Ben Stokes is content to drop down order

Ben Stokes is enjoying his new role as Durham’s Twenty20 finisher. It is a job the 22-year-old will take on again at Nottinghamshire’s Trent Bridge tonight.

Gateshead Thunder looking over the shoulders of Oxford

The footsteps behind Gateshead Thunder are beginning to grow louder ahead of tomorrow’s visit of Oxford

Gateshead Thunder looking to keep it tight when they meet London Skolars

The last time Gateshead Thunder met London Skolars they were on the end of one of the most remarkable scorelines in rugby league history, losing 55-52

Gateshead Thunder outclassed by Rochdale Hornets

For the second time this season Gateshead Thunder slipped to defeat against Rochdale Hornets

Gateshead Thunder are out to prove a point

Gateshead Thunder captain Jason Payne says his side are out to prove a point after their home defeat to London Skolars

Gateshead Thunder 52 London Skolars 55

Yesterday's match was a dramatic way for Gateshead Thunder to mark their return to Filtrona Park in South Shields

Nomadic Thunder head for the coast of South Shields

Gateshead Thunder decamp to South Shields' Filtrona Park in a season which has already seen them playing home games in Hull and Swalwell

Oxford 27 Gateshead Thunder 22

Gateshead Thunder remain second-bottom after narrowly losing to Kingstone Press Championship One newcomers Oxford RL

Gateshead Thunder venture into new territory in Oxford

Gateshead Thunder will venture to Iffley Road tomorrow to take on new Championship side Oxford

Oldham 54 Gateshead Thunder 16

Gateshead Thunder were beaten at Oldham for the second time this season despite taking a 12-0 lead early on

Birthday boy Adam Powell now seeking a nice gift

Former England Saxons centre Adam Powell will put his birthday celebrations on ice tomorrow as his side prepare to tackle Bedford Blues

Being idle has been no Payne for Gateshead Thunder

Captain Jason Payne believes his Gateshead Thunder side are fully charged for tomorrow’s trip to Oldham after a fortnight without a game

Dougie Brydon confident Berwick Rangers can make play-offs without him

BERWICK Rangers could be without Dougie Brydon for the rest of the season, but the Duns-born defender believes his side can make the play-offs in his absence.

Wigan Athletic 2 Newcastle United 1 - Mark Douglas' match analysis

The smell of sulphur which wafted around the DW Stadium as this toxic contest hurtled towards it conclusion could not have been more appropriate

They join as boys and leave as men - McNamee

CHIEF sports writer Mark Douglas is given a unique insight into Sunderland’s Academy of Light – and the strategy to develop the next Jordan Henderson and Jack Colback.

Greg Abbott is left with difficult decisions

CARLISLE boss Greg Abbott will be hoping his team can maintain their bid to reach the League One play-offs – especially after the week he’s had.

Evo-Stik First Division North

DURHAM CITY will use the final five games of this season as a launchpad for another promotion challenge next term, according to captain Ross Wilkinson.

Carlisle hope to consolidate

CARLISLE United take on Colchester United today in the first of two road trips in the space of four days which could have a major bearing on the Cumbrians’ play-off campaign.

Ian Little confident Berwick Rangers can make play-offs

BERWICK Rangers boss Ian Little remains confident his side can make the play-offs – but admitted time is running out.

Bolton Wanderers 0 Sunderland 2

WHATEVER Steve Bruce said to his players at half-time clearly worked as a fine second-half display finally gave Sunderland their second win of the season.

Focus on Premier League clubs favouring franchise scheme

YOU have to take your hat off to Richard Bevan, the publicity-hungry chief executive of the League Managers’ Association.

Gateshead Reserves 2 Norton & Stockton Ancients 0

A goal in each half from Gateshead reserves full-back Luke Gilbert and striker Brian Wake denied Norton & Stockton Ancients a first appearance in the final of the Durham Challenge Cup

Curtis argues for home domination

JAMES Curtis insists – no disrespect to them – but that Gateshead have to look to boss Hayes & Yeading United tonight.

Magpies ace Taylor scoops top prize

NEWCASTLE United centre-back Steven Taylor was last night named Newcastle’s Sports Personality of the Year.

Foster boosts Blyth glory bid

BLYTH SPARTANS' late bid to gatecrash the Blue Square North play-offs has received a massive boost with the signing of Darlington central defender Steve Foster.

Next two fixtures will really test us – Turner

CHRIS Turner believes his Hartlepool United will know they can challenge for a play-off place if they do well in their next two games.

Wigan tell Bruce: Hands off Lee Cattermole

STEVE Bruce faces further frustration in his attempts to bring yet more faces with him from Wigan Athletic after his former chairman declared Lee Cattermole not for sale.

Steve Bruce in line for Sunderland manager job

STEVE Bruce is set to resign as manager of Wigan Athletic, to pave the way for him to become Sunderland’s next manager.

Bogie's men going all out for the win

GATESHEAD travel to Southport tonight for the first leg of their Conference North play-off semi-final in a poor run of away form, but manager Ian Bogie insists there is no question of his side looking for anything other than a win.

Morton hoping for home comforts

AS well as willing on his own team in play-off action tonight, Newcastle Blue Star’s director of football Bob Morton will hope Curzon Ashton win at Skelmersdale United so they can end their draining UniBond League North campaign without leaving home.

Underestimate Wigan at your peril – Fülöp

WIGAN Athletic look out of place in the Premier League, writes STUART RAYNER.

Newcastle Blue Star 2, Salford City 0

THE only disappointing aspect of Blue Star’s victory over Salford was that they managed just a couple of first-half goals, but few at Kingston Park were complaining.

Skilltrainingltd Northern League

A hat-trick by James Magowan featured in a 3-0 victory for Billingham Synthonia against Shildon.

Wembley lure has Quakers upbeat

DARLINGTON assistant boss Martin Gray insists he has no concerns over the Quakers’ slump in form, despite a run which has seen Dave Penney’s promotion chasers go four games without a win and drop out of the automatic promotion places.

Horwood praises Carlisle’s maturity

CARLISLE United’s new-found maturity has seen them start this season where they left off last, according to left-back Evan Horwood.

Black Cats have score to settle with Wigan

The JJB Stadium regularly plays host to up-and-unders and physical contests but Craig Gordon has warned his Sunderland team-mates that Wigan Athletic are well capable of playing a bit of football too.

Bogie isn’t expecting another easy win

GATESHEAD boss Ian Bogie has warned his promotion favourites to prepare for a “totally different” Buxton in today’s Unibond Premier play-off final from the team that they beat handsomely last month, writes MARK DOUGLAS.

Gateshead 5, Buxton 0

IN a low-key affair, both sides had one eye on their respective promotion play off semi final ties – but it was Gateshead who completed their league campaign with their biggest league victory of the season.

Gateshead 3, Prescot Cables 0

GATESHEAD completed the double over Prescot Cables and with three games to play are virtually assured of finishing third which will give them home advantage in the semi-final of the UniBond League Premier Division play-offs.

Unibond League

GATESHEAD, already assured of a play-off place in the UniBond League Premier Division, have set their sights on finishing at least third to ensure they have home advantage in the semi-finals.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer