Date: June 26th 2009
Venue: Ashbrooke Sports Club, Sunderland
Local Sunderland cricket sensation Christopher Youldon helped ensure NUSC retained the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead Tri Nation Championship on Friday something only a little over 72 hours before had looked almost impossible.
After suffering a defeat on Monday to a powerful Scotland squad via the Duckworth/Lewis method, the students sat in last place and facing up to needing to play world class cricket to recover. Their recovery was helped by Leinster’s truly shock victory over Scotland on the penultimate ball of the match thanks to a maiden hundred from Ryan Hopkins 103(113). However, the Ireland team buoyed by the result tore into the students on the 3rd day leaving them looking at an embarrassing early exit stuttering on 5-58 with half their overs gone. The next 100 minutes of play would change the face of the tournament as first captain Greg Applegarth unable to run after injuring himself first ball, smashed 46(54) including 10 fours and then Chris Youldon in a remarkable innings swept, flicked and hustled Ireland to score 51*(45) to ensure the students reached 9-171 in their 40 overs, still 25 under the score Scotland had failed to defend the day before.
It was still 50 more than the students had hoped for at drinks and the first 35 minutes of the reply was staggering as it was brutal described afterwards by Irish teams manager Nigel Pyne as “the finest bowling display we have ever faced on the tour”. 60 balls delivered with a special ball at high speed by Guy Darwin (8-4-12-3) and Adam Coyte (6-2-7-1) saw just 10 runs scored, three crucial wickets lost leaving Ireland needing more than a run a ball where as they had been hoping for an early finish. Hopkins 11(17) tried but could not repeat his heroics of the previous day as the students were brutal in targeting him, Youldon electric hand speed accounted for two wickets for Tom Ullyott (2-22) and only a fine innings of 26(34) by George Dockrell saw the Irish team finish on 91 ao. Crucially, the margin of victory leapfrogged the students from last to first place with two days of competition remaining.
Youldon’s impact on the week was only just beginning as with Applegarth injured he remarkably took over the captaincy going from last man into the squad to now captain. His debut in Thursday’s T20 with Leinster brought a more comfortable result for the students reaching 8-171 in their 20 overs thanks to a maiden hard hitting fifty from Tom Ullyott 52(36), Durham University’s Nick Anderson’s 38 (27) and the entertaining 39 opening stand between Darwin and Dale Marshall 21(14). In reply, Youldon pulled a rabbit from the hat by opening with a spinner against Hopkins who had tortured Scotland’s spinners on Tuesday. Ullyott second beautifully flighted off breaks was sent crashing into the Hilton sponsors sign for six, the third ended in Youldon stumping Hopkins and draining the hope from the Irish team. A solid knock from D Arcy 24(33) and George Dockrell 15(13) saw the Irish finish on 8-137 with Aman Dhindsa (2-15) the most outstanding of the student bowlers. A Scotland victory in the second T20 match on Thursday despite some fine hitting by Dhruv Kapoor ensured a final day shoot out for the championship with the students, who thanks again to the Irish pluckiness twice against the Scotland were ahead on Net Run Rate.
Under truly awful looking skies the match begin with high expectation. Marshall fell first ball but Darwin was at his imperious best sending Bailwail high into bank for a six and two further fours off Rowan reaching 1-21 before heavy rain fell. Despite the efforts of groundsman Ronny Boyd, no further play was possible and both captains agreed to share the title to mark the competitive nature of the championship with the students to retain the cup on the grounds of being defending champions.
In the traditional end of tournament awards Ryan Hopkins won the ‘Marstons Moment of the Championship’ for his maiden century, Marc Petrie won “Marstons Tourist of the Championship” with Guy Darwin and Tom Ullyott sharing the “Marstons Most Valuable Player” award-Ullyott rewarded for a fine debut championship with bat, ball and personality with Darwin being recognised for his selfless efforts for the team after suffering a broken foot on Tuesday in a Road Traffic Accident. Instead of withdrawing, he simply improved as a player and confirmed his reputation as a fierce competitor. The ‘Gatorade Player of the Tournament’ awards went to Keith Morton (Scotland), George Dockrell (Leinster) and completing his almost perfect week Christopher Youldon (NUSC). The award is renowned for being awarded to future International stars and almost as he was stepping off the plane in Dublin, it was confirmed that George Dockrell along side Eddie Richardson would be spearheading Ireland’s U19 World Cup bid in July.
The Hilton Newcastle Gateshead Tri Nations Championship Trophy has been retained by NUSC despite a loss, a new rookie captain, a broken foot, countless injuries and unpredictable weather but it all adds to the legendary status of the event and we look forward to doing it all over again in 2010.
It should also be noted that ICC Europe also reported on Leinster's involvement -
To follow NUSC progress throughout 2009 or to find out more details on their Hilton Newcastle Gateshead sponsored championships log onto www.nusc-ccelite.play-cricket.com or visit www.cricketworld.com/nuscccelite
Gatorade Player of the Tournament-Christopher Youldon
John D Holland Director of Cricket, NUSC-CC Elite firstname.lastname@example.org