Newcastle 1st XI
Report from Phil Hudson:

Newcastle 198/2 (20) beat Ashington 137/7 (20) by 61 runs


Newcastle 59 all out (23.4) lost to Castle Eden 200 all out (53.4) by 141 runs
Newcastle enjoyed a weekend of contrasting fortunes as they overcame a spirited Ashington side in the T20 on Friday but we’re blown away by Castle Eden in the league for the second time this season.
On Friday Newcastle travelled to Langwell Crescent to play Ashington and batted first. Mussett and McBride opened the innings with Mussett being dropped first ball before proceeding to a well made 32 off 30 balls. His departure brought Tashkoff to the crease and together with McBride they put the Ashington bowlers to the sword. Tashkoff departed late in the innings for 52 off 28 but not before McBride had celebrated his 100, finishing with an excellent 104* off 58 as Newcastle posted a formidable 198-2. 
Ashington started positively assisted by some indifferent bowling and Ben Mussett falling victim to a Northumbrian sniper whilst chasing a ball to the boundary. Club man Joe Boaden deputised in the field, top man! Sinclair made the early breakthrough to a fine catch from Will Taylor. The introduction of Tashkoff saw victims pile up and Ashington were falling behind the pace, Jesse picking up 3-20. George Darwood came into the attack and took 2 wickets in his first over and the match was over as a contest. Newcastle were content to allow the hosts to bat without really threatening and Ashington finished 61 runs short on 137-7. This leaves Newcastle top of their T20 group. 
On Saturday, an important league clash with Castle Eden went the way of the visitors. Having won the toss, CECC had no hesitation in batting first on a belting pitch. Some average bowling from NCC allowed them to progress to 130-1, but a great fightback by Will Taylor (3-33 off 15) and Jesse Tashkoff (4-62 off 15) restricted the opposition to 200 all out. However, a very good bowling performance from Iqbal, Unsworth and Bailey simply blew away the NCC batting for a paltry total of 59. It is easy to point fingers at loose shots (of which there were a couple) but CECC bowled extremely well and maintained an extremely disciplined line for the most part and got batsman out, rather than batsman getting themselves out. A lesson perhaps for our seamers as to where we need to be targeting. 
NCC now sit 25 points off the top of the league but in a quirk of fixtures have already played the top 2 home and away, as well as the team in 3rd once in the first 8 games. The onus is on the lads to bounce back strong and claim one of the automatic promotion spots.
DoC MOTM – across the 2 games I’d have to give this to Chris McBride for a magnificent hundred, just nudging out Jesse Tashkoff. Will Taylor was excellent with the ball on Saturday also.
Newcastle 2nd XI
Report from James Carr
Newcastle 212/2 (31.5) beat Sacriston 211/9 (55) by 8 wickets
Newcastle picked up the full 30 points to complete an early season double over Sacriston thanks to a scintillating run chase.
The hosts opted to take first use of a good looking dry surface but were soon up against it thanks to a fine opening spell from George Darwood. Opening batsman Foreman first to depart, pinned lbw having been fortunate to escape edging behind from Miller in the previous over.
Sacriston had proceeded cautiously to 30 by the time young opener Anderson perished in similar fashion and only a further single was accrued by the time skipper Fort was tempted into a drive and was comprehensively bowled by Newcastle’s young seam star.
Marc Wood was rewarded for his early accuracy, clean bowling Small to leave the home innings teetering on 54/4 when the experienced Dixon was joined by Stephenson. The pair set about putting a respectable total on the board with measured strokeplay combined with making use of a short boundary as Newcastle looked to toil in the sunshine.
Shortly after reaching a fine half century Dixon was removed for 52 miscuing Brown to the safe hands of Boaden. Ex Durham star Betts then joined Stephenson the duo accumulated a further 30 runs before the former was trapped infront by the returning Darwood. The visitors scented an early conclusion as Stephenson was removed in the following over by the impressive Boaden.
Wood and Boaden both collected their second scalps as the hosts crawled to 181/9 while Newcastle were frustrated as a further pair of seemingly regulation edges to Stenhouse were surprisingly not given.
Straughair (42*) cashed in on the short boundary in the remaining overs as frustration grew in the visitors ranks, Sacriston closing on a competitive looking 211/9 from their full allocation.
The aggressive opening pair of Pinnington and Poll were re-united at the top of the order and wasted no time in setting about the youthful opening bowlers. Pinnington in particular looking in no mood to hang around with a series of trademark lofted drives and brutal pull shots before eventually falling for 59 from just 45 deliveries including six 4s and five maximums.
Boaden was promoted to the number 3 slot but failed to get off the mark before tickling one behind and showing great spirit by walking as the umpires finger once again remained unmoved.
