Tynemouth secure winning draw against the reigning NEPL Champions South North

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A gritty performance from an understrength Seasiders side was enough to secure a winning draw against the reigning NEPL Champions to see Tynemouth in third place in the league - but within touching distance of the top.

On a day when rain always threatened, South North skipper and former Australian Ashes star Marcus North won the toss and elected to bowl on what looked a very decent batting track.

Tynemouth skipper Ben Debnam was caught behind for just one but then Nick Armstrong and Graeme Hallam got the innings back on track with a stand of 36 before Hallam was bowled by the experienced David Rutherford for 15.

Armstrong batted beautifully for his 45 but when the pacey Johnny Whiteman had him and Matthew Brown dismissed in quick succession it was South North in control at 79-4.

Club Professional Tahir Khan and Richie Straughan battled hard but then offered up two catches and at 119-6 Tynemouth were once again in trouble.

With Stuart Poynter, Andrew Smith and Finn Lonnberg missing things looked good for the Champions.

However, this Tynemouth side seems to always find an answer and this time it was a case of the tail wagging as Chris Fairley, Sam Robson and then David Hymers all made scores of over 20 to take their side to a very respectable 198 all out.

Whiteman with 5-48 from 13 overs was the pick of the home bowlers.

With 51 overs to secure the 199 required for victory, the home side’s openers began well against the experience of David Hymers and the youth of 16 year old Owen Gourley on debut.

They put on 48 in quick time before Hymers had Jon Craigs caught at backward point by the safe hands of Chris Fairley.

Though Gourley was wicketless and went for 28 off his five overs this was a debut full of promise.

Tahir Khan replaced Gourley and had Peyton lbw in just his second over for 11 and, when Hymers got the prized wicket of Marcus North who played on for just 11, the home side began to wobble at 93-3.

Having settled in at the Park end of the ground Khan then produced a wonderful spell of controlled off break bowling. His 3-33 off 19 overs was outstanding.

Patient yet aggressive, he applied pressure to the South North batsmen who in the main had no answer.

However, Simon Birtwhistle who made a century at Preston Avenue earlier in the season was once again in fine form and played very well for his 66 before losing patience and being caught by Hymers off the bowling of the wily Martin Pollard.

Pollard also took the wickets of the dangerous John Graham and Stephen Humble to finish with 3-30 off 10 overs.

However, some plucky defence from Johnny Whiteman and Michael Craigs ensured their side was not bowled out and when the rain sent the players running from the field the pair had done enough to prevent a Tynemouth win.

This was a well contested game of cricket and the winning draw was deserved by the visitors who showed a touch more resolve than the home side.

The night before the South North game Tynemouth beat Felling in the NEPL T20 Competition to secure a place in the Finals Day which is to be held on Sunday at Durham’s Emirates ground.

Tynemouth, batting first, made 128-5 which was probably 20 runs short of par on a fine pitch produced by curator Paul Jackson.

However, Felling struggled against some quality bowling and fielding from Tynemouth and could only muster 90-9 from their innings.

Tynemouth have been drawn against Stockton in the semi-final and, if successful, will face Chester Le Street or Durham Academy in the final.

A coach will be taking spectators – those who would like to travel to support the team should check out the Club twitter page for details.