In this new Q&A feature, we will be talking to Hill players past and present and asking them 20 searching questions on all things Benwell Hill and cricket in general. We start this new feature with our very own Peter Pan, Phil Nicholson, who in 2019 (if selected) will be playing his 24th consecutive season of 1st XI cricket for the Hill.
Q1. How many years have you been at the Hill?
A1. 1987-91 & 1996 to date
Q2. What other clubs/teams have you played for?
A2. Gateshead Fell 1992-93 & Alnwick 1994-95
Q3. What’s your best performance for the Hill?
A3. First 1st XI hundred in 1996 at Tynemouth, got 40 odd not out to us the game v Sunderland in 02 which was a big win to help win the NEPL
Q4. What was your most memorable game and season at the Hill?
A4. All our league winning seasons, Northumberland County League in 1996, 1998, 1999 and North East Premier League in 2002
Q5. Best player you have played with for the Hill? and elsewhere?
A5. Too many to mention! (Editor - sitting on the fence there Phil)
Q6. Best player you have played against? Batsman, Bowler and WK?
A6. Brian Lara, Wasim Akram & Warren Hegg (Editor – wow, canny list)
Q7. Most feared regular opponent?
A7. Stephen Humble (loads of clubs), Justin Bishop (Suffolk) & Graeme Wilson (Ashington)
Q8. Best ground ever played at?
Q9. Team you always love to beat?
A9. All the Northumberland teams in NEPL and Tynedale
Q10. Any ambitions left in the game?
A10. Try to enjoy it & keep contributing
Q11. If you could make one change to NEPL what would it be?
A11. Decide if it’s an overs game 50/50 split or make it 11am 120 overs & introduce end of season playoffs
Q12. Advise for young cricketers?
A12. Believe in yourself & the game owes you nothing
Q13. Favourite cricketers of all time? Batsman, Bowler and WK
A13. Jack Russell don’t really have a favourite batter or bowler
Q14. Your best ever Hill XI
A14. Maiden, Birtwisle, Windows, Coetzer, Khan, Dale, Rutherford, Halliday (Editor – surely yourself in there as wk Phil?), Thorp, Crozier, Pollard
Q15. Your best ever Northumberland XI
A15. Worthy, Heather, Scott, Parker, Pattison, Symington, Borthwick, Windows, Humble, Rutherford, Crozier
Q16. Your best ever NEPL XI
A16. Worthy, Shurben, Hewison, Graham, Q Hughes, Clay, Waite, Humble, Rutherford, Crozier, I Hunter
Q17. Your best ever England XI
A17. Atherton, Cook, Gower, Root, Thorpe, Stokes, Russell, Swan, Hoggard, Harmison, Anderson
Q18. Your best ever World XI
A18. Hayden, Anwar, Wessels, Tendulkar, Jones, Border, Hadlee, Healy, Warne, Vaas, Donald
Q19. Desert Island Album ? Song ? Book ?
A19.No music! Wisden and a couple of history books (Editor - FFS Phil!?!)
Q20. Finally, funniest memory on a cricket field
A20. Pete Halliday attempting to throw the ball back while watching a game and throwing it over his own shoulder into the tennis courts at the Hill then having to make a walk of shame to retrieve the ball, and Allan Worthy kicking Ali Maiden’s helmet to gully after dropping his third slip catch in an hour. Ali’s helmet was behind him on the field and in his fury kicked it a good 10 yards.