Newcastle’s seconds are the only non-Yorkshire side in the Northern 2B league, having been promoted after an unbeaten performance last season. Their new league has offered little reward so far, however, with a heavy away loss to York St John in their opening game of the season followed by defeat at the hands of another York side at home a week later. A sunny afternoon of play in Heaton saw the hosts start well but cave in to pressure from the York University firsts towards the end of their innings.
The day got off to a steady start, both batsmen waiting for the infrequent mistake to nick singles and edge fours. The first wicket came from a simple catch after York’s Hoddle took the pace out of Calder’s wicked delivery. The switching attack of George Judd and Calder proved a deadly combo and left the visitors frustrated.
Soon Newcastle had sight of their second wicket, a huge Yorker and a big LBW call from Newcastle. A few moments’ thought from the umpire and the finger was lifted, and it seemed a spell of momentum was coming Newcastle’s way.[pullquote]The first wicket came from a simple catch after York’s Hoddle took the pace out of Calder’s wicked delivery[/pullquote]
And before long danger man Bell was gone too. A big nick from Judd’s ball and a brilliant dive from Henry Mellor had Bell walking after a respectable 19 runs, leaving Newcastle pleased at 41/3. York’s complaints that “it sounded paddy” began to sound bitter.
Ruaridh Patel started off his excellent game with a brilliant maiden while James Watson’s early spins were leaving York in a heap of dust. However a strong spell from York, started by York’s Milnes, got the visitors up to 100.
Newcastle were putting the pressure on with quick wickets from Patel, Hurley and Watson but Milnes was still at the crease and punishing Newcastle heavily for their loose balls. As York got down the batting order the quality dipped. A calamitous error in communication left both York’s batters in the same crease; killed off by superb run out from Watson.
Soon - with an acrobatic catch from his own ball - James Watson had Milnes out with his first before finishing the innings himself with a devilish bowl, just clipping the bales.
It was up to Newcastle to come back from a punishing middle session which saw Milnes take 62 runs out of the 157 York picked up.
York came with an aggressive outfield; the four slips waiting perhaps for a dodgy bounce on the dry and uneven pitch. The aggressive set up was matched with high energy fielding from York, but the two Newcastle batsmen sucked up York’s rhythm. York often left just one fielder on the leg side, a sign of confidence in their fast bowlers, forcing the game into a cagey first few overs.[pullquote]Once skipper Henry Mellor was gone, the spine of the team crumbled[/pullquote]
Unfortunately, a low bounce on a speedy pitch caught Alex Newport out for just five and Tom Hurley was caught soon after. It was starting to feel like both teams would fall victim to the merciless pitch. Thankfully, Mellor and Ali Martin were able to build up a solid partnership, picking up much needed fours through the gaps on the leg side.
Quite rightly they were both patient in their innings, waiting for the bowlers lower down in the pecking order to really hit the ball around. Martin’s innings came to an end at a solid 19 and gave way to Patel who carried on his fine form on the field to a man of the match performance behind the crease. He set the tone with a six that almost left the ground and smashed the ball around the park, losing the ball in the process.
It may have been this new ball or the introduction of the fast ballers York opened with but once skipper Henry Mellor was gone, the spine of the team crumbled. A couple of ducks later (one golden) and Newcastle were gone for 109.
A difficult day for a Newcastle side who didn’t seem to do much wrong. Perhaps if they got Milnes out earlier York’s one man team would haven’t have got close. But let this not take away from Ruaridh Patel’s wonderful day at Heaton Sports Ground.