Darlington Building Society North Yorkshire and South Durham ECB Premier League
NEWLY-PROMOTED Seaton Carew produced the perfect start to life at their highest level of cricket, joining the season’s opening day winners in style and setting a new record high-scoring partnership to crown their display.
Seventeen-year-old junior Paul Braithwaite hit 95 runs and the club’s new captain, Stuart Lobb, made 63 in an undefeated stand of 127 to take them to an exceptional fivewicket victory over Saltburn after being set to score 201, and losing two of their first three batsmen with just four runs on the scoreboard.
Braithwaite, whose brilliant all-round performances last season played a major part in winning Seaton a crack at the league’s big clubs, was never overawed by the occasion, batting astutely throughout the innings and at times operating quite brilliantly.
With the hard-hitting Lobb also exciting the home fans they reached their target with two overs to spare.
The Seaton skipper had earlier taken three of the nine wickets Saltburn lost in making 200, a total which owed much to their new professional, Niraj Patel, who made a good looking 66 with eight boundaries.
Another exceptional victory came the way of Barnard Castle, tipped as dark horses for a tilt at the championship.
They rolled over Hartlepool by ten wickets with newlyarrived Aussie amateur, Ben Turner, a first-grade player from Brisbane, undefeated on 90 from 98 balls with seven fours and two sixes.
He shared an unbeaten stand of 153 with Simon Tennant who hit five boundaries in his 47 not out. Earlier Neil Coverdale made an undefeated 88 for Hartlepool, sharing in a fifth wicket partnership of 101 with Alan Tebbett (29 not out).
Pool’s 50 over tally of 151-4 was never enough and Barney polished them off with 13 overs untouched.
Richmondshire took an early confident step towards retaining the championship when they bowled out Sedgefield for 82 in 30.1 overs after making an impressive 215 for the loss of just five wickets.
After winning the toss they became the first of just two clubs on the day to bag an extra five points available for the first time this season to teams batting first who enjoy victory.
The other 25-point success went to Stokesley.
Richmond blooded a new opening batsman, Steven Mather, and he impressed.
Gary Pratt dropped down the order but still made a half century along with Rob Carr, just back from a winter’s cricket in Oz.
The Dalesmen’s opponents had lost seven of last season’s players and collapsed under an impressive five-pronged bowling attack which included Lewis Stabler (4-14 from seven overs) and Craig Marshall (3-8 from 3.1 overs).
Stokesley’s win against Redcar was by an impressive margin of 104 runs. Former pro, James Beaumont made 63 and took 3-33 from 17 overs in a great start which included a stand of 87 with James Weighell (69 from 50 balls).
Skipper Andrew Weighell (35 and 3-38 from 13 overs) was the other star performer.
Stokesley’s 229-8 was in contrast to their opponents 47- over 125 all out score of which Tyler Easton made 49.
Guisborough surprised Marton by restricting them to 151 and then overcoming a poor reply with the loss of two wickets cheaply to win comfortably by five wickets.
Chris Allinson marked his return to the Priory club with the day’s best individual bowling figures, taking 6-37 from 15 overs. Alex Wardell hit 56 and Ben Hutchinson (30) was second top scorer for Marton who were outshone by one of their former players, opening batsman, Martin Hood.
He batted throughout for Guisborough to finish unbeaten on 52 while Graham Murray hit 34 from 24 balls with all but four of his runs in boundaries.
Great Ayton got the better of Middlesbrough, but it was a close run thing. Skipper James Lowe (60) and new professional, Wally Ghauri (35), got Boro off to a great start but as Michael Croft (3-39) and James Marsay (3-35) dug in they collapsed from 120-2 to be all out for 160. Ayton pro Nick Hendrie (79 not out), with help from Steve Pennock (27), saw their side over the finishing line with two wickets to spare.
Darlington (233-6) figured in the only drawn finish of the day after finding the return of Marske (154-6) to the premier division providing them with a tough afternoon. Liam Coates (65 and 2-50) produced the best all-round display, but Chris Lince got 55 for the Seasiders.