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Another topsy turvy weekend as the 1st XI suffered a first NEPL Premier Division defeat by  six wickets at Eppleton on Saturday but bounced back to triumph magnificently against Barnard Castle & York in the ECB Club T 20 Area final on Sunday.

Electing to bat on a dry surface at Eppleton, with an outfield still showing signs of the week’s rain, SN lost Birtwisle (5), lbw on the front foot, & MacLeod (8) bowled, both in Adam Simpson’s first over, the second of  the innings. The same over contained 3 boundaries !! A steady partnership between Marcus North (11) & Adam Cragg (35) had reached 60 when North was caught at square leg pulling a ball that seemed to keep low.

Rob Peyton (11) batted nicely but was bowled sweeping Joe Coyne’s off breaks at 77-4 in the 20th over. Three overs later Jonny Craigs (3) & Sam Dale (0) were dismissed by consecutive deliveries from Matthew Brown with the score at 97 & after, holding the innings together with a sparkling 53 (11×4), Cragg was caught at midwicket from a ball that seemed to stop a little, 106-5 in the 27th.

Either side of lunch Stephen Humble (24) & Jonny Wightman (25) batted positively until Humble was caught by w/k Musther off the returning Erasmus . Wightman was bowled by Coyne & Hodnett skied to cover also off Erasmus to close the innings after only 38.2 overs at 151. 

Eppleton lost Luke Henderson to Humble, lbw for 1, in the third over but Brown & Simpson batted well to reach 40 in the 16th before Brown, half forward, was lbw to MacLeod for 15. Any variable bounce seemed to have disappeared with the sunshine & despite using 7 bowlers, Simpson, joined by Coyne, put together a match defining partnership of 64 before Coyne was caught by Rob Peyton off the bowling of Tom Hodnett for 41 

Simpson & Dean Musther took the score to 119 in the 43rd over before the former was held at long on by Hodnett off  North for 52. Jandre Erasmus (19*) joined Musther (21*) & without alarms, won the game in the 49th over by 6 wickets. Not a good day !! A Newcastle win meant a lead of 36 points  going into next Saturday’s game with Chester-Le-Street at home.

Sunday’s T20 area finals saw York defeat Bradford & Bingley, on wickets lost with the scores level, in the first semi final before SN defeated Barnard Castle by 37 runs in the second. An opening partnership of 41 between Birty(23) & Rob (16), stumbled to 55-4 but the Bulls were rescued by Cragg (14), Humble (22) & in a final flourish, by David Edwards (15*) & Michael Craigs (11*) to post 124-6 in a reduced 16 over game.

Barney were in trouble as Stephen Humble (1-14 + a nasty blow to his shin) & Tom Hodnett (2-13 off 2, including a magnificent, one handed boundary catch by David Edwards, taken high over his head at deep point, to dismiss Quinn at 22-3 in the 5th)) saw them slip to 23 -4 & then 41 for 7 as Simon Birtwisle (2-21) joined in. 57-9 in the 11th & respectability achieved with a 10th wicket partnership of 30 to be 87 all out in 14.1 overs.

The final saw York bat first & post an imposing 161-7 in 20 overs. Snell (24) & Elliot opened with 42 before the prolific Snell was caught by Peyton off Michael Craigs & McAuley (4) bowled by Hodnett.  Elliot (24) was also bowled by Hodnett at 64, with Tom returning an impressive 3-19 off 4 pacy overs.

McDermott held the innings together with a positive 61* but Jonny Wightman (2-28) returned to remove Brooks (9) at 101-5 in the 14th & Spearman(18) at 147 in the 19th. Simon Birtwisle had Leedham stumped by Peyton in the 20th.

In reply the Bulls were indebted to a magnificent opening stand of 77 between Birty  & Rob Peyton. Snell’s second over, the third, went for 28 as Birty swept & drove powerfully (4, wide, 4wides , 4,  4, wide, wide, 6, dot, 2) to leave the home up against it 44-0 after 3. Birty (44) was lbw sweeping leg spinner Eleanor. Peyton & Sam Dale (13) then took the score to 131 in the 15th before Dale was bowled by Leedham. Adam Cragg 21* accelerated (4×4 & 1×6 in only 10 balls) &, with the match almost won, Peyton was held on the deep square leg boundary for a magnificent 60, including 3 x 6’s high over long on & 4 x 4’s, at 154 for 4. Stephen Humble joined in with 5* for a 7 wicket win after only 17.2 overs.

A feature of the day, as it has been throughout the season so far, was the Bulls fielding & catching. Three run outs v Barney courtesy of Michael Craigs & Sam Dale (2) from the deep, a leaping David Edwards boundary catch, safe hands behind the stumps from Rob Peyton & in the final all chances taken by Stephen Humble on one leg, Sam & Rob. Outstanding!” 

Grateful thanks go to our supporters who travelled to York either on the bus or by car. The players showed their gratitude by contributing to the bus fare, a generous gesture much appreciated.

 The 1/4 final is at Roseworth Terrace on Sunday 13th August against the winners of Group 2 from Notts & Lincs. We continue.

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