It;s been a busy month for our Junior sides, read on to get the Coach's view of how things have gone.
Under 15s - Barry Pearson/Max Williamson
The under 15s suffered two defeats at home to a strong South North side, one in the League and one in the Cup, which put a severe dent in our hopes for silverware in the 2023 season. In the cup semi final on the 8th June, the Hill batted first and scored 118/4 in 20 overs, mainly thanks to an excellent 47 from skipper Jayam Patel. South North reached their target with three overs to spare to win by six wickets, although dropped catches were to prove costly as both of the main scorers were given a life and made a difference, On the 26th June, we again hosted South North, this time in the League in what was always likely to be a crucial game to decide the League winners.
Batting first, our visitors scored 142/2 in 20 overs, helped by a woeful Hill performance in the field as dropped catches and sloppy ground fielding did not help our cause. However, a spirited reply with the bat took us within 9 runs, Warren Poxon maintained his good form with a hard hitting unbeaten 51, and despite 22 from Rory Mustard and 28 from Ayush Chakraborty, we fell just short.
Despite the two defeats to South North, there were positives to come out of the games, and three convincing wins against good opposition were to provide much optimism. On the 12th June, we racked up 174/4 in 20 overs against Newcastle City, Warren scoring 45, Subhan 27 and Rory made an unbeaten 50. Ben Robinson continued his good season in reply with three wickets as Newcastle City made 115/6 in reply. The following week saw us travel to Tynedale in what was an excellent game. Batting first, we made a sluggish start before Subhan made 50*, Fergus Wallace 35* and Ayush 26* as we set Tynedale 136 to win. The 102 that the Hill scored in the last ten overs of the innings proved decisive as Tynedale finished on 120/6, Aaron Armstrong took 2 wickets with one each for Warren, Jayam and Ed Moody. Last Monday, we travelled to Ashington to consolidate our position in second place. The Hill scored 146/3 with Subhan scoring another 50 and Warren 24, while in reply Ashington struggled up against the excellent spin bowling from Aaron and Ayush with both having the excellent figures of 3 for 4.
Under 13s - Jim Robinson
June has been another good month of development and improvement for the U13s.
4th of June was a loss at home to a very strong South North side. Batting first we posted 88/5. Notable contributions of 24 for both Gabe Mellor and Ibrahim Ahmed and a strong 18 n.o. from Seb Fletcher-Woods. Despite Gabriel bowling both their openers for 1 South north proved too strong with the bat and went on to get to the total in 16 overs.
Next up was a comfortable win over Newcastle City at home. City batted first and were restricted to 80/7. Pick of the bowling was Sai Patel with 2 for 9 off his 2 overs. A very professional run chase followed ending 81/1 off 16.4 overs. 26 for Gabriel Mellor, 17no for Liam Hynd and 25no for Ibrahim Ahmed.
The next game was in the 100 competition, away to South North Red. Unfortunately, again South North proved too strong but the difference between the sides had noticeably closed. Batting first we managed 121 for 7. 30no for Harsh Patel was well supported by 2 excellent cameos at the end of the innings with 18no for both Sai Patel and Thomas Hewson.
The performance of the season so far followed with a comfortable win away at Backworth.
Batting first we scored 175/2. 33no for Liam Hynd, 31no Harsh Patel and 31no for Gabreil Mellor being the pick of the batting. Backworth were then kept to 68/6 off their 20 overs. Matthew Barber picking up 2 wickets for 6 off his 2 overs.
If Backworth was the best batting performance then the following week away at Tynedale proved to be the best bowling performance so far. Batting first we managed 124/5. 16 for Ibrahim Ahmed, 15 for Gabriel Mellor and an excellent 25no from Seb Fletcher Woods helping us achieve a reasonable total.
The star of the day was undoubtably Nicholas Walder who took 2 wickets with the first 2 balls of the innings. Ending with figures of 3 overs, 2 wickets, 1 maiden for 6 runs. There were also 3 wickets for Freddie Mexter and 2 for Harsh Patel and 3 well taken catches by Gabriel Mellor.
