Premiership referee Michael Oliver in middle for Harmison testimonial

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Premiership referee Michael Oliver will be the man in charge of Thursday’s testimonial match at Ashington’s Woodhorn Lane ground when a Stephen Harmison Northumberland XI face a Newcastle United XI.

Oliver’s assistants on the night will be Mick McDonough and Peter Osgood.

The game is one of several events organised to celebrate Harmison’s contribution to cricket and to sport in the region, and will also support the benefit committee’s chosen charities, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and the PCA Benevolent Fund.

Michael Thewlis, a member of Harmison’s benefit committee, said: “The committee wanted to organise an event that reflects Stephen’s passion for football, not just for NUFC but for the Northern League, which he has watched keenly for years.

“Obviously, Stephen’s links with NUFC are well documented.

“He trained with the first XI squad at Newcastle when Sir Bobby was manager – a time that coincided with Stephen being the number one Test bowler in the world.

“The fact that Stephen has chosen to support the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in his benefit year also gives an extra incentive for people to show their support.”

He continued: “I’ve known Stephen since he was a young lad and his commitment and loyalty to Ashington has been without question, he has stayed true to his roots and given a lot back to the area.

“This is a great opportunity for the local community to support Stephen’s benefit year and to see some cracking football on their doorstep.”

The game starts at 7pm where admission will be £6 for adults and £1.50 for juniors.

Tickets can be purchased from: Ashington Town Council, 65 Station Road; Ashington Football Club, Woodhorn Lane; Barclays Bank, Station Road; The Buffs (ROAB Social Club) 120 Station Road.

They can be reserved to collect on the day of the game by emailing hello@harmy611benefit.co.uk

Hospitality is available priced at £30 per person and includes a two-course meal, reserved seating in the stand and a question and answer session with Harmy and his Newcastle friends.