Newcastle CC 1st XI 126/7 (19.5 overs) beat South North 123/9 (20 overs) by 3 wickets
Newcastle CC 1st XI 193 all out (48.3 overs) lost to Willington 196 all out (54.5 overs) by 3 runs
Report from Phil Hudson:
Newcastle enjoyed a weekend of contrasting fortunes with games against South Northumberland in the T20 and an engaging top of the league contest against Willington on the Saturday.
In the T20 on Friday night, a capacity crowd enjoyed the NCC Matadors defeat local rivals the Bulls in a gripping encounter which went to the penultimate ball. A disciplined bowling performance saw Newcastle take wickets at regular intervals with Tashkoff and George Darwood coming to the fore, restricting South North to 123/7.
Newcastle started relatively positively despite the early loss of McBride and were well positioned at halfway due to some impressive shots from Tashkoff (44.) Wickets then began to fall before Kieran Trevaskis did an impressive job holding the innings together, before falling for a well made 27. Newcastle looked to have blown the win, with 8 required off 3 balls. Ross Sinclair then turned into Ben Stokes – striking the 4th ball of the last over back over ex NCC bowler Tindale’s head for 4, before audaciously ‘scooping’ the next ball for 6 into the cemetery to spark wild scenes amongst fans.
On Saturday, we hosted table toppers Willington for our second game against this season. Predictably this was another hard fought encounter on a spinning pitch. Willington got off to a good start despite solid opening spells from Sinclair and Mussett and were going along nicely prior to our introduction of spinners Trevaskis and latterly, Tashkoff into the game. Liam bowled with great control, taking 3-19 off his 15 overs. Jesse dovetailed well taking 4-49 off his 15 as Willington lurched from 106-1 to 122-5. A slight recovery allowed them to post a competitive 196, Luke Mussett returning to pick up a deserved 2 wickets.
Our reply got off the to the worst possible start, losing both openers cheaply and then Liam Trevaskis LBW first ball meant we were in deep trouble at 4-3. Chris McBride and Jonty Barnes set about rebuilding things and put on 53 before Barnes fell to a rush of blood in trying to hit the spinner to Sandyford. Tashkoff came and went for 0 to an outstanding caught and bowled that carried more than a little fortune and once again NCC were rocking at 61-5. What followed was a great partnership of 80 between McBride and Kieran Trevaskis, blocking judiciously and punishing the bad ball. Batting as it should be!! Trevaskis then perished in trying to make room, with Taylor swiftly following to put Willington in the ascendancy. The key wicket of McBride followed, departing for a magnificent 86 with the score on 153-8. Sinclair followed LBW with the score on 161, leaving last pair Quirk and Mussett at the crease. Through application, desire, discipline and common sense they scrapped their way through the overs inching towards the total and looking relatively untroubled. With the score on 191 Mussett hit a 2 over cover, looking to repeat the feat next ball before being undone by a slower ball to leave Newcastle 3 runs short.
A fantastic effort from the last pair which showed real guts and determination is something we can take heart from, but the manner in which we lost wickets in clumps is far from ideal, and is something we will be looking to reinforce at training this week. Having already played 4 games out of 7 against the top 3 (with another one being rained off) and with Castle Eden on the horizon this weekend, it’s been a very tough start on us fixtures wise – every result we can accrue now could be vital come September.
Newcastle CC 2nd XI 190/7 dec (53 overs) drew with Tynemouth 124/7 (52 overs)
Report from James Carr:
Newcastle were forced to settle for a winning draw despite outplaying Tynemouth in all departments as a benign surface at Preston Avenue frustrated both sides.
Asked to bat first following a toss neither side wanted to win, Ali Poll making his seasonal 2nd XI debut was the mainstay of a competitive 190/7 declared. The Academy captain weighed in with a positive 61 off just 74 balls with six boundaries and 2 maximums. The returning Rob Walker (43) shone on his return to the side as most batsmen struggled to find any kind of rhythm on the slow and low surface.
Trademark inswingers from young seam star Darwood accounted for both home openers before the score had reached 30 and from there on the hosts never looked to be in the hunt for victory. 52 overs of largely turgid cricket was lit up by fine displays from young spinners Boaden (1/14 in 12 overs) and Stewart (1/9 from 8 overs). Home wicketkeeper / batsmen Fairley the chief tormentor with an obdurate 65 from 133 while veteran swinger Brown picked up 3/29 in his 12 over allocation.
