1st XI

Newcastle 142/5 (20) beat Burnopfield 103 all out (18.3) by 39 runs

Newcastle 276/4 dec (48) drew with Philadelphia 141/8 (57)

Report from Phil Hudson:

Newcastle travelled to Burnopfield on Friday night knowing that a win would put them in command of their T20 group in the group of death in the NEPL T20. Batting first, Newcastle got off to a great start with McBride and Collins at the crease, augmented by some great shots from Tashkoff. McBride perished for a well made 50, continuing his fine form but a great partnership by Will Taylor (31) and Bobby Green (18*) took the score up to 145 with some good running and smart cricket. At halfway, we felt this was slightly above par and this was proved by a fantastic opening spell by Luke Mussett who bowled with real pace and venom, ably backed up by George Darwood who continues to impress. Wickets fell regularly and when Jesse Tashkoff removed danger man Jacques du Toit the chase was pretty much done, with Burnopfield falling 40 runs or so short. This was a great performance across the board, and our efforts in the field were outstanding and ensured the bowlers were backed to the hilt.

On Saturday, we played Philadelphia. We batted first on what looked to be a good surface, although the pitch played considerably slower than anticipated. Nonetheless, Collins and Green opened up and sought to blunt the attack. When Green departed to a fine catch, it was very much the Chris McBride show. McBride took the Philadelphia attack apart with Collins playing an obdurate support role as NCC set an imposing total. McBride was eventually dismissed for a wonderful 137, with Collins accelerated latterly in his innings to depart for an important 67. A thoroughly entertaining cameo from Jonty Barnes (46*) included some mighty blows and skipper Quirk pulled the troops in at 48 overs with 276-4 on the board.

Philadelphia had decided that 276 was too many runs for them to chase (albeit they had 2 senior batsman struggling with injuries) and made no attempt to chase the score down in 57 painful overs. Luke Mussett deserves credit for running in all day in brutal conditions on an extremely slow wicket for no reward. George Darwood again impressed picking up his first 1st XI wickets in league cricket across 2 spells. Spinners Tashkoff and Taylor toiled away and at one stage it looked like NCC might force a result as we got Phili 8 down, but the slowness of the pitch simply made it impossible for us to bowl them out on. The opposition made mention of NCC scoring too many runs for them to contemplate chasing, but to my mind you should always seek to be positive in a run chase. The fact is that had Phili made 200 in a losing chase they’d have taken as many points from the game as they did on Saturday, and then they may even have won it. The pitch deserves some criticism as for time cricket there simply wasn’t enough pace in it for anyone to be bowled out on. Had NCC declared earlier on say 240 Philadelphia would have been afforded 60 overs to chase 240 on a flat pitch with a short boundary one side on the hottest day of the year, so it is understandable that Quirk chose to be slightly cautious when he had no idea of opposition batting strength.

Nonetheless, a lot of positives to take from this weekend’s cricket. We hope to welcome Kieran Trevaskis back from injury soon as well as Ben Mussett in the coming weeks, and are delighted to sign Tom Mackintosh from Durham.

DoC MOTM – Chris McBride.

2nd XI

Newcastle 130/4 (34.1) beat Benwell Hill 129 all out (42.1) by 6 wickets

Report from James Carr:

Newcastle announced their arrival into the NEPL Division 2 title race with a comfortable win over early season pace-setters Benwell Hill.

Maintaining the fine recent record of losing the toss at will, Newcastle found themselves in the field first on a Medicals surface looking much improved from the previous fixture at the Heaton venue.

A lethargic start in the field allowed the dangerous Joe Moore to strike 3 early boundaries but Newcastle got themselves into the game in the third over as Miller induced a drag-on from an ambitious drive.

Former Northumberland stalwart Heather arrived at number 3 and survived a huge lbw appeal from the impressive Phillips. The Scot’s relief was to be short lived however as Miller got one to rise steeply and Stenhouse took a smart catch from the resultant glove.

Hills’ number 4 Mustard was keen to inject some impetus into the visitors effort and took Miller to the cleaners with 4 well struck boundaries in the 7th over before Phillips was finally rewarded for a probing spell as Poll took a smart catch in the gully to send the youngster packing for an action packed 27.

Ex-Newcastle skipper Matty Hynd was in patient mood and was looking to be the glue of the visitors innings but departed for 16 with the score on 86 to give Jobling his first scalp. The young paceman then tore the heart out of the league leaders innings, defeating Chambers for pace first ball then also sending Archbold back for a duck as Poll clung on again.

The ever reliable Brown, wheeling away at the other end in typically miserly fashion got one through Kilpatricks defences to leave the visitors reeling on 96/7. Joe Fletcher meanwhile looked relatively untroubled before falling to Boaden, caught in the deep on 34 by that man Poll when looking to up the ante as he began to run out of partners.

Torre joined Jones and had a moment of fortune as Boadens delivery beat him all ends up, however the bails remained rooted in their grooves despite the off stump being grazed. Boaden prevailed in the battle of the young off spinners in his next over though, landing a more direct blow on the stumps to the delight of the hosts.

Bhuiyan arrived as the Hills last man as he and Jones looked to bat out the remaining time and the pair frustrated the home attack for 8 overs until Jobling finally got a go at the number 11 and clean bowled him to finish with an excellent 4/35 from 9.1 overs.

In-form pair Pinnington and Poll looked to get off to a positive start against the West Road outfits early seam attack, aware that the introduction of a plethora of spinners may be the key to the game. The duo made 15 a piece before handing wickets to the ever-problematic Jones as the leggy left arm tweaker was introduced early.

Boaden was joined by Fellows with the score on 33/2 and the pair combined to take the home side to the brink of victory. Stout defence and positive running soon gave way to impressive stroke play as delightful cover drives were unfurled by both men.

Off-spinners Torre and Bhuiyan wheeled away without success and it took the late introduction of Archbold to remove Boaden who was unfortunate to pull a short ball straight to Mustard at square leg after an excellent 29.

Fellows departed with victory all but assured, picking the wrong one to leave from Archbold, allegedly following some less than stellar advice from Stenhouse. Any lingering doubts was soon removed by the former Tynemouth keeper as he plundered first Jones and then Bhuiyan for three towering maximums on his way to an unbeaten 26.

Walker contributed 6 undefeated as the hosts cruised to victory in under 35 overs, the 29 points accrued taking the Turret to within a point of their opponents who both now trail new leaders Gateshead Fell.

3rd XI

Newcastle 204 all out (37.2) lost to Greenside 208/4 (36.3) by 6 wickets

Report from Andy Goldsborough:

The 3rd team travelled to Greenside on one of the finest days of the summer so far, and duly elected to bat after winning the toss on a good pitch.

Openers Gray and Roberts began solidly against some good bowling, with the latter making use of the short boundaries – expertly pulling a ball for 6 amidst a short pitched barrage. Sadly Tiger could not capitalise on his good start after misjudging a full swinging delivery that bowled him for 12. Amin came in at first drop but looked uncomfortable against the early introduction of some off spin bowling, and was stumped while attempting to hit over the top.

After being dropped in the slips early on, Gray calmly set about his innings, blocking the good balls and punishing anything loose to move serenely past 50. Hardy offered Gray some support, but a poor lapse in concentration saw him run out for 8. Rory Law then came to the crease, fresh from his hundred the week before. Some dashing shots gave Rory a start, but he was caught in the deep for 13 soon after.

Despite scoring at a decent rate, Newcastle had an unfortunate habit of losing wickets at regular intervals which stopped us being able to bat the opposition out of the game. Tyagi offered us some hope with a fine batting display, and he put on a good partnership of 64 with Gray. Sadly there was no third successive hundred for Alex in the 3s as he was dismissed for 94 in the closing stages of the innings. Newcastle finished on 204 all out from 37 overs – a total that we felt was just about par on such a small ground.

