Lanchester 1st XI 230 all out (46.5 overs) lost to Newcastle 1st XI 233/4 (34.2 overs) by 6 wickets – Phil Hudson

A strong Newcastle 1st team featuring a number of close season signings travelled to Lanchester hoping to start the season strongly against newly promoted opposition. We were disappointed not to be able to field Liam Trevaskis who was required by Durham but the depth in the playing squad meant we were fortunate to be able to bring in Jonty Barnes as a keeper/batsman option, and rely on Will Taylor as a spinner.

Captain Quirk was delighted to win the toss and insert Lanchester on a pitch with plenty of grass, but that played really well. This brought a slight complication to the fore in that traffic problems had delayed the arrival of Chris Miller and Will Taylor. Fortunately, in a like for like trade in terms of athleticism Director of Cricket Phil Hudson was able to deputise in the field until the offending lads turned up a full hour and 5 mins after the meeting time! This was to prove one of relatively few hiccups for the team who put in a strong performance.

Lanchester went out relatively strongly and aside from a Luke Mussett caught and bowled (juggled) they proceeded relatively serenely. The pitch was playing very true and Brinton in particular had some joy hitting through the line, which, combined with some profligacy on the part of the NCC seam attack allowed the hosts to get to 70-1. Captain Quirk astutely observed that pace off might be the way to go and introduced our overseas player Jesse Tashkoff into the attack who immediately settled into a great line and length, stifling the formerly confident Lanchester batsman. His initial spell of 6-1-9-1 included the key wicket of Brinton and took all the momentum out of the Lanchester innings. The old warhorse Quirk wheeled away diligently at the other end and Newcastle enjoyed a good spell in the match. Tashkoff was taken off to keep some overs back and Will Taylor brought on, immediately causing similar problems and maintaining a great line and length. Taylor picked up key wickets and ended with 3-36 off his 10 overs. Some rotation of the attack from Quirk allowed the skipper to snare a couple of LBWs and Chris McBride set a record for beating the outside edge without success in a strong second spell. Luke Mussett was brought back as a strike option and claimed 2 more victims to end with 4-45 on debut. Lanchester finished with 230 all out, aided by 44 extras, of which 24 were bowling extras. This was identified by the bowlers as an obvious area for improvement post game.

Openers Green and Mussett went out to begin the chase and were both dismissed cheaply, with Green perhaps a touch unfortunate, to leave NCC at 7-2. This brought Kieran Trevaskis and Chris McBride to the crease and they set about rebuilding the innings with discipline and application as both sought to claim some fluency. They added 90 for the 3rd wicket which was invaluable before Trevaskis was unfortunately the victim of a direct hit run out. VAR footage courtesy of Lanchester live stream was inconclusive, certainly but for the direct hit he would have made it. He departed for an invaluable 28. This innings was pleasing as Kieran clearly wasn’t at his best, but showed great responsibility to lay a platform for the rest of the chase. McBride by this point was in to his stride, unfurling a number of reverse sweeps to infuriate spinner Barnes. Jesse Tashkoff joined him and showcased some great strokes in a cameo of 17, before falling victim to Barnes in trying to assert himself further. This concluded a really promising debut for Jesse. Fellow debutant Will Taylor came in 6 full of confidence from his bowling display and set about sensibly building his innings and rotating the strike to McBride. The Lanchester bowlers simply had no idea how to contain Chris as he helped himself to his 1sthundred of the season off just 83 balls. Taylor continued to play smartly and unfurled some great shots as he cruised to 31* off 36 balls in the company of the senior partner. McBride had the last word, slapping the ball through midwicket for 4 to move to 126* off 103 and see the Turret home by 6 wickets with 15 overs to go.

All in all, a lot of positives to take. Whilst not at our best with the ball, we managed the game smartly and Quirk changed bowlers well. We know to work on our extras count but ground fielding was good in challenging conditions. With the bat, we overcame the early setbacks to set 3 consecutive partnerships which is the key to success. Our game management in general was good and this bodes well. Special mentions to debutants Luke Mussett, Jesse Tashkoff and Will Taylor who played a huge part in the win but Chris McBride stood out as a class apart in this game with a magnificent hundred, and deservedly takes the DoC man of the match for this game.

Newcastle 2nd XI 312/5 (50 overs) beat Washington 2nd XI 108 all out (29.1 overs) by 204 runs – James Carr

The second XI got their league campaign off to the best possible start with a resounding win over an experienced Washington side at a sun-kissed HQ.

Winning the toss and having no hesitation in making first use of a dry looking surface, the hosts suffered an early blow as Pinnington edged behind for just 4. Stevie Allen looked to be in fine early season touch before being undone on 24 by a delivery that nipped back off the seam.

At 47/2 young debutant Matty Stewart was joined by Fellows and the pairs 101 partnership put the hosts firmly in the driving seat. Stewart showed great maturity throughout with superb shot selection while Fellows seized the initiative with a flurry of attractive drives whilst capitalising on anything short of a length.