The following is in no way critical of the NEPL or any of its member clubs and are the views of only the author and not necessarily NCC.
Sadly a really poor advert for the much maligned Win/Lose/Draw format as the hosts quickly decided that the 191 target was beyond them after a couple of early wickets while the Turret attack, despite looking well balanced with all bases covered, was unable to trouble home batsmen intent on crease occupation only.
The 2021 NEPL season promised and still promises to be one of the more interesting campaigns since the league’s inception with games being split between Win/Lose and WLD for the first time. The popular conception being that younger players favour the straight 50 over format whilst stakeholders of a certain vintage enjoy the nuances of WLD cricket.
Anecdotal evidence from the early part of the season suggests that the stronger team would tend to prevail in the straight overs format, not a bad thing many would argue. Certainly there’s something to be said for the best team winning in any sporting competition. One of the beauties of our game, however, is that the perceived stronger side can’t always overcome so called lesser sides with a one-dimensional strategy of overpowering their opponent. Tactical acumen and skilled bowling should be encouraged in order to achieve a full points total in the WLD game.
For the Win/Lose/Draw game to thrive, playing surfaces need to offer something to everybody. Many good observers believe the ball being slightly on top of the bat leads to the most interesting cricket. Ask any good player what they want out of a wicket and two words will be uppermost in their response. ‘Pace’ and ‘Bounce’.
A good batsman capable of playing shots all round the ground, off front and back foot, what do they want? Pace and bounce. Opening seam bowlers, yes they want the ball to move off the straight when they land it on the seam but most of all they want whatever happens to happen quickly. Pace and bounce. A good spinner doesn’t always look to turn the ball extravagantly but they love it when the ball bites in the surface and challenges the shoulder of the bat rather than the toe of it. Pace and bounce.
A couple of weeks ago Newcastle hosted Sacriston on a sub-standard surface in the 50 over format. From memory, 110 all out played 111/8 as the home side prevailed in a close finish. The excitement and instant gratification of guaranteed result cricket papering over the cracks of a game devoid of any real quality not because of a lack of talent on either side but down to a playing surface that didn’t give anybody the platform to shine.
It’s pretty clear the direction of travel in League cricket is heading towards the Win/Lose format and if that’s the future then so be it. It’s never a good idea for older generation to tell youngsters how they should enjoy themselves. The people who will be custodians of the game for a generation have every right to decide what their immediate future looks like.
If the WLD game is on the way out then at the very least it would be great for us all to experience that format at its best on a few occasions. More days like yesterday at Preston Avenue will mean fewer and fewer will mourn its passing.
Newcastle CC 3rd XI 189/4 (40 overs) beat Lintz 104 all out (33.4 overs) by 85 runs
Report from Andy Goldsborough/Rory Law:
Rocked by the late call-up of Marc Wood (replaced by Isaac Howell), the 3s turned up to their first South Hetton home game hungry to make up for ground lost in the last two weeks, after rough weather blighted any chance of play last weekend. The track was green and soft but looked like it would hold true throughout the day so captain Andy Goldsborough decided to bat first. Frank Cook (8) and Tiger Roberts (23) stuck in at the start, with Frank making some use of the short boundary before being dismissed. Tiger and Hamzah Amin (27) played superbly; Tiger digging in in his usual doughty fashion, while Hamzah took the attack to the bowlers, using his wrists superbly and manipulating the fielders. He was eventually dismissed after trying one big shot too many. Alex Hardy then came in and looked composed against the medium pacers, continually accumulating runs after a watchful start. Rory Law came and went, run out attempting a quick single, which brought Connor Ryan to the middle. Connor immediately saw opportunities to score despite a slow outfield and went about his innings flamboyantly, striking at around a run a ball. Both batsmen batted through to the close of the innings, hitting unbeaten fifties, and Newcastle brought up a very competitive 189/4. The main positive to take from the innings was that (nearly) everyone contributed with the bat, something we’ve been lacking the last few weeks, and the overall team batting performance was superb.
