Yep. It was heads again. We were asked to bowl on a glorious day by the coast. I did suggest that my plan all along was to field first, though even the converted were dubious.
Two changes to the team as Coetzer and McCreath replaced Johnston and Torre. The latter unfortunate to miss out after his performance last week, but a tactical decision was made to include an extra batsman.
Tynemouth were likely full of confidence following a comfortable win on the opening weekend and excellent recruitment over the winter, including former Durham and Ireland wicketkeeper-batsman, Stuart Poynter.
Hill openers Hunter and Doneathy started with discipline and were rewarded with a wicket each inside the first 10 overs. A big wicket in Poynter followed, Coetzer finding the edge through to Halliday, leaving the hosts 45-3. Tynemouth captain Matthew Brown (68) steadied the ship, supported by overseas amateur Rahman (21), and Matthew Kimmitt (45), however once he was removed, rather fortunately on our part by Mukhtar (4-39), the Hill regained control. At 192-9, hopes of chasing a target below 200 seemed a real possibility. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite go to plan, but Hunter took the final wicket, meaning 223 was required for victory. Mukhtar the obvious standout with the ball, supported by an economical 2-23 from Kyle Coetzer. Extras are certainly an area for improvement – 15 wides and 2 nb’s are costly, particularly in this format.
It’s safe to say the Hill response didn’t quite start as planned! Coetzer departed for a 2nd ball duck and was followed quickly by Doneathy. Once Finn McCreath departed at 45-3, the 178 runs required for victory looked improbable against a side who had started with real aggression, buoyed by the removal of 3 highly dangerous players. The significant talent within the Hill senior squad is something we are reminded of on a regular basis throughout a season, and this was another prime example. A highly energetic, fluent partnership from Angus Guy (104*) and Mohsin Mukhtar (66) transformed the innings. Mukhtar departed leaving the score at 135, but Guy remained solid, and was supported by Nicholson (11) in a crucial partnership of 36. Phill Bell (17*) carried his form from the previous week to support Angus, who finished with his maiden 1XI century for the Hill. Angus joined the club last year and threatened a big score on several occasions. He’s a very popular member in the dressing room and the whole group were absolutely delighted to see him reach three figures – we’re all convinced this will be the first of many.
An excellent victory, all the more pleasing given our grit and determination to fight back on numerous occasions throughout the game. Our attention now turns to our first home fixture of the season, against a newly promoted Sunderland side who tasted victory for the first time this weekend. It is clear by scanning other results so far that this promises to be a very competitive NEPL season, with every team very capable.
The scorecard is available here https://benwellhill.play-cricket.com/website/results/5024352