18th Aug 2019

A frustrating day at Denton Bank as a wet wicket end area delayed the start until 1400 & then, in home captain Phil Nicholson's record breaking 461st appearance, overtaking that of Bill Smalley, the home side, batting second, were defiant, finishing 8 down. Burnmoor's 9 run win at home to Tynemouth gives them a 4 point lead at the top of the Premier Division with 4 games to play.

SN 169-6dec (40o: John Harbottle 35, Jacques Du Toit 75, Adam Cragg 29: Callum Harding 2-44, Luke Mussett 1-29, Max Williamson 2-35, Finn McCreath 1-20, Peter Jones 0-37)

Benwell Hill 99-8 (44o: Adam Heather 15, Phil Nicholson 19, Max Williamson 31: Sean Tindale 3-19, Lee Crozier 0-25, Oli McGee 1-28, James Ruddick 3-16, Jacques Du Toit 1-10)

SN 12 points Benwell Hill  5.

Losing the toss & being asked to bat, Sean Tindale & John Harbottle faced the seam of left arm Callum Harding & Luke Mussett. A steady start on a pitch with movement, saw Tindale (14) take two boundaries off Harding until, with the total at 17, he feathered behind to be caught by w/k Phil Nicholson. John Graham & John Harbottle took the score carefully to 40 in the 17th before Graham (7) was bowled by McCreath. Chris Hewison (1), advancing to Williamson, was bowled 3 overs later. Slow going against tight bowling on a responsive surface.

From 47-3 the total rose to 79 in over 28, when in seeking to accelerate, John Harbottle, who had already survived one chance to mid on, found the same fielder for a valuable 35, an innings lasting 92 balls & 104 minutes.

Adam Cragg joined Du Toit & despite frequent bowling changes to try to prevent the pair settling, 88 were scored in 11 overs as Du Toit hit 75 (5x4, 4x6, 57b, 86m) to fall to the last ball of the innings at the end of the 40th over. Cragg (29), only failing to score off 8 of the 33 deliveries he faced, had been spectacularly caught by Phil Nicholson, high to his left, in the penultimate over off the bowling of Harding.  169-6 giving the home side 44 to bat. Max Williamson's controlled off breaks & Like Mussett's seam were most potent.

Rory Hanley & Adam Heather faced Sean Tindale & the off breaks of Lee Crozier from the Road end. From the second ball of the Tindale's second over Hanley hooking seemed to glove a catch that lobbed to Cragg in the gully. 4 overs later Joe Anderson (0) found his middle stump knocked back by Tindale, 10-2.

McCreath joined Heather & the pair played positively despite until James Ruddick's third over when he yorked McCreath (14), & in his next over bowled Heather(15) & two balls later did the same to Tom Sparrow (0). 32-5 in the 19th. Oli McGee had started a useful spell from the Road end & he ended Joe Fletcher's (3) innings when an edge flew low to gully & Chris Hewison took a diving catch. 42-6.

Phil Nicholson had been applauded to the crease on his record breaking appearance & he proceeded to play nicely in the company of Max Williamson. The latter seemed fortunate to survive two stumping appeals but when Crozier returned struck two sixes with aplomb. Nicholson also survived a chance to midwicket off Du Toit in over 29. In over 33 Tindale had Nicholson (19) lbw, 70-7, & Williamson's defiance ended in over 37 when w/k Rob Peyton caught him down the leg side off Du Toit for a very worthwhile 31 (3x4, 2x6, 43b, 49m). 85-8.

Then, despite very attacking fields, switches of ends & some near misses, Harding (8*) & Mussett (7*) saw out 7 overs to ensure the home side a draw after 44 overs at 99-8 on a sunny evening.

Still all to play for, 4 tough games to go, 4 teams in the hunt covered by only 32 points & three have to play each other ! The Bulls continue on Sat 24th Aug: Chester-le-Street (h) 1130, then Sat 31st August: Eppleton (a) 1130, followed by Sat 7th Sept: Sacriston (h) 1115 & finally Sat 14th Sept: Felling (a) 1115. 

An exciting end to a very much rain affected season. Your support would be most welcome as the Bulls battle for points. We hope to see you there.

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