In a stunning upset the NUSC cricketers regained the much coveted Hilton Newcastle Gateshead Cricket Championship trophy with a 2 matches to 0 scoreline over their Irish counterparts from Leinster .
Unseasonable weather ensured just two of the four scheduled matches were played although this allowed for a rare opportunity for sightseeing, indoor training at Durham CCCs ground and for a training session with the Durham CCC 1st X1 squad prior to their match with Lancashire Lightning in the Twenty20 Cup.
On the field, the NUSC students were in a ruthless mood and led by their captain Gareth Purshouse on Monday produced a record winning margin of 193 runs. Purshouse’s 57(49), Thomas Cosford’s 50 (41) along with a smart cameo innings from Andrew Ebdale 23*(11) helping to take 36 from the last 4 overs saw 260 posted. In reply, the Irish cricketers were blown away by a stunning spell of bowling from Newcastle University debutant Prateek Kar. His spell of 8-4-12-5 was judged by experienced onlookers to be the finest in the championships long history winning him the Kookaburra-Reader Player of the Championship award and which backed by some good catching and ground fielding saw Leinster bundled out for 67 in the 23rd over.
On the Tuesday, thanks to outstanding work by the Brandon groundsman Stephen Atkinson a t20 match was squeezed in between the weather. Again, the students were in no mood to loose allowing Leinster to post just 70-8 in their 20 overs thanks to some fine fielding and the bowling of Cuckney’s dynamic duo Dan Brown (4-2-4-2) and Thomas Ullyott (4-0-19-3). In reply, Ullyott reminded Leinster of his all round abilities with a crunching 26*(12) including two towering sixes and three fours supported by 22* (32) from the classy Daniel Young as an 8 wicket win with 9 overs remaining was posted.
Thunderstorms prevented play on the Wednesday and Thursday at Norton but not before fantastic efforts by their groundstaff to make either of their two squares playable.
John D Holland, NUSC Director of Cricket was delighted to see the trophy come home adding “twelve months of hard work came together for two perfect days at Brandon where the performances showed just how good NUSC can be”
The results themselves do not flatter a talented Leinster squad who were faced with a difficult set of circumstances throughout the week. Monday, a traditional light day to ease them into the championship became an early morning flight into Newcastle, a training session and into a pro40 match against a fired up NUSC squad after forecasts showed it to be the only dry day.
That is a hard enough start but to loose their gifted captain Eoghan Conway in the 4th over to a nasty wrist injury summed up their week early on. After two nights of R&R at the 5 star Hilton Newcastle Gateshead the quality of their training along with being asked to be 1st X1 net bowlers to the Durham Dynamos prior to their match with Lancashire Lightning showed what could have been with a little luck.
All involved in the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead Cricket Championship would like to send their best wishes to Shane Getkate for a speedy recovery. Shane is a fondly remembered graduate of the ‘North East’ tour in 2008 and someone we all hope to see him back on the tour in the near future. News of his collapse playing for Warwickshire certainly puts cricket into context.