no reward as the opposition batsmen were content to rotate the strike and target the short leg side boundary.
Making his 3rd team debut, Chas Darwood replaced Howell as 2nd change for a four over spell. Chas bowled an excellent stump-to-stump line and was rewarded with the wicket of the opposition’s opener (smartly caught by Hardy on the boundary). Despite the two wickets, Consett were still able to score quickly and targeted the short boundary to good effect.
Wood battled through injury to bowl a brilliant 9 over spell at the death; picking up 3 wickets while only going at 4 an over. Howell, Darwood and Goldsborough all returned to bowl two overs each at the other end – Howell and Goldsborough both claiming 2 wickets each. Consett’s late hitting propelled them to 186 all out from 39 overs, a decent total on a good pitch but eminently chase-able with the short boundary in play.
Overall Newcastle fielded well, with two catches for Hardy and a good diving grab from Howell among the impressive efforts from a young side that has seen their fielding standards improve after disciplined training. However, the ‘champagne moment’ of the innings certainly belongs to debutant Chas Darwood, who’s rocket arm from the deep resulted in an excellent run out – top work!
Sadly, this is where the good news ended for the day. In reply, Newcastle lost Frank Cook early as he was bowled round his legs. Wood and Armstrong stuck in for a few overs but weren’t able to match the required rate and the pressure began to grow. Poor shot selection and indecisive footwork accounted for the next six wickets, all coming in quick succession, and Newcastle were floundering. With 7 wickets down at the drinks break and barely any runs on the board, Newcastle were sliding to their inevitable defeat. More poor shot selection and clouded judgement resulted in the demise of both skipper and Alderson, which left juniors Howell and Darwood at the crease as the final wicket pairing. To their credit, they showed the seniors how they should have played. Technically correct and solidly behind the good balls, they enjoyed playing more expansive shots to any loose deliveries. The collapse was complete when Darwood was given out LBW and Newcastle finished on just 56 runs.
An honest and thorough assessment of the batting performance ensued and we agreed that this halfway stage in the season would mark a turning point in our approach. Several results have flattered us, with large first innings scores often being dominated by one or two players. It’s up to us a individuals to train better when we bat, so we can find a way through tough match situations when the time comes.
The standard of our fielding has markedly improved after we set out to train more professionally at the beginning of the season. I’m sure that if we set our minds to achieving similar improvements with the bat, we are more than capable of doing so. I look forward to the challenge this will bring, and I know our young side will be itching to get back into training through the week.