Under 11s - James Walder
After a wet May we have managed to fit in 6 games in the last 5 weeks so plenty of cricket to report on.
First up we came up against ex-Hill player David Rutherford who coaches Morpeth, and struggled against some good bowling with every pair getting out twice so only scored a net 223. Joseph did well in his first game for the u11s making sure he got bat on ball. We responded to our poor batting with a great bowling and field display to restrict Morpeth to a net score of 193. First wickets for Matthew and Joseph with a good run out from Charlie.
We were up against Sacriston in the next round of the U11 cup which used the format played by Durham u11 teams. In 16 over a side match we bowled really well to limit Sacriston to 80 and that was with a late flourish of boundaries. Against a very strong bowling attack it looked like it would a tight game. Hector and Daniel gave us a solild start before some later hitting from Sukhveer and Aryan got us across the line with 3 overs to spare. There was some great high quality cricket from both teams in the match so it was pleasing to come out on top.
We had two more regulation wins against Newcastle, a 60 run win, and Newcastle City, a 71 run win. Highlights from these games included a 35 run partnership between Emily and Vihaan, a direct hit run out from Thomas, 4 wickets for Aryan and 3 wickets for Aryan. We also had Sukhveer keep wicket for the first time and take a catch.
Our final games were both a bit tighter. We host South North Reds whose team included a number of county players. We lost four wickets in our opening pair but managed to recover to net 237 with Sukhveer and Henry putting on 24 for the last pair. Despite getting four run outs we didn't manage to get any other wickets till their last pair and missed three catches as South North posted a net 257.
We visited Ponteland in some very windy conditions and batting first we posted 269 and managed to get to the 10th over before losing a wicket. Top scorer was Oliver with 11. Star bowler was Charlie taking 2 for 2 including a great catch by Thomas as Ponteland reach a net 245.
All Stars and Under 9s - Mark Wright
Benwell Hill All Stars kick-started on 6th May, and what a season it has been. As a blanket of blue All Star shirts filled the field every Friday evening for eight consecutive sessions, this year we had another sell out of 40 kids registered, AND for the second year in row, the girls dominated in numbers 21 to 19, This balance is amazing to see and achieve as we continue to promote equality in all sports.
Now on to the roundup.
After a disastrous first week in which it rained between 5.05 and 6pm but we decided to get on with it! It resulted in 40 very wet but happy kids and some very wet unhappy coaches (cricketers don’t like rain!)
With various bowling, catching, and batting drills, no week was the same, keeping the kids, the coaches, and even on some weeks, parents on their toes.
The kids learnt the fundamentals of cricket, practicing their star stance as an introduction to bowling, how to stand in the correct position and hold the bat for the best swing, and how to confidently catch in the field.
However, the most important thing the kids learnt was how to have fun with friends especially with heads/knees/ball! You could hear the laughter across the entire field with some great warm-up games to get the sessions underway from stuck in the mud, messy bedrooms, and catch the coaches (of course, the last game was the favourite!).
The biggest highlight of this year’s All Star Season again…
….was the infamous visit from the STAR.
This year, our Benwell Hill STAR made a special appearance at our presentation week even though the rain tried its best to stop him! Showing the kids how practice makes perfect when it comes to batting and catching, however, I think the kids will all agree that our STAR’s batting needs some practice! He also stayed to make sure all the super all stars received their hard earned medal and certificate, however we didn’t give him any food, that was for the kids only!
A big thank you goes to all our coaches, new and old (Chris!), who volunteer their Friday nights to do what they love. Teach cricket and inspire the next generation.
And speaking of the next generation, four of our All Stars who have reached the grand old age of 9 have enjoyed the sessions so much that they’ve signed up to become a Benwell Hill Junior for the rest of the season, joining nearly 20 previous all stars programme kids from previous years!
Thanks again to all parents who have dedicated their Friday night to sitting in our bar at the Hill; we hope the mix-ups and drinks range kept you going!
If you would like any information on Benwell Hill membership or our junior cricket setup, please feel free to speak to Mark Wright by email to Coolio_markw@hotmail.com