Percy Main put eight past Students

There were cheers on both sides of the neatly cultivated boundary hedge at Percy Main on Saturday.

As Percy Main Cricket Club secured promotion back to the Northumberland & Tyneside Senior Division A with a resounding ten-wicket victory over Newcastle City, Percy Main Amateurs further cemented their own position at the top of the Northern Alliance first division with an 8-1 win over Newcastle University.

On a beautiful September afternoon, the goals were shared out and there was a brace each for Gareth Armstrong, James Leggett and Sam Thompson, who took his tally to seven from the opening nine games, while Steve Hart and Chris Laidlaw weighed in with a goal apiece.

It was Main’s biggest win since 2003, when almost 11 years to the day visitors Chopwell suffered a similar fate and left Purvis Park on the wrong end of a 9-0 thrashing as Percy Main went on to finish their premier division campaign in a creditable fourth place, their highest finish in the league’s top tier for over 30 years.

A visibly under strength University side, who will surely rally as the season progresses, creditably battled gamely throughout with four of the Percy Main goals coming during the final quarter of an hour.

The visitors could thank goalkeeper Dan Readman, who despite the outcome had a sterling game and but for some wasteful finishing on occasions, The Villagers may have gone on to double their tally.

Rob Carr, Armstrong and Laidlaw had all gone close for Main during the opening exchanges, before Laidlaw gave his side the lead in the tenth minute as he dispossessed Conor Higgins and ran on to wrong foot the goalkeeper.

Armstrong doubled The Villagers’ lead midway through the first half after Carr had played a long through ball from defence, and despite further opportunities for Percy Main, the score remained at 2-0 up to the half-time break.

This was to prove a temporary respite for the visitors before Thompson scored on 57 minutes as Laidlaw helped on Green’s low centre, and just before the hour mark, Armstrong netted his second of the afternoon with Laidlaw credited with an assist once more.

Aaron McElvogue reduced the deficit for the University with a run from the halfway line which left home defenders trailing in his wake, and Readman produced smart saves to deny Thompson and a 25-yard piledriver from Green to hearten the visitors.

But the flow towards the University goal was to prove relentless as substitute Hart restored Percy Main’s three-goal cushion after the overworked goalkeeper could only parry Armstrong’s effort.

As the second half wore on, it was one-way traffic, with those watching wondering home many Main would score.

And the sixth and best of the afternoon duly arrived in the 76th minute as Green’s ball in from the right was caught perfectly by James Leggett who turned and volleyed past Readman, giving the stricken goalkeeper no chance.

As Armstrong came close to netting his third with a shot which was just the wrong side of the post, Percy Main wrapped matters up with another two goals within the final ten minutes as Thompson bundled home from Ant Ridley’s cross and Leggett added his second from close range.

Percy Main are at home again this Saturday and face Heddon in the Combination cup first round with the kick-off at the earlier time of 2pm.