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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Allan is the toast of the West Tyne

ALL 138 guests at one of Tynedale’s great sporting occasions of the year rose to their feet as one in a touching tribute to a true hero.

Dinner date: The committee of the West Tyne Cricket League assemble before their annual dinner last Friday.

But the homage wasn’t to the guest speaker, former England test player Shaun Udal – it was to Humshaugh’s modest master of the game and its ethics Allan Murray.

Murray picked up West Tyne League chairman Michael Baker’s personal award for his services to the league, and to cricket, over many years, at the league’s annual dinner at the Tynedale Function Suite.

The ovation he received was a true reflection of the esteem and affection in which the opening bat and genuine nice guy is held throughout the league.

There was a dramatic start to the event, when news came through that Shaun Udal – the oldest Englishman to make his test debut – had not arrived.

He was stuck in Southampton by a flight delay, and would not be arriving until the main course was well under way.

However, when the Hampshire, Middlesex and England bowler did turn up just before the sticky pear and walnut gingerbread pudding, he provided an entertainingly wry insight into international cricket and the characters that populate it.

Unusually, he also indulged in a question and answer session, frankly and honestly fielding questions about an on-field punch-up which brought him a three year ban from league cricket.

The toast to the league was entertainingly proposed by Chris West of CWC Press.

The cricket season itself was one to forget, ravaged by one of the worst summers in living memory.

However, there were still some stunning performances over the season on the odd days the sun did shine.

No-one did better than Haltwhistle all-rounder Ben Lloyd, who left the function laden with silverware.

He picked up the Clayburn Cup for the best batting average in Division One, the Manning Cup for the best individual bowling performance and not surprisingly the Waite Cup as the first division’s best all-rounder.

With the bat, he scored 434 runs in 12 knocks, including a top score of 118 not out, for an average of 43.40.

With the ball, in a game against Newton, he took an astonishing 7-14.

His best all-rounder tag was earned by adding 20 wickets to his 434 runs.

And to round off a memorable night, he also picked up his league cap, along with Stamfordham’s Ian Donkin.

Just missing out in the first division best all rounder category was Paul Newton, of champions Hexham Leazes. with 220 runs and 40 wickets.

However, Newton did lift the Telfer Cup for the best first division bowling average, with those 40 wickets coming at an average of just 5.58 runs.

Second in that category was James Taylor, of Haydon Bridge, whose 31 wickets cost just 7.61 runs each, and behind him another Leazes man, Mark Armstrong with 28 wickets at 8.36 each.

The best individual batting performance in the first division came from the explosive Gary Rowell, from Wylam, who hit a magnificent 156 against Stocksfield.

But pushing him close for the trophy was his team-mate Andy Paton, who hit 155 against Stocksfield!

The Alan Graham Cup for the most wicket keeping victims in the top flight went to Wylam’s Robbie Helm, with 12 victims – 11 catches and a stumping. The second division’s top keeper, claiming the Steinberg Cup, was Alex Pearse, from Stocksfield, with 13 victims.

Wark players did well with division two plaudits, picking up both main bowling awards.

The Corbridge Cup for the best bowling average went to Lee Telfer, whose 16 wickets cost just six runs each.

And the Natwest Trophy for the best individual bowling performance in the division went to Paul Armstrong, for his seven wickets for just four runs against Belsay.

The Douglas Smith Cup for the top second division batting average went to Wylam’s David Teasdale, with 294 runs at an average of 36.75 , including a top score of 63.

The Jack Brewis Cup for the best individual batting performance in division two went to Stocksfield’s Mark Jacobs with a fine 108 against Hexham Leazes.

The best division two all rounder was South Northumberland’s Nick Brown, with 282 runs and 24 wickets.

The junior player of the year was Harry Mahon, of Wylam.

The Courant quiz cup was won by Newton, and umpires’ award for club of the season went to Haltwhistle.

Tynedale were indoor champions to claim the Halifax Property Services Cup, while Mitford were the inaugural Twenty/20 champions.

The Stocksfield did the double of U18 league and knockout cup, beating Benwell and Walbottle to the league title.

Humshaugh were U13 champions, and Corbridge won the U15 title.

Wylam won the second division knockout cup, while South North were league champions.

In the first division, Hexham Leazes did the double of KO cup and league title, and celebrated in style.