2018 Season Arrives

2 months ago By Sam Blacklock

Another Dukes North East Premier League season is upon us, we preview the latest in's out's and hopes from all clubs across the league.

Following a very wet winter and some torrential rain over the last few weeks the opening week of the NEPL season was postponed to August 27th (Bank Holiday Monday).

But with some fine weather forecast for the week ahead we look to finally get underway next Saturday. Ahead of the new season we take a look at the latest transfer news from around all member clubs and get their hopes ahead of the new campaign.

The season now begins on Saturday 21st April, with the fixtures as follows - Chester le Street v Durham Cricket Academy, Felling v Benwell Hill, Hetton Lyons v Eppleton, Sacriston v Newcastle, South Northumberland v Stockton and Tynemouth v Whitburn.

While the First Division fixtures are, Boldon v Burnmoor, Brandon v Blaydon, Burnopfield v Castle Eden, South Shields v Willington and Sunderland v Gateshead Fell. Washington (FREE WEEK)

Premier Division

Benwell Hill

Benwell Hill are looking forward to another exciting season. Following the progress made over the last two seasons the club is in a good place and looking to continue playing an exciting brand of cricket in 2018. Luke Mussett, Max Williamson (Durham Academy) and Kenny Brar (Australia) have all left the club which will create exciting opportunities for some new faces in the team. New recruits Mohsin Mukthar and South African overseas Jacques Snyman will bolster the side with quality and a youthful desire for the game. 2018 will also see a young star in the making Rory Hanley play a key role in leading the bowling attack after a brilliant debut season in 2017. There is a great mix of experience (Nico) in the squad which will give the club a great platform to challenge for trophies while having an eye on the clubs future.

Chester le Street

We are delighted to welcome 4 new players for the 2018 NEPL season. Jake McCann joins from Durham City and will be a key player this season. The wicketkeeper batsman was the leading run scorer in the DCL last year and is excited about the challenge of playing in the region’s top division. Liam Burgess moves from Burnmoor and will play a key role as a front line spinner. Alex Mcgrath has joined from Tudhoe after impressive performances over a number of years. He has come highly recommended by several trusted observers and we are sure that he will be an excellent addition in all 3 disciplines. Finally, DCCC’s Chris Rushworth has signed and he is hopeful he will be available for a handful of games across the season.

Skipper John Coxon is delighted to have George Harrison as his vice captain for this year. George has established himself as a quality opening batsman and the club are very hopeful that this will be his best season to date. Similarly, Stephen Cantwell has a big season in front of him. His bowling has developed well over the last few seasons and it is hoped that 2018 will see all of his hard work come to fruition.

Overall, Chester-le-Street are hopeful of another successful season. Signing have been focussed on strengthening in key areas, whilst maintaining a consistent core throughout. Kyle Davis can build upon his 2017 accomplishments and the ever youthful Quentin Hughes relishes every challenge presented.

We would also like to take the opportunity to wish those players who have moved on from club all of the best for their future cricket careers. This includes Adam Hickey, who we remain hopeful will get further opportunities in first class cricket


Durham Cricket Academy

Durham Cricket Academy are once again looking forward to another North East Premier League season, following lots of changes to the squad from last season we have a fresh crop of players looking forward to a tough competitive season. Durham County Cricket Club and the academy look forward to having the chance to play against some top side throughout the summer.

Eppleton

Following a mid table finish for the Church Road side in last season’s North East Premier League campaign they go in to 2018 fairly unchanged. The team remains the same for 2018 with two departures from Church Road. Overseas Jandre Erasmus will not be returning and will spend this summer studying in South Africa while Alex Simpson has joined Newcastle after just one season at Church Road. Joining Eppleton is Josh Coughlin, who returns to his former club from neighbours Hetton Lyons along with off-spinner Connor Whitelock who joins from NYSD side Darlington, we have also welcomed Dominic Stuart from Durham University and Daniel Stephenson has also joined from Sacriston.

