Adam Campbell and Steve Harmison

By Dan King - Newcastle United Digital Editor

Northumberland XI 3 (Johnson, Holmes, Mustard)
Newcastle United XI 8 (Beardsley, Armstrong 3, Campbell, Aarons 2 (1 pen), Tavernier)

Rain - not to mention a biting wind - failed to stop play on cricket hero Steve Harmison's big night.

But the recently-retired former England fast bowler was hit for two fours at Woodhorn Lane as a Newcastle XI racked up eight goals against his Northumberland XI.

The match was part of Harmison's benefit year and as well as current fringe players like Gael Bigirimana, James Tavernier and Adam Armstrong, the likes of Peter Beardsley, Steve Stone, Dave Watson and Kevin Richardson also pulled on their boots against a team of non-league players from the area.

John Carver took the team as Harmison, wearing the number six, came up against his boyhood heroes.

And it took just three minutes for Beardsley to give United the lead. Adam Armstrong raced down the left and although his cross-cum-shot was parried by Sean McCafferty, the former England international was there to tuck away the rebound.

Gareth Bainbridge had already forced a good save from Jonathan Mitchell and Glen Taylor also saw an effort more comfortably dealt with by the Magpies goalkeeper before Newcastle began to dominate.

Armstrong was twice denied by McCafferty, Tavernier fired over and Campbell also came close.

But United made it 2-0 when Campbell unselfishly passed to Armstrong, who rifled home from ten yards.

Scott Blandford made a superb last-ditch tackle to frustrate Campbell, who then saw McCafferty save another effort.

Paul Robinson, the Northumberland side's Darlington midfielder, drove just wide before Taylor sent a diving header wide as the home side rallied.

But on the stroke of half time, Tavernier's superb run and cross allowed Campbell to tap home from close range after the diminutive striker nipped in front of his 6ft 5ins marker Harmison.

And Tavernier was also heavily involved in the fourth as he picked out Armstrong for his second of the night.

However the home side pulled one back through Andrew Johnson, then another as Johnson cut the ball back for Dean Holmes to slot beyond Mitchell.

And the comeback was well and truly on when Robinson headed back across goal for Durham cricketer Phil Mustard to force home with a finish worthy of his 'Colonel' nickname.

But Armstrong got his hat-trick with a close-range finish before substitute Rolando Aarons won and then converted a penalty.

Arguably the goal of the night was scored by Tavernier who found the top corner from 20 yards after good work from Armstrong, then Aarons wrapped up the scoring late on.

But, although it may have been a world away from the sunny climes of Australia and the West Indies where Harmison made his name, the 'Ashington Express' clearly enjoyed his night and so did a sizeable crowd.

Northumberland XI: Sean McCafferty, Scott Blandford, Daniel Patterson, Ben Richardson, James Harmison, Steve Harmison, Dean Holmes, Paul Robinson, Gareth Bainbridge, Glen Taylor, Andrew Johnson

Substitutes: Karl Dryden, Ben Harmison, Phil Mustard, Mel Harmison

Newcastle United XI: Jonathan Mitchell, James Tavernier, Dave Watson, Remie Streete, Macaulay Gillesphey, Steve Stone (Rolando Aarons 67), Kevin Richardson (Ben Drennan 67), Peter Beardsley, Gael Bigirimana (Callum Roberts 56), Adam Campbell (Jonathyn Quinn 56), Adam Armstrong

Sub not used: Jak Alnwick