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Friday, 29 May 2015

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Rivals Corbridge and Stocksfield meet

AFTER their unbeaten season, Corbridge’s return to the Premier Division of the Northumberland Cricket League kicks off with a home game against Tyne Valley rivals Stocksfield.

The neighbours commence battle on Saturday in the season opener, both looking to get their season off to a flyer as they approach it full of confidence.

Corbridge went the full season in Division One without tasting defeat, adding a cup victory to their league title in a dominant year.

While the opposition may not have been up to scratch, they showed they were more than ready for a Premier Division return having run Bedlington – the eventual winners of the Prem – close in the final of the Thomas Wilson Memorial Cup before falling short by just one run!

Ryan Billinghurst will be a big miss as he has returned home to Melbourne, but the arrival of fellow Aussie Mark Ryan will strengthen Corbridge’s first team.

They have also recruited Prudhoe captain Mattie Thompson and Ali Thirlwell, from Stocksfield, as they plan to make it a year to remember.

Secretary Michael Robinson said: “Our aim is to finish as close to the top of the Premier Division as possible.

“We are just hoping everybody has a good season and enjoys it, and if we finish in the top three or four than that would be great for us.

“Without a doubt, the team we have is a Premier team and hopefully our close game with Bedlington is a sign of things to come.

“We are very excited to be back up with the stronger teams and I am sure the lads will do very well and we are all looking forward to it.”

The first team will again be captained by Chris Fowler, with Chris Jowsey remaining as skipper for the seconds.

The second team are looking to build on their fourth placed finish in Division Two, and are positive they can do so.

Similarly to Corbridge, Stocksfield are targeting a top three finish as they continue to bring through juniors with great success.

Nine regulars from the team that finished fifth last year had come through the ranks at the club, and it is something that Stocksfield are rightly proud of.

This year, the club will field five junior teams and will also use the three senior teams in the West Tyne League to blood them into the adult world of cricket.

The picture at Stocksfield looks great overall, as they will again field two women’s teams too.

There is particular enthusiasm with the first team this year as, with the addition of Ben Archer from Tynedale, they want to be there or thereabouts.

Alex Brown remains as captain but Danny Whiley has been appointed vice captain. Along with Whiley, they expect fellow youngsters Steven Henderson, Ben Hutton, Sam Mannion and co to continue to shine.

Chairman Chris Catnach said: “We have relied on the youngsters coming through in recent years and hopefully that will really kick on this year.

“They have been training hard with 12 weeks of pre-season and that has gone really well so confidence is very high.

“The outlook for the whole club is generally good, and it was great to see we had 30 juniors signed up at our registration night straight away.”