Eppleton Cricket Club Director of Cricket John Smithson said: "As a club we are once again looking forward to another Premier League season, the side enjoyed last season with some fantastic cricket being played. Apart from two departures the side is the same for this season, we look forward to welcoming you all to Church Road again this season."

Felling

Felling Cricket Club go into the new season with some changes both on and off the field, both the the changing rooms have been re-furbished and the Umpires room has been re-developed. We are awaiting confirmation of our English Professional, we have an agreement in place but final signature has not been received yet. He is an experienced County Cricketer with experience of international cricket in the one day format. Josh Eaton joins us as our overseas amateur from Melbourne, Australia. He is a left arm place bowler who can hit a clean ball. He joins us from Bill Quay CC in the Durham Cricket League. Alongside Josh we have Confirmed signings in Chris Nicholls, Dale Shaw and Alan Robson. Departures are Stuart Walker, Mark Turner and Gary Scott. We are aiming to be competitive in a very tough league, mid table finish with a decent run in the cup competitions.

Hetton Lyons

Jarvis Clay leads the team once again with Stuart Walker (Felling CC), Chris Ralston (overseas), Carl Watson (Horden CC) and James Wilson (Chester le Street CC) joining for the 2018 season. Matthew Whaley, Dom Thomson and Josh Coughlin have all left the club. We would like to place on record our thanks for their contribution during the 2017 season.


Newcastle

Newcastle have lost Sean Tindale, Alasdair Appleby and Josh Phillippe from last years successful side. To compensate the club have signed Alex Simpson from Eppleton and Kieran Trevaskis from Cumbria.

The club have been delighted to retain Cameron Steel as Durham player, and hope to sign a Head Cricket Coach in the coming weeks/months as part of a long term restructuring project.

Club captain Jacques du Toit commented: "Obviously losing Sean and Alasdair is disappointing but we are very excited about the acquisition of Alex Simpson who did very well at Eppleton last season. Furthermore this gives an opportunity for players like Sam Roseby, Ben Quirk and Ben McGee to continue their development."

Sacriston

Sacriston have remained relatively unchanged in respect of players. Matthew Potts has signed as our Durham County Contracted player replacing Chris Rushworth. We have also signed James Thompson from Whitburn. Daniel Stephenson has left to join Eppleton.

Graeme Wrightson will captain the 1st XI as Martin Hubber continues his recovery grom knee surgery.

As we step up into the Premier Division we hope to be able to compete throighout the season and condolidate our position in the top flight


South Northumberland

2017 was an excellent year for the Club, an 11th NEPL Premier Division title for the 1st X1, an NEPL T20 win followed by a national T20 victory at Derby in September. Career milestones for Stephen Humble, John Graham & Simon Birtwisle. The 2's were runners up in Division 2 & Banks Bowl winners. With the youngest X1, the Academy were runners up in Sunday Division 1. 26 juniors experienced senior cricket.

A tough act to follow in 2018. Leaving are Calum MacLeod to Kent, Stephen Humble to Brandon, & Jonny Craigs to Alnmouth & Lesbury. Marcus North retires.

Adam Cragg enters his second year as 1st X1 Captain & is delighted to welcome leading all rounders Sean Tindale from Newcastle & former England U19 Liam Trevaskis from Durham CCC. Bowler Richard Stanyon joins from Newcastle, batsmen Alex Weetman from Chorley & Will Caldwell from Newcastle University. Jonny Wightman leads the attack. Lee Crozier moves inexorably towards 1000 1st team wickets. James Miller will reappear !

Adam reflects "This is an opportunity for others to step up & we are all looking forward to the challenge of trying to maintain the levels we achieved last season".

South North are delighted that Roseworth Terrace will host major matches with Durham v Worcestershire on Friday 25th May in the Royal London One Day Cup & England U19 v South Africa U19 on Thursday 26th July.

Stockton

This year we have recruited three players in Jamie Harrison, James Ward andChris Oliver, two players who have experience playing in the North East Premier League. Ryan Wallace and Brett Roberts have both left the club. Kevin Ward said: "Our hopes for this season are to build on some promising performances from a very young side. And become more consistent in our performances. We still have a very young side but recruited 2 experienced NEPL players. Both part of the league winning side in 2013. We hope they give us more balance and help a very young side very much in transition."