Leading Newcastle’s bowling attack once again, Paddy McMorran continued his fine form with the ball and enjoyed bowling on a hard pitch with good pace and carry. He and Tyagi picked up a wicket apiece early on as the later was introduced as first change after 6 overs. A sharp run out chance taken by Gray had the opposition 3 wickets down, but their quality showed as all incoming batsmen were able to keep up with the required rate. Wood replaced McMorran and bowled superbly without reward for 9 tireless overs. A late wicket for Sarfraz George did little to stop the opposition’s momentum, in particular Connor Fellows who played brilliantly for an unbeaten 93.

McLaughlin was lucky to escape serious injury after being struck in the face by a skier on the long on boundary. Many thanks to Greenside’s impromptu medical team for saving his good looks and returning him to the field for a second spell.

A few more dropped catches and miss-fields followed, which released the pressure on the opposition who reached their target with 3 overs to spare. Special mention for this match goes to Kev McNab for volunteering to umpire the entire game – his dedication to the club know no bounds!

Although we are disappointed to lose, it shows how far the 3rd team have come to compete so closely with a strong 1st team. I am confident we can overturn the result in the return fixture, but we must be prepared to raise our standards in the field again and generally show more fight to wrestle the momentum our way in tight moments. Consett and Tynemouth are the next two league fixtures, and they will each prove to be stern tests – it’s vital we get back to training hard this week and show the desire to bounce back strongly. This group has shown such character and ability so far, and I know we have it in us to win some silverware this year. Onwards and upwards!

Academy XI

Newcastle 137/4 (32.5) beat Blaydon 135 all out (27.4) by 6 wickets

Report from Ali Poll:

The Academy travelled to Blaydon for the second time this season, with a game that panned out in similar fashion. We lost the toss and bowled first on what can only be described as a “Blaydon” wicket. Thom Holland and Isaac Howell opened the bowling, with both showing good control and creating early opportunities. Thom was unfortunate to go wicketless, while Isaac picked up 3-17 in his 7 overs. Thom was replaced by 12 year old Chas Darwood, who bowled superbly, pitching the ball up and attacking the stumps to pick up 4-22, his best return in senior cricket. He is adamant that an unsuccessful LBW appeal to claim a first 5-for would have resulted in three reds on review… At this point we had reduced Blaydon to 46-7, and perhaps took our foot off the gas a little. A caught and bowled from Steve Pinnington, a run out from Rob Walker and a good catch by Hamza Amin in the deep off Walker eventually finished the innings, with Blaydon managing to get up to 135. While this was only a par total at best, we knew we had let Blaydon off the hook slightly, and the wicket meant this wouldn’t be a straightforward chase.

Frank Cook and Ali Poll started the chase in an assured manner, ticking the scoreboard over against the Blaydon openers. They took the score to 70 in the 17th over before Frank (25) fell to a ball which went underground, sneaking under his forward defence. Walker fell soon after, attempting a drive on the up on probably the least advisable wicket imaginable for that shot. Pinnington joined Poll at the wicket, much to the apparent umbrage of Blaydon’s 2nd team contingent, who seemed to feel 2nd team players shouldn’t be playing… When Poll (43) pulled a short ball to backward square leg, the score was 93, with 43 runs still required. Despite losing Pinnington (31) on the way, Callum Graham-Rack (11*) and Amin (17*) saw us across the line with a relative lack of fuss, to complete a six wicket win with more than 7 overs remaining.

Plenty of positives to take from this performance – Isaac bowled well up front again, while Chas Darwood was brilliant with the ball, and Fred Procter bowled some good in-swing in his first senior game. We just need to make sure we keep the intensity up throughout the game in future. With the bat we did a good job on a difficult track to secure maximum points.

A massive thank you to those who played this week, especially those who came in at late notice, including Simon Holland for scoring and freeing up Fred for his senior debut.

Our next game will be against South North on 27th June – venue tbc.