Stewart departed shortly after drinks for an impressive 39 bringing Euan Stenhouse to the crease. The close season capture from Tynemouth looked to be at his belligerent best from the outset striking down the ground with authority whilst positive running between the wickets saw the total pass 200 in next to no time.

A second century stand of the innings (102) was brought to an end as Fellows fell agonisingly short of a well deserved hundred, his 93 from 97 balls including 7 fours and 3 maximums.

Joe Boaden joined Stenhouse with no sign of the run rate dropping. The pair combined for a further 59 stand as Euan approached three figures. The dashing keeper-batsman began the final over on 94 and on strike. Adding a further couple, three figures seemed a formality however hopes of a memorable second debut were denied as a low full toss was mistimed and visiting skipper Richardson made no mistake at mid-wicket. Any lingering hopes of a reprieve were rightly denied as the umpires confirmed the delivery was a fair one.

Stenhouse closed with 96 from just 64 deliveries with 10 fours and a six. Boaden adding a pleasing cameo to finish 21 not out as the hosts posted an imposing 312/5.

The Wearsiders reply got off to the worst possible start as the experienced opener Nunn attempted an ambitious 3rd run in the opening over and was comfortably ran out following excellent work in the outfield by George Darwood.

Young paceman Darwood caused all kinds of problems with prodigious late in-swing with his opening spell returning figures of 2/25 in six overs. Seam partner Phillips dovetailing effectively with a typically miserly 1/17 in seven overs as the visitors lost wickets at regular intervals.

An unfortunate groin strain suffered by Boaden in the field meant leg-spinner Stewart was introduced to the attack earlier than anticipated. Disciplined bowling and smart catches from Carr, Boaden and Darwood helping the former Alnwick man to 3/37 in 7 overs to complete a memorable debut.

A typically aggressive spell from the Cemetery end from Will Jobling kept the visitors on the back foot and a surprise full delivery claimed the wicket of the veteran Richardson as the youngster returned with 1/18 from 7 overs of sustained hostility.

Wily campaigner Keith Brown was belatedly introduced to the attack and the crowd favourite wasted no time in feasting on the Washington late order with 2 lbw shouts upheld for just 4 runs conceded to wrap up a resounding win.
20 points in the bag and the side go into next weeks clash with Tynemouth in great heart.

Newcastle 3rd XI 203/5 (40 overs) beat Benwell & Walbottle 2nd XI 44 all out (25.4 overs) by 159 runs – Rory Law

On a lovely day at Benwell and Walbottle, captain Andy Goldsborough won the toss and elected to bat. The pitch was on a slope, so teams experienced two very different scenarios as deliveries up the slope died on the surface, while deliveries down the slope had more carry and bounce. Alex Gray and Tiger Roberts opened the batting and were immediately watchful, keeping out the round-arm swingers from the opening bowler and punishing the loose balls. Alex found his touch early, hitting some powerful leg-side shots to the short boundary, and both batsmen were still there after 15 overs. Eventually, Tiger was cleaned up for a gutsy 15. Then Newcastle began a small collapse, as the middle order of Hamzah Amin, Rob Walker, Frank Cook and Alex Hardy scored just 3 between them, facing some accurate and penetrative bowling. Marc Wood came to the crease and steadied the ship, allowing Alex to score while running well on his way to a tactically sound 34*. Alex continued to accumulate runs as the opposition never really came close to dismissing him – his watchful approach to their off-spinner paid dividends as he cashed in during the death overs. He brought up his hundred at a smooth pace, and finally ended on 143* as Wood gave him the strike at every available opportunity. It was an absolutely superb knock, punishing the bad balls and moving the scoreboard along nicely, much to the delight of his fantasy cricket owners. Newcastle finished with an impressive 203/5 off their 40 overs.

In reply, Benwell and Walbottle looked under pressure right from the start as Paddy McMorran’s extra pace troubled their opening batsmen and Will McLaughlin immediately found seam movement up the hill. By bowling tight lines, Newcastle reduced the opposition to 23/4, with Paddy taking two in two balls. The batsman only just kept the hattrick ball out. Newcastle tightened their grip further, and denied the opposition any scoring opportunities. Andy Goldsborough took 3 wickets in his 2 overs; a just reward for shaping the ball in nicely to the right handers, and George Sarfraz took 2 wickets with his canny variations. Newcastle’s fielding was particularly impressive with Will McLaughlin and Marc Wood taking sharp chances at mid-off and gully respectively. Wood proceeded to trial his left arm spin and did take one wicket with a excellent spinning delivery (he took more, but they bounced too many times…), and Newcastle bowled the opposition out for just 44.

Particularly after a losing our pre-season opener, this hugely comfortable win echoed everything that’s been worked on in training all week and gave the boys a lot of confidence. On to next week!