Tyenmouth

We go into the 2018 with optimism of improving last years mid table finish having strengthened the 1st team squad considerably. Joining the club as our overseas is NSW opening bowler Charlie Stobbo, he’ll be well known to the NEPL after spending a year with Newcastle CC in 2015. We also welcome a Scottish contingent with internationals Mark Watt, left arm spinner and middle order batsman, and Mike Jones, top order batsmen. We will hopefully be able to call on Stuart Poynter on the occasions where he isn’t on Durham duty. In addition Barry Stewart rejoined the club for the last few games of the 2017 season and have one other signing in the making. We have a number of junior cricketers pushing through into a number of the senior sides so overall we’re in a positive mood about the season ahead.

Whitburn

After a very busy pre-season we are looking forward to the start of the 2018 cricket season. There has been plenty of movements and although we were disappointed to lose Daniel Shurben, James Thompson and Andrew Turns we are excited with the arrivals of Chris McBride from Durham Academy, Matthew Muchall and Chris Stewart from South Shields and Phillip Bell who is back in the North East having spent the last few years working just outside of London. We are also looking at the possibility of bringing an overseas player to the club for the summer. Ian Elliott has been appointed 2nd team captain and Craig Smith has agreed to take up the role as 1st team vice captain and we are looking forward to the upcoming challenges the season will no doubt bring us. Its been a long winter and hopefully the weather will warm up and we all enjoy the 2018 season.

Division 1

Blaydon

Blaydon are in period of transition, we have changed our focus to concentrate on developing both our facilities and our junior section for the long term stability of the club. We have a 1st team with typically 11 Blaydon lads and are looking forward to the 2018 season. We have retained Graham Clarke as our Durham player and have signed Scottish international Majid Haq for a few sporadic games during the season.

Boldon

Boldon CC have signed Gary Scott for the new season , replacing their overseas Pro Umar Waheed who served the club for two seasons. Gary joins from Felling and his experience all round capabilities should help bolster an already strong Boldon side. Chris Ellison and Ian Pattison will again provide batting support with Durham and Ireland fast bowler Barry McCarthy spearheading the attack (subject to Durham and Ireland commitments).
The club is progressing well in terms of junior development and there is confidence in youngsters providing competition for places in the senior sides this season.
In a very strong and competitive league Boldon are confident they can compete with the best this season.

Brandon

Brandon captain, Chris Peareth is over the moon to welcome back Karl Turner to the Club after successful seasons at South North and Barnard Castle. Also joining is Stephen Humble after many successful seasons at South Northumberland. Darren Gill joins from Ushaw Moor and Mark Messer also returns. Ryan Pringle continues as our County Contracted Player.

Chris hopes to play some consistent cricket throughout the year in all formats and hopefully win some games along the way. Our Junior Section is rejuvenated with the advent of an additional Junior Coach, Andy Walker and our new Practice Facility.

Burnmoor

Following the conclusion of the 2017 season we can confirm the following arrivals and departures from Burnmoor CC. Marc Symington and Graham Stoker have both joined us while Stephen Meek, Owen Lancaster and Liam Burgess have all left us.

Captain Alec Linsley stated that the objective was to finish higher in the league than last season when 3rd. place was disappointing. However with Pakistani professional Samiullah Kahn Niazi available for the full season and a fully fit and available Gareth Harte chances of winning the league should be at a maximum. Such chances are enhanced by the signing of Marc Symington. The other members of the 1st. team squad are looking forward to spearheading the Club towards a league championship for the first time since 2014.

Burnopfield

Going in to the 2018 season we are not really sure what to expect. Burnopfield completed a first season in the NEPL in the Runners-up position in Division 1. This season, under the Captaincy of Neil Killeen we will be focusing our attempts in consolidating our place in the league with a much changed team. 4 experienced players are not available this year and have all been replaced by talented, but inexperienced, junior players. We hope that Scott Steel, fresh from Academy successes, will form a successful opening partnership with Cole Pearce.

