1st XI Newcastle 176 – 7 (40 overs) lost to Farsley 177 – 4 (27.2 overs)

The First XI entertained Farsley CC from the Bradford Premier League in a pre-season warm up on Saturday, in the first game of cricket that HQ saw in 2021.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat on a very good looking wicket for early April, Ben Quirk sent in the new top order partnership of Ben Mussett and Bobby Green. Both set about their work and looked to build a solid foundation that we hope will reap dividends as the season progresses.

After the loss of Ben in the 8th over, Jonty Barnes came to the crease looking to keep Farsley’s opening bowlers at bay, despite a couple of lovely looking shots his innings ended prematurely when he was wrapped on the pads by J. Rodgers.

Kieran Trevaskis came to the crease at 4 and set about punishing the decision to bowl an off spinner with a short leg side boundary. Green and Trevaskis set about steadying the ship, getting the first 50 run partnership of the season for the 1s. Trevaskis’ innings ended when he forgot how to hit a ball that was bound for his stumps.

After the subsequent departure of Green, Francis Collins and another new signing Will Taylor had to again steady the ship, but both did so superbly, putting on 70 in 10 overs with some lusty blows from Taylor. Useful runs at the end from the bowlers gave the first XI 176 to defend.

Despite an early breakthrough from Sinclair, Farsley’s experience showed as they looked to target the short boundary and capitalise on anything short or full of a length. Luke Mussett bowled two good spells on his debut, with real pace, something we look forward to continue witnessing as the season progresses.

Overs from Chris Miller and new skipper Ben Quirk looked to steady the ship and try pull the game back in Newcastle’s favour through the early middle overs. However with the short boundary, combined with the power of Farsley’s middle order it was always going to be difficult for spin duo Joe Boaden and Taylor to keep them under wraps.

Farsley used their experience and nouse to their advantage and knocked off the winning runs before the 30th over, again proving the quality of the pitch that was produced. A huge thank you to them for travelling to play, providing us with good competition before the start of the league season next week. Best of luck to them in their 2021 season!

After the game, Director of Cricket Operations, Phil Hudson, noted that he was happy with how the game went, despite the result. Four of the top six batters scoring over 30, all getting valuable time in the middle, whilst the bowlers got a good run out. Special mentions to livewires in the field in Bobby Green and Joe Boaden who threw themselves around excellently for the duration of the fielding session.

All in all, plenty to build on for next weeks first league game, Away to Lanchester, where we have some players to come back into the fold, including overseas Jesse Tashkoff.

2nd XI Newcastle 84 – 10 (31.2 overs) lost to Tynemouth 88 – 5 (21.3 overs)

Saturday saw a return to action for the 2nd team away at a bitterly cold Tynemouth. New additions Matty Stewart and Euan Stenhouse were included in the XI and having won the toss, skipper James Carr elected to bat, hoping to give our batsmen some valuable time at the crease.

This didn’t quite go to plan, slipping to 23-2 early on. Carr and Stewart steadied the ship with the latter looking very comfortable at the crease showing great signs for his debut season for NCC. The main issue seemed to be the full and straight delivery with 7 dismissals being either bowled or LBW. Finishing 84 all out it was a very disappointing start, but credit to the Tynemouth bowlers for sticking to their plans and forcing us to make the errors.

In the second half it was a chance for the bowlers to get some much needed overs in their legs and try to defend the low total.

George Darwood started with a great opening spell with the new ball and great to see Harry Phillips getting back to his best with 2 wickets.

Will Jobling also taking 2 wickets, one being a dubious stumping, a classic fast bowlers wicket.

A few missed chances in the field and the game could have been different but Tynemouth reached the target 5 wickets down.

A lot of things to work on this coming week ahead of the league opener vs Washington at HQ.

Huge thanks to everyone at Tynemouth for ensuring the game went ahead and for their hospitality.

3rd XI Newcastle 145 – 9 (40 overs) lost to Consett 149 – 7 (34.3 overs)

The 3s first game of the 2021 season began on Sunday, as we hosted Consett 2nd XI at Medicals.

After losing the toss and being inserted, our innings got off to an inauspicious start with Hamzah Amin run out without facing a ball. Tight stump-to-stump bowling from the visitors proved tricky to deal with, and we soon found ourselves in a difficult situation at 39 for 6. Alex Hardy stepped to the crease and once again showed he’s a man for a crisis. Alex, along with Rory Law and Mark Wood, put together good partnerships with smart running and good cricket shots to take our total past 110. Excellent lower order hitting from Will McLaughlin (29 off 20 balls) propelled our final total to 145/9 off 40 overs. It was very pleasing to see that the team had taken on board the lessons from the previous fortnight’s training; batting cleverly to negotiate a difficult period in the match and post a competitive first innings score.

In reply Consett started well with an opening fifty partnership, helped by a few dropped catches along the way. Opening bowlers McLaughlin and Wood toiled away well but were unlucky to go wicket-less in the first 10 overs. Fielding conditions worsened somewhat with the arrival of heavy snowfall, but the two teams played on regardless. Frank Cook atoned for an earlier drop by taking two excellent catches on the boundary to give us hope of winning the game. Newcastle attempted to squeeze the run rate during the middle overs, with some success, but Consett needed only 30 runs from the final 10 overs and duly knocked off the total with 6 overs and 3 wickets to spare.

All told, it was a fantastic run out for the team and everyone can take confidence in their performance. Lessons will be learned and I’m sure we’ll enjoy our time competing in a higher division this year. Onwards and upwards!