BARNEY CC start their season with a home match against Hartlepool in the NYSD Premier Division.
They will be led for the fourth successive season by James Quinn and their new Indian professional, Samarth Seth, who flew in from Delhi last Saturday, should be available to play.
Director of cricket Michael Stanwix said: “We’re extremely excited about the start of what we hope will be a full season and can’t wait to see Samarth perform.
“He’s clearly an accomplished young player and we’re delighted to have signed him. He’s played a few times in England as a schoolboy but we know he might find our early season pitches a bit different from what he’s used to at home.”
Barney hope to field a full-strength XI which is likely to be long in batting, containing four players who have made Premier Division centuries. Their bowling attack will be led by vice-captain Josh Bousfield, who is also behind the relaunch of junior coaching at the club (more details will be in the Mercury soon). Karl Carver, the former Yorkshire left-arm spinner, is returning as the English professional and should again be a handful for all batsmen. He took 23 wickets in the shortened 2020 season at 11.87 runs each.
Seth is likely to bat at number three with James Clarkson and Finn Usher resuming their successful opening partnership from last year. Quinn and Richard Borrowdale will again be the engine room of the middle order and if they both fire Barney could be in with a chance of taking the league title for third time in six seasons.
Hartlepool have lost opening bat and pro James Lowe, who has returned to Middlesbrough (making them a real threat), but still have 2020 player of the year Neil Whitworth and fellow all-rounder and Seaton Carew old boy Paul Braithwaite.
“I expect us to be in the mix if we play to our ability,” said Mr Stanwix. “On paper it looks to be a well balanced side, a good combination of batsmen, attacking and more watchful, right hand and left hand and our bowling attack is also versatile.”
The second XI play Hartlepool away. Their captain will again be Richard Stanwix who capped last summer by leading his team to victory in the Readman Cup, the Division Two knockout competition. If players are available as often as Barney would like, the seconds could easily make a promotion push.
The third XI are at home Darlington RA on Sunday.
Saturday: 1st XI v Hartlepool (H); 2nd XI v Hartlepool (A) both 12.30pm.
Sunday: 3rd XI v Darlington RA (H) 2pm.