Castle Eden

After last seasons promotion we hope that in our first season we can give off a big impression both on and off the field. We look forward to welcoming all the other premier league clubs down to Castle Eden and we also look forward to playing throughout the new cup competitions. We have secured the services of Pakistan first class cricketer Saeed Bin Nasir, who comes over with fantastic stats and off the back of a fantastic three years playing in the NYSD with Marske cricket club. As far as the original side goes from gaining promotion we stay the same but have acquired a few extra players through the club that will help out massively and push to play first team cricket. We look forward to the season ahead.

Gateshead Fell

There has been very little activity this year regarding signings or departures at Gateshead Fell Cricket Club. We are delighted to have secured the services again of Graham Onions, who also plays a big part in the coaching aspect. With a young and homegrown side, we hope to attain a respectable league position this year, and know we will be competitive in every game. We hope to give the opportunity to more youngsters and homegrown players coming through the second and third team ranks.

South Shields

Following a disappointing 2017 season, which saw the 1XI relegated from the Premier Division, we will look to rebuild from within for the challenge of the 2018 campaign.
Matthew Muchall and Chris Stewart have both left the club and moved onto Whitburn, where we wish them success for the coming season.

Club captain Chris Rainbow is excited for the new season to get underway, and said: "We have a great group of talented youngsters at the club, and I am looking forward working with these players over the next couple of years to help develop then into good 1XI cricketers.

"The youngsters will be integrated with our 5 or 6 senior players, and will need to learn quickly, and make the most of their opportunities.

"It will be a big challenge for us this season, but all our squad know that there will be no easy games, and we are all looking forward to the challenge ahead”.


Sunderland

We have enjoyed the past two seasons , have established ourselves as a talented, likeable and engaging group but have not done ourselves justice in terms of winning games at both first and second team levels. This year sees the return of Quinton Boatswain as our overseas pro, supplementing by the return of Dan Shurben and our former junior Mark Turner, with a full season of Chris Youldon who returned to the club midway through last season allied to our home grown group. Set against that we have lost Usman Arshad who was our Durham pro who played as often as possible and was a strong contributor to many of our better days. Our aim is to be more competitive, build even greater team spirit and compete at the top of both leagues, rather than the mid to lower level we have occupied recently.

Our junior set up is developing strongly with Andrea Bowman taking the reins from Simon Old and the development of talent guided by our coaches headed by Ron Boyd is a key objective for our juniors and Sunday development team.

All in all, having strengthened across most areas of the club, we want to see that rewarded in winning and talent development and are looking forward to the end of the monsoon season to get the show on the road.

Washington

We are capable of beating any side on our day but also struggle with consistency so that will be a real focus during the 2018 season.A cliche but we will definitely be taking things one game at a time and to compete at our best every week. We know it will be a tough league this year, with some top talent spread throughout the division but all the lads are looking forward to the challenge. We have had a few changes over the off season.

Former Washington CC junior and Durham CCC player Adam Hickey rejoins us as our Club professional and we expect big things from Adam both on and off the field, he has worked really hard with the group over the winter.

Dan Woolston returns to the club after spells with Whitburn and Masham, with Michael Nunn joining us from Seaham Harbour. We also have Andrew Richardson returning to captain our 2’s and the playing group have lofty aspiration after lifting the T20 trophy last season. Some big things are happening within the club, where we are looking to create a sustainable future both on and off the field. A new scoreboard is imminent and it’s just the beginning of some changes at the Harraton Ground. We look forward to welcoming everyone to Washington this season, especially Castle Eden CC who make their debut in the league.

Where next?

Pyramid Management Board Discussions. The Pyramid Management Board (PMB) met on 22 March to consider the implications of the withdrawal of Seaham Harbour Cricket Club from the NEPL.
Midweek League Fixtures Postponed next week Wednesday night’s scheduled Midweek League games have been postponed due to the weather and will now be played on Wednesday 15th August.

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