Opening the bowling for Newcastle, Paddy McMorran looked like he was trying to prove a point – regularly beating the outside edge of the bat in his miserly 7 over spell while taking a key wicket. Will McLaughlin also found his length straight away, taking two wickets and keeping the run rate down. After finding themselves 3 wickets down without many runs on the board, Lintz’s middle order had to try something different. To their credit; they were able to manufacture scoring opportunities by moving around the crease and taking on riskier shots. Almost certainly inspired by video footage of Ross Sinclair’s Friday night heroics, the opposition were keen to try ramp and scoop shots to up the run rate.
Bowling first change, captain Goldsborough just about recovered from a dreadful first over to pick up one wicket, thanks to a smart catch at square leg from Alex Hardy. George Sarfraz kept plugging away at the other end, and despite being taken for more runs than he’s used to, his laser-like accuracy won out in the end as he claimed 4 wickets (all bowled). Isaac Howell also bowled excellently at the death, swinging the old ball nicely, and Lintz managed 104 all out. Special credit goes to Hamzah Amin for one of the most aggressive stumpings I’ve ever seen.
Newcastle finished with maximum batting and bowling points, as well as a win. Thanks to South Hetton CC for their hospitality, it couldn’t have been a better day out. Our league campaign is back on track and there are plenty of positives to take into next Saturday’s game as well as the T20 at Whitley Bay on Thursday!
Newcastle CC Academy XI 151/4 (38.4 overs) beat Tynemouth 150 all out (39.2 overs) by 6 wickets
Report from Ali Poll:
The Academy followed the 2nd team down the coast road to Tynemouth, to be greeted by not just the same pitch, but the the same sea haar that made it 15 degrees colder than everywhere else in the country. Losing the toss, we were unsurprisingly asked to bowl first.
We set about our task well, Isaac Howell (1-7 from 6) again showing great control opening the bowling, partnered by Will McLaughlin (1-21), who enjoyed uprooting Tynemouth’s openers middle stump in what he felt was a personal first. The third wicket partnership quietly accumulated, punishing anything loose, and while we bowled well in patches in the middle overs, Tynemouth managed to reach 110-2 with 15 overs to go. The game was flipped on its head with the introduction of George Darwood, who removed both set batters and then tore through the middle order, to finish with an excellent 5-20 from his six overs. With the help of Matty Stewart’s (1-31) leg spin, which he bowled with good control, and some sharp work from Hamza behind the stumps, Tynemouth were reduced to 149-8 with one over to come. The last over was put to a team vote, and so up stepped Frank Cook. The first ball tempted the batter to hit to a long boundary into a strong coastal breeze, with a good steepling catch completed by Joe Boaden inside the rope. The second ball was tossed up again, but adjudged to be too wide. However Frank had clearly just been using this to assess his opponent, and fired in a quick straight ball next up to bowl Tynemouth out, and leave himself with the unlikely figures of 0.2-0-1-2.
150 was a decent total on a slow, low pitch, and we knew we would need a disciplined approach to get there. Our strength this year has been keeping wicket intact early on, allowing freedom to score in the middle and later overs. Unfortunately we weren’t able to recreate that this time, with wickets falling early and regularly, our young top order not quite getting to grips with the slow nature of the pitch. When a mix up between Ali Poll and Callum Graham-Rack left the latter short of his ground, we were 68-4, with 83 still needed from the final 20. Joe Boaden came to the crease and looked assured, starting cautiously but then accelerating. We ticked off our targets one by one, leaving ourselves 27 needed from the last 5 overs, as Tynemouth had to find a 6th bowler. With wickets in hand, a combination of quick running (yes, even from Ali) and a few boundaries in quick succession saw us achieve our target with 8 balls remaining, Joe finishing 30* and Ali 89*, with accusations of bottling a hundred abound.
Another good win, and definitely the hardest fought of the year, credit to tynemouth for a really good game. It was good for us to find a different route to victory, showing depth in our batting. Joe’s calm innings showed yet again that occupying the crease brings rewards later on. George’s bowling spell was vital to restricting our target to something manageable, so credit to him for his second 5-for of the season.
We switch back to our T20 format for Tuesday evening against South North, before a week off on Sunday as the 2nd team T20 competition starts. Thanks again to Fred Procter for scoring.