A disappointing weekend as all 4 senior teams lost their games. Unavailability of key players across all teams was undoubtedly a key factor in those losses, but as you will read below there was plenty of promising performances to be confident that the teams will return to winning ways soon.
1st XI v Whitburn (h) - Pete Halliday's report
A glorious Saturday morning at the Hill and a firm pitch with little cause for concern meant only one thing, however the visitors called incorrectly, and the Hill were batting.
Haydon Mustard joined the team for his first outing of the season, replacing the injured Phil Nicholson, and Hector Chambers returned following a strong performance in the 2nd team last weekend, in for the unavailable Anthony Hunter. ‘Team Tall’ picked up a narrow, and undeserved 3-2 victory against ‘Team Short’ in a feisty encounter in the warm-up football game.
An uneventful start, thanks largely to a very tidy opening spell from Craig Smith and 16-year-old Mason Bell, the latter showing discipline and control beyond his years, starting with 3 maidens. The first wicket fell with 29 on the board. Heather joined Coetzer and quickly raced ahead of the Scotland captain, much to the bemusement of both teams and spectators. We were lucky to welcome a stag party from Cherry Tree Cricket Club, near Blackburn, and even through the 20+ pairs of sunglasses attempting to cover fairly substantial hangovers, they were undoubtedly impressed and may even look to approach the Scotsman for sub-pro opportunities in the future. At the other end, Coetzer played patiently but looked in complete control.
Heather departed for 38 and Angus Guy quickly followed, leaving the score at 104-3. Phill Bell joined Kyle and batted in his usual fluent manner as the score began to develop into a competitive total. Coetzer departed for an excellent 89 from 123 balls leaving the score at 178-4 with roughly 10 overs remaining. Haydon Mustard entered the pitch with real purpose, and his innings started in similar fashion with a boundary from his first delivery. He was eventually dismissed for 33 from just 16 balls in a performance with a combination of high-quality stroke play and positive running. 249-5 from our 50 overs. Former Whitburn man Bell finishing the innings with yet another unbeaten score, this time 51 from 59 balls. If you need any information on Phill’s average for the season, he’d be delighted to discuss the exact figures with you.
A very tidy opening spell from Coezter (4-33) and Harding offered hope for the Hill on a very good cricket surface. The visitors were reduced to 9-1, before Jack Burnham joined Vishal Tripathi (56) and a brilliant partnership of 120 followed. When Tripathi was dismissed by Mukthar, wickets needed to follow quickly, however former Durham man Burnham had other ideas, and despite offering chances in the field, played a number of unstoppable strokes. He was aided by a runner for the majority of his innings due to an injury picked up in the field, but it seemed to only hamper him slightly as he scored fluently and struck the ball to all parts of the ground. Our chances were not helped by an injury to Callum Harding, restricting the opener to just 4 overs, however the visitors managed the latter stages well, and were good value for their victory by 4 wickets in the 49th over. Burnham deservedly finished the innings, with a 6, and returned to the dressing room 134 not out from 105 deliveries.
A game of very fine margins and top-quality cricket produced an accurate reminder of the quality within the North East Premier League. Next weekend we travel to Newcastle for our final ‘win lose’ fixture for now, and then host Shotley Bridge in the Banks Salver on Sunday – a chance to return to the standards we expect but two strong sides to compete against.
The scorecard is available here https://benwellhill.play-cricket.com/website/results/5024248
2nd XI v Whitburn (a) - Andy Dawson's report
The 2nd XI’s inconsistent beginning to the season continued on Saturday. Having won the toss and elected to bat, we collapsed to 52-7 in truly spectacular style. The Whitburn bowlers were disciplined in their areas and got the orange ball to ‘talk’ in a manner that you don’t always see. But as the day looked as though it was going to be a short one at 91-9, Peter Jones brought some resistance along with his first 2nd team 50. Ably supported by Abu Siddique on debut (22), the final pair put on 85. Jonesy finishing 54* and giving us a competitive 176 to bowl at.
Having almost accidentally found ourselves in a game, we were optimistic of burgling a result we may not have fully deserved. We missed a great chance with the score on 6 as one of the Whitburn openers hit a vertical drive. From there, the opening pair seemed to be batting on an entirely different deck to the one we’d endured – accelerating quickly to 106 without loss with Bittlestone the reprieved batsman scoring 58 from 37. Once again, we looked as though we were going to be heading home early and on the end of a hiding. But with some excellent resilience in the field and with the ball, we rallied as Whitburn faultered to 118-5 and later 142-7. With 35 ‘big’ runs still required, a robbery once again looked like it might be on the cards. Sadly, Whitburn held their nerve to win by 8 wickets. There ended up being a lot of positives from a day, which had looked very bleak at times: Jonesy and Abu took 3 wickets each, and we showed a fighting spirit and effort, which will hopefully bring about better results in the coming weeks. To quote the chairman, onwards!
Match scorecard is available here https://benwellhill.play-cricket.com/website/results/5024813
West Tyne 3rd XI v Wylam (h @ Medomsley) - Chris Pounder's report
The West Tyne 3’s suffered a heavy loss on Saturday at home to Wylam losing by 9 wickets.
After winning the toss and opting to bat at one stage we were going at a run an over at the half way stage. The highlights with the bat were 50 not out from Rashid Shad and a dogged 26 from the returning Davey Ladd which saw us through to 111/7 from our 40 overs.
In reply Wylam made short work of reaching their target one wicket down with opener Mark Wilson hitting an unbeaten 50. The one bright spot in the bowling was yet again the performance of Warren Poxon who although wicketless showed yet again that he is growing in confidence with every game he plays.
The match scorecard is available here https://benwellhill.play-cricket.com/website/results/5294801
NEPL Sunday 3rd XI v Newcastle (h)
Sunday afternoon saw a high scoring game at the Hill. Newcastle batted first and took advantage of the Hill's shortage of bowling as they posted 269 for 7 off 40 overs, normal wicket keeper Rohan Aatif returned the best bowling figures with 3 for 55 off his 8 overs. Impressive figures off 8 overs 1 for 29 from Safi, and 5 overs 1 for 28 from 14 year old Warren Poxon the other highlights.
The Hill put a spirtited chase and finished 41 runs short on 228 for 5. Zain Ahmed with 51, Taylor Matthews with 43, Joe Fletcher with 42 not out and Sarwar Kabir with 40, the top scorers.
The match scorecard is available here https://benwellhill.play-cricket.com/website/results/5134472