Fellows joined the in-form Poll as the hosts sensed an opportunity to put Newcastle under pressure but the pair combined elegant shot making with positive running to keep the scoreboard moving rapidly in the right direction. The short boundaries and fast outfield offering real value for shots as the home attack wilted.
Polls’ Indian summer continued as he passed 50 and his steady accumulation of singles after this point allowed Fellows to exhibit his own fine form, unfurling a series of attractive drives and delicate late cuts as victory looked a formality.
The 3rd wicket partnership reached three figures as the winning runs were struck, Fellows reeling off four consecutive boundaries to go past 50, finishing on 65 not out while
Poll stood firm to end unbeaten on 66.
Only 31.5 overs were required and the 2 wickets lost meant that Newcastle scooped all available bonus points for a full 30 point return, leaving the side in great heart ahead of next week’s mouthwatering clash with table-toppers Benwell Hill.


Newcastle 177/4 (20) beat Ashington 90 all out (17.5) by 87 runs
Newcastle 165/8 (20) beat Blaydon 76 all out (14) by 89 runs

Newcastle delighted another bumper crowd at the JCG with a pair of ruthless displays to progress to the NEPL T20 Quarter finals in emphatic fashion.
Starting the day with a tricky looking fixture against Ashington, captain Carr had no hesitation in deciding to bat first on a fine looking surface that looked sure to be full of runs.
Euan Stenhouse was promoted to his favoured opening role in the short format and in partnership with the ever dangerous Pinnington, wasted no time in feasting on the Acorns attack.
The pair took full advantage of the 6 over powerplay, reaching 56 without loss, Stenhouse in particular impressing with a fine display of power hitting against the largely spin based attack.
After Pinnington departed for a fine 34 including six boundaries Newcastle sprang a tactical surprise with the promotion of Miller to the no.3 role. The left hander kept the momentum going with 18 off 13 balls as he and Stenhouse looked to run the visitors ragged.
Walker joined in as Stenhouse’s boundary blitz continued, although any thoughts of the former Tynemouth man reaching three figures were ended in the 17th over, finally falling for a magnificent 81 containing eight fours and 5 towering maximums.
Walker departed for a brisk 23 in the final over having been joined by Green who made a quick fire 12* from 8 balls as the home side finished on a very satisfactory 177/3.
Opening bowling pair of Darwood and Miller immediately put the visitors openers under pressure and for once it wasn’t the young seamer who made the breakthrough, Jobling holding on to a fine running catch from Millers bowling that would be a sign of things to come from the home side in the field.
The surprise introduction of young off-spinner Boaden in the 5th over really hammered home the hosts advantage. First Walker grabbed hold of a stunner at mid-wicket to remove the dangerous Turnbull and then opener Levison was clean bowled to leave the reply in tatters at 27/3.
Boaden picked up a further 2 scalps to and ended up with 4/21 from his four overs and in conjunction with the evergreen Brown (1/17 from 4) Newcastle were able to squeeze the life out of the run chase, reducing the visitors to 64/6 after 12 overs.
Young paceman Jobling was introduced to the attack and picked up the prized scalp of a hamstrung Harmison while Miller returned with wickets in his third and fourth overs to finish with an excellent 3 for 12 in his 4 overs.
Pinnington needed just 5 balls to wrap things up as Clark was last man to go with the total on just 90. Only 2 wides were conceded and gloveman Allen will have been delighted with a stumping and no byes. Excellent catches from Jobling, Stenhouse, Walker twice, Green and Carr rounded off a display of bowling and fielding rarely surpassed at this level.
Blaydon edged home in a thrilling second match as the crowd built up in the sunshine, setting up a winner takes all final match of the day between the hosts and the side from Winlaton.
Newcastle were perhaps surprised to be asked to bat first and didn’t have things all their own way from the start as the men in maroon, clearly on a high from their last gasp win made life more difficult for the Newcastle openers. Pinnington showed glimpses of his best with 4 boundaries in his 22, Miller just failed to clear long on and was well caught and Stenhouse didn’t find the same fluency of the first match, falling for 16.
The dependable Walker was joined by Nick Green at 60/3 in the 9th over and the pairs 58 run stand was the bedrock of the hosts total. Walker, particularly devastating with the slog sweep, made 46 from only 32 while Greens impressive 33 from 26 provided the perfect foil.
Wickets continued to fall but the home sides batting depth allowed the runs to continue to flow as Carr’s 20 from 12 at the death took Newcastle to an imposing 165/8.
The home attack once again offered no opportunity for the Blaydon openers to get off to the fast start they required. Miller provided a rare maiden in his first over and the first 4 overs realised a paltry 9 without loss.
Brown provided the breakthrough the black and yellow men were looking for as Stenhouse, excellent in the field held on to remove Pollard.
