The ‘Hilton Newcastle Gateshead International Challenge Series' through the summer months are unique weeks of cricket.
They provide the NUSC players with an amazing opportunity to not only experience but challenge themselves against international teams.
Championship participants are traditionally preparing for World Cup’s, ICC Europe Challenger Series, or ICC World Cricket League matches with over 50 international players on show in 2015 alone.
Just to context the challenge, NUSC have faced international caliber players of Bairstow, MacLeod, Balbirnie, Poynter, O’Brien, Carroll, McCarthy, Cross, Berrington, Watt, Chase, Haq and Dockrell (to name just a quality 13!) over the past few years of championships.
The question it continues to raise is how can NUSC with club players and a budget around 0.2% of its opposition compete?
That is the magic of NUSC!
2016 demonstrated once again how NUSC players of every race, religion, social background and nationality, pull on the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead colors and unite as a team to turn the tables on the international teams.
The club enjoyed the fantastic sight of Will Bosisto making his 'shock' return to Hilton colors for the 10th birthday series and then ensure his place on the century honors board. A memory all who witnessed will not forget, and once again thank you Will for your incredible efforts to make it possible for such a special series.
2016 was a year of centuries with a brutal award winning performance from Adam Whatley before Aaron Shellie broke the 10 year fastest century record with a 35 ball spectacular coming in the final 10 overs of the innings. For all of Bosisto's class, Whatley's brute power, Shellie's clean ball striking out of Welfare Park will take some matching.
2016 also saw a rare five-wicket haul in Hilton Pro40 series history from Daniel Brown, while three players also took four wicket hauls showing the considerable all-round talent of the 2016 squad.
However, perhaps even more importantly it was a squad who mixed professionalism, quality, with fun and friendship making for a year no one will ever forget. Thank you to all for 2016-the fun, the friendship, the wins, and for making the 10th year unforgettable!
Been said it was a one-year fluke? An exceptional intake producing exceptional results but in 2014 saw NUSC secure a historic first full international win, then its first international T20 in 2015, while 2017, saw continued shock victories over the England and Wales Cricket Board, Cricket Scotland, and new tourists North West Warriors, so it has been a sensational 3 years for NUSC in Hilton series.
We are equally proud that NUSC has gained the respect of leading national boards such as the England and Wales Cricket Board, along with national coaches, for example, Brian O’Rourke, Nic Pothas, Craig Wright, Lars Hendegaard Anderson and Peter Drinnen to be able to create the championships capable of preparing their international teams.
Long may the legend continue and congratulations to the teams, players, managers and coaches involved as your hard work paid off!
NUSC would like to extend its thanks to all those who come together to make the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead championships. Many of you do not wish to be named and are unconditional in your help. We hope you continue to get a smile from the series!
2018 planning is underway and watch this space for announcements.
Gareth Wade, P Holland, G Holland and Rod David
With thanks to Tony Knight, images from the 2016 Ireland series at Horden CC are available to view by clicking here
The 2014-2015 Series in images: