“The best innings I’ve ever seen at this level.”
That was how Eppleton secretary John Smithson described Kyle Davis’s phenomenal Banks Salver performance last Sunday – and as John is no longer in the short in the tooth category that is some accolade.
Newcastle rattled up a formidable 339-6 in the 43 overs a side game, and, despite the match being played at Church Road, it seemed that the home team didn’t have a prayer at the interval.
But Davis then took centre stage with a performance of gladiatorial proportions that slowly drained the life and chirpiness from the Tynesiders.
The simple stats showed 11 sixes and 18 fours littering a 139-ball club record knock of 196 not out, an ecstatic Eppleton claiming a sensational five-wicket victory with just one ball of the match remaining.
Smithson was fulsome in his praise, but also pointed out the significant input from another member of the team. He said: “Yes, Kyle’s knock was the best I’ve witnessed, but a quick word of praise for Craig Scurr too.
“He smashed 46 from 22 balls at a crucial stage, even outscoring Kyle during their partnership.”
And he didn’t have too much sympathy for their exalted Premier Division opponents who thought they had the game won by half-time.
“They were devastated. Jacques du Toit was lost for words at the end, quite a change from earlier in the day,” recalled John.
“Kyle has always been an outstanding talent, but he’s matured as a cricketer in the last couple of years.
“Where he might leave a ball in the past, he has developed the attacking side of his game to such an extent that he never gives a bowler any margin for error now.
“And he’s still just 23.”
It’s difficult to think the season can get any better for Eppleton, but they face yet another big weekend beginning with a trip to Jesmond tomorrow night to take on – yes, you’ve guessed it – Newcastle in the T20 quarter-finals.
That could be quite an encounter, but the more important match is the home game against rock bottom South Hetton on Saturday.
These fixtures in recent times have tended to fall victim to the weather, so it’s to be hoped this doesn’t happen this time around, as Eppleton will be expecting to take a points haul from the match that could well see them take over at the top.
Despite 24 hours of uncertainty last week when the wrong points return from the win at Burnmoor was supplied to the press, the actual position was that Washington remained as leaders, but just by four points from Eppleton, who are now the only remaining unbeaten team in the division.
Eppleton expect to be at full strength for their latest adventures, while South Hetton continue to fret over the fitness of overseas professional Alfred Mothoa.
He was expected to play last week, but his hamstring injury continued to trouble him, and he failed to make it, and there remains doubt as to whether he will have recovered in time for this one.
Boldon, emboldened by their win over Washington, will have both Tommy Nixon and Geoff Sargon back from suspension to face Felling, while Burnmoor have Kevin Dixon returning from his holidays in time for the trip to a rapidly improving Sunderland.
Seaham Harbour have to reckon without the holidaying Jack Lacey, so they hand Nathan Corkhill an opportunity when they entertain a Tudhoe team who were bouncing even more than Eppleton last Sunday when they knocked Chester-le-Street out of the Banks Salver.