Past Player: Duncan Mackenzie

9th Jul 2020

Duncan Mackenzie


Brief summary of my playing days


I played throughout my school days in the seconds or thirds, batting and bowling, subsequently playing some first team.  I left the club in about 1976, I think, to go and play at Kirkley with some old chums, then went abroad, returning to SN to play in 1988 as one of the older brigade.  I enjoyed the improved pitches in the league which made facing second team attacks occasionally very rewarding!  I did enjoy a cover drive and a lofted straight drive and deposited a fair few balls into the gardens of the Grove.  I had intended to keep playing into my 50s but I was accepted into a golf club (there used to be waiting lists) so called it a day at 46.  I hope people were not bored watching me.


What are your early memories of playing at SN?


That is an easy one to answer.  I went to Ascham House prep school which made use of the ground for its cricket so had connections with the club. I was asked to play for SN 3rd team one Friday evening; we lived close by and I can only imagine that they were a player short and desperate.  That will have been 1964, when I was 12.  (I was out for a duck, cruelly given out LBW, just because I was so young)


What were the highlights of your playing career at SN?


In 1973 or 1974 I played for the first team in a cup game at Lintz cricket club, near Burnopfield.  At the time that club was in dispute with one of local residents who objected to cricket balls being hit into his garden.  It was a small ground and I hit the ball, not into the garden but, fortunately, right over the house and into the road…for students of Law, the case was Miller v Jackson, finally decided in the Court of Appeal in 1977 lead by Lord Denning. No doubt Judge ‘Dipper’ Brown could give you more details.


Who did you enjoy playing with at SN most and why?


A few people spring to mind


  • John Bradford was captain for my first years of senior cricket.  He gave me my first bowl when he kindly let me open the bowling against the then Northumberland captain, Mike Crawhall, who despatched my first three balls through the covers for 4 and John even gave me a second over.  He also batted me at four in a game at Ashington who, at that time sported the quickest bowler for miles around, Alex Johnson.  He didn’t bother me, however, as I smartly got out to Arnie Gilholm for my customary duck. In his later years, he played with us in the seconds and showed us the full range of his wit and humour. John is rightly a legend at the club and it was my privilege to play in the first three memorial games; the third being my last ever game of cricket (I finished in 2002 as I started in 1964, with a duck). 


  • David Venn who steered a diverse grouping of second teamers to considerable success.  The sight of David strapping himself up to enable him to walk on to the field was an education to the younger members and a delight to us oldies. The master of the three card trick.


  • Actually I enjoyed playing with just about everyone when we were having such fun in the second team in the late 80s to 90s.


Who was your most difficult opponent and why


Another easy one – Rami Verma of Benwell, a fine leg spin bowler, who got me out when I was young and got me out when I (and he) was old. I always thought it was a half volley but it never was.


Who was the best player you have seen play at SN


Apart from Marcus North who played, I think, in one of the Bradford memorial games, I would nominate Clairemont Depeiaza as, if not the best, certainly the most curious cricketer I played against.  He was the first of a line of West Indian professionals at Tynedale. I think he is still the holder of the record seventh wicket stand in tests when he put on 347 with Denis Atkinson (no, I haven’t heard of him either) against Australia in 1956.  As pro, he was expected to bowl as well as bat, although he was a wicket keeper by trade.  He had an action that made Maligner’s look high and, because he wasn’t very good, he resorted to tricks like turning quickly on his way back to his mark and bowling before the batsman was ready. He was also reputed to take his duties as pro so seriously that he was sometimes physically ill before a game. So, probably not the best cricketer but certainly a one off.


What are your hopes for SN and local cricket in the future?


Having moved to Ponteland quite a few years ago, I don’t get to the club very often so can’t comment on how the cricket is played. I hope it is still played for fun.


What is your favourite post playing moment at SN?


I enjoy the golf outings organised by DDS and would like to visit more often.



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