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BULLS ARE CHAMPIONS FOR THE 11TH TIME IN THE NEPL PERIOD AFTER COMPREHENSIVE DEFEAT OF DCA.

118 points from the last four games, all difficult, ushered South North to their 11th NEPL  title in 15 years on Saturday 2 September. A ‘home game’ for DCA at Roseworth Terrace began under sunny skies with a young DCA side, who have performed very well in 2017 to be 4th, winning the toss & asking SN to bat.

At 80-4 in only the 14th over this seemed a good decision. Marcus North had fallen to an excellent low second slip catch by Scott Steel off the brisk medium pace of Bilal Baig for 2. Birty with 4 boundaries, had driven Shafiq to 1st slip for 20, 53-2,  John Graham had uncharacteristically followed one from Jamie Dass to be caught by w/k Kieron Trevaskis for 4 & Adam Cragg had been taken at 1st slip by Scott Steel for 6 off the canny off spin of Haider Shafiq. A little bit in the wicket for the bowlers.

Calum MacLeod, 6 x 4 in his first 15 balls but then more patiently with Rob Peyton, began to build. Punishing anything loose, at lunch after 34 overs, the total had risen to 167, MacLeod 75 Peyton 49. The pattern continued until the 46th over when at 224, MacLeod was caught mistiming a hook towards mid on off the returning Baig at the Park end for a magnificent 107, 16 x4 in 142 minutes from 109 balls. A match defining partnership with Rob of 141 for the 5th wicket, the best of the season.

Peyton was joined by Jonny Craigs & the pair put on 19 before Peyton, attacking, was caught at long on for 80, his best innings of the season playing straighter & showing a maturity that was heartening. Craigs then chipped to mid wicket for 13  & Stephen Humble blasted 16 from 12 balls to leave Sam Dale 7* & Jonny Wightman 1*  before the declaration at 270-8 after 54 overs. Shafiq 3-65 Baig 2-50.

The Academy opened with intent but were undone by Jonny Wightman’s second over in which Liam Trevaskis was held brilliantly, high, one handed to his left by w/k Rob Peyton. Three balls later the pair combined to dismiss Sol Bell to an excellent, low, right handed catch. 14-2.

Chris McBride joined Scott Steel & the pair batted positively on a good surface to take the total to 40 before Steel, having just hit Stephen Humble for a straight 6, succumbed to the next delivery to give Peyton his third catch for 19. Ross Greenwell batted nicely for 15 before being palpably lbw to Wightman on the crease, 70-4. 

Enter Lee Crozier from the Park end & with the last ball of his first over Wightman, swooping at cover, ran out Jamie Dass with a direct hit to the non striker’s end. James Miller would have been proud!! 73-5 in only the 13th over. Captain McBride had been batting nicely but he had to watch as Kieron Trevaskis was held at first slip by Marcus North for 4, 84-6.

Calum Macleod bowling from the Grove end, in his second over persuaded Matthew Oswell to drive & Adam Cragg diving took a diving full length, two handed catch at cover. 95-7. Wow!  Brodie Glendinning, lbw to Crozier on the back foot, lasted just 2 balls & then the best of four outstanding catches saw Adam Cragg  at cover, fling himself to his right at a firm drive from McBride to catch , knock up & regather one handed, to end his counterpart’s innings for a stylish 43 from 42 balls in 68 minutes. 96-9. Magnificent !

Bilal Baig, with a 6 & 2 x 4, then led an entertaining last wicket stand of 23 with Shafiq before the latter was snared lbw by Crozier to end the innings at 119 in only the 25th over, sparking celebrations on & off the pitch at the title winning victory. 30 points & a lead of 47 with one game to go. CHAMPIONS!!!

Stephen Humble 1-25, Jonny Wightman 3-50, Lee Crozier 3-24, Calum MacLeod 2-18. Birty not needed on this occasion. 4 magnificent catches a tribute to the intense weekly training instigated by Calum & Adam throughout the year.

Sadly Calum is unavailable next Saturday. But what a way to conclude, a century in his first match, & another in his last league game. 661 runs, 24 wickets, 8 catches including three magnificent ones at Stockton, an outstanding fielding presence. We shall miss him but will embrace his legacy.

Important to finish well, so the last league game is against in form Tynemouth at home before the 1st X1 squad of 15 go to Derby for the ECB Club T20 finals day on Mon 11th September. Cannock & Rugeley Hawks await at 1115 at the County Ground, Derby. Coloured clothing, lights, Sky cameras, ACTION !

The Senior Presentation Evening will be from 1900 on Friday 22nd September in the Clubhouse. Please save the day. The 2’s, NEPL Banks Bowl winners & Division 2 runners up, have a James Bell final to contest on Sunday 17th September away to Benwell Hill or Whitburn & would welcome your support. The 1864’s are third by only 1 point with two games to go in West Tyne League Division 1. We hope they can continue their winning run, 5 so far, against free scoring Newton & Allendale. The Academy team are runners up in the NEPL Sunday Division 1, having given many juniors opportunities to develop. 

An exciting & developmental year, much to applaud, much to build on. We must continue.

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