What was to follow was almost exclusively the Joe Boaden show as the visitors, faced by a required run rate spiralling out of control looked to score from the off spinner but were totally bamboozled by a fabulous display of flight and guile.
Opener Lamb was bowled through the gate for 12 before Richardson and McCarthy were caught in the deep from the 5th and 6th balls from the youngsters second over. A remarkable hat trick was completed with the first ball of Boadens next over when Mason skewed a catch to Walker who took a simple catch at backward point as the captain, oblivious to the hat trick opportunity, left the field totally unchanged.
Incredibly Boadens final over inflicted further misery on the away side as Murray and Butterwell were bowled in consecutive deliveries. This time, Newcastle opted for an ultra aggressive field for the second hat trick opportunity of the day although the delivery was well played by young Young. Boaden, though wasn’t to be denied and signed off his spell in fine style, removing Young’s off bail much to the disappointment of a vocal travelling contingent. Boadens spell ending with the superb figures of 4 overs, 7 (seven) for 26.
In a moment of pleasing symmetry, Pinnington again was introduced to claim the final wicket, the faultless Allen with his second stumping of the innings as an 89 run victory added to the earlier 87 run winning margin on a memorable day where all involved made fantastic contributions.
Newcastle 3rd XI
Report from Andy Goldsborough
Newcastle 199/6 (40) beat Annfield Plain 197/5 (40) by 2 runs
The 3rd team returned to South Hetton for the second consecutive weekend, finding the ground baked in sunshine with the pitch looking dry and true. After winning the toss, captain Goldsborough had no hesitation in electing to bat first and openers Roberts and Cook set about their business. 
After a watchful start under instruction to lay a platform for the innings, Tiger was the first man to go – LBW for 3 despite looking solid against the new ball. Frank Cook (26) expanded his game after an obdurate start, stroking several boundaries in quick succession before he was dismissed in the 17th over. Amin (2) was sadly unable to replicate the scintillating form that saw him score over 90 in a cup game on Thursday night. This meant that by the halfway stage, Newcastle found themselves 46/3 and in need of someone to push us towards a competitive total. Alex Hardy was joined at the crease by Scott Armstrong (a late call up in the absence of Marc Wood) and he duly set about his task. After a good start, Scott (14) was unlucky to be trapped LBW but his departure brought in-form Rory Law to the crease. Rory began his innings carefully, but soon found his touch and began dispatching the ball to all parts of the ground. In a single over he went from 47 to 79 after targeting the opposition’s spinners and pushed Newcastle well past 150. Rory’s 105 came from a staggering 47 balls and he was applauded by both home and away fans after being dismissed in the final over. Newcastle closed on 199/6 thanks to Rory’s magnificent century (his second of the season) and more smart cricket from Alex Hardy (29*) who backed up his unbeaten 50 the previous week. 
The 3s top order are beginning to consistently play with maturity and experience that belies their collective youth – their efforts have laid the platform on numerous occasions this season which is very pleasing to see. It is clear that playing sensibly against the new ball and waiting for opportunities to score later in the innings pays dividends, and we aim to continue this approach through to the second half of the season.
Opening the bowling together yet again for Newcastle were Paddy McMorran and Will McLaughlin – both excellent in finding a good line and length straight away. Paddy bowled with pace and accuracy for 9 overs straight and beat the bat with regularity. He desperately deserved more reward for his hard graft. Will picked up the team’s first wicket with the final ball of his first spell, although the opposition were 82/1 at the halfway stage (far better than our comparable score after 20 overs so we knew we could be in for a close game).
Isaac Howell (1/28) and Vinny Tyagi (1/23) bowled brilliantly in the middle overs, and both their wickets came courtesy of some excellent work behind the stumps from Amin. With 80 needed from the final 8 overs, Annfield Plain’s Craig Smith played superbly – hitting some brutal boundaries as he chased the win. A dropped catch in the deep and some uncharacteristic mistakes in the field showed that the fielding side were feeling the pressure. Goldsborough claimed the 5th wicket of the innings in the penultimate over, but Smith was still at the crease and had already reached his half century. 7 runs were required from the final over…
Up stepped Will Mclaughlin who bowled with great skill and accuracy under pressure to restrict the in-form batters to just 4 from the over. Victory was sealed by only two runs, and all credit to the opposition for giving it everything – it was a tight game played in the right spirit and a true advert for win-lose cricket.
It’s important that we learn from our victories as well as defeats, and there will be things to work on in training this week to ensure we keep winning these tight games in future. Greenside 1st XI are up next and they will certainly challenge us; it’s up to us to rise to the challenge and be the best we can be in order to win. We are very much looking forward to the week ahead!
Thanks to South Hetton for hosting and to Kev McNab for scoring – a true club man.