OPENING UP: James Clarkson found good form with a knock of 95
OPENING UP: James Clarkson found good form with a knock of 95

Barnard Castle............ 233-7
Synthonia.... 175 (47.1 overs)

ON a fine spring afternoon, Barney got their 2022 campaign off to the best possible start as a fine all-round performance earned maximum points.
With the sun only just breaking through the morning mist and cloud, it was probably no surprise when the visitors, having won the toss, asked Barney to bat first.
Finn Usher fell to a marvellous low diving catch by Billingham wicket keeper Elliott Holmes with the score on 16, which brought skipper James Quinn to the wicket.
After taking his time to adjust to conditions he was just starting to time the ball nicely when he didn’t fully commit to a drive and was caught for 22 with the score on 62.
At the other end, opener James Clarkson was beginning to build the innings of the afternoon.
He started brightly but then found difficulty timing the older ball in the middle of his knock before things clicked into place again. His 95 contained a dozen fours and two sixes.
Indian pro Samarth Seth, who had flown in 24 hours earlier, struck three beautiful boundaries before spooning one to backward point when on 17.
Fellow pro Karl Carver took guard and a partnership of 74 with Clarkson ensued before the Yorkshire all-rounder was caught on 36.
Clarkson was fifth out, just five short of what would have been a deserved century, so it was left to Richard Borrowdale and Josh Bousfield to add late runs and take Barney to a competitive score.
In reply, Billingham were pegged back as Rob West’s efforts in the field helped remove opener Sam Garraghan and Ben Phillips.
Both were run out. Garraghan was unfortunate, slipping while turning to try to reclaim his ground as West’s throw came in.
Phillips turned for a second run that was never on as West’s strong, accurate throw found him well short of his ground.
Then with ball in hand, West removed the dangerous Tayyab Tahir, Quinn taking a smart low catch at mid-off.
Carver was introduced into the attack and picked up where he left off last season – taking wickets and conceding very few runs in the process.
His canny changes of pace always keep the batsmen guessing and on this occasion he picked up 4-30 in 14.1 overs as the Billingham effort subsided.
Usher’s useful spin earned him a couple of wickets as Barney won by 58 runs.
Barnard Castle 233-7 (J Clarkson 95, K Carver 36, B Phillips 3-46). Billingham Synthonia 175 (JP Meade 45, M Saleem 39, R Nawaz 38, K Carver 4-30).
Barnard Castle II...... 191
Rockliffe Park........... 137

VICTORY for Barney was built around Ian Swinburn’s magnificent 96.
He shared in an opening stand of 48 with Richard Stanwix and then put on 74 with Cameron McKnight, who fell for 20 with the score on 122.
Swinburn was fifth out, just a boundary short of a his century, and it was a measure of his dominance that no other batsman bettered McKnight’s effort.
The innings closed when Tom Brooks was run out in the final over and the total of 191 gave the bowlers plenty to play with.
For Rockliffe Park, veterans Greg Osborne and Mark Swanwick contribute 29 overs, Osborne’s medium pace earning 3-57 while Swanwick’s spell went at less than two an over.
In reply, Rockliffe’s top order had no answer to the opening spells of the two Toms, Merryweather and Brooks.
After the early run-out of Sam Bainbridge, half the side was back in the pavilion with just 37 and at 52-7 the game was up.
Scores in the 40s from Keiran Gilly and Sai Vanteddu added a veneer of respectability to Rockliffe’s score, but they were well beaten.
Brooks took 5-60 in his 12 overs and Merryweather 3-32 in nine. Peter Stanwix was the other wicket taker.

Barnard Castle III....... 34
Sedgefield III.............. 35-2

THE third team produced a risible batting performance, capitulating for just 34 at Sedgefield.
Having won the toss and chosen to bat, only John Lucas made it to double figures and the last four wickets went down without the addition of a single run.
Matteo Rutherford took 6-23 and Darren Bill 4-11 as Barney occupied the crease for just 12.4 overs. Oliver Welsby picked up two wickets as Sedgefield took just 6.4 overs to knock the runs off and take the win by eight wickets.
Saturday, April 23: 1st XI away to Saltburn; 2nd XI home to Saltburn (12.3pm both games). Sunday, April 24: 3rd XI away v Rockliffe Park (2pm).