Tynemouth retain the Harbour Cup

TYNEMOUTH Cricket Club opened their season with the traditional Harbour Cup fixture against South Shields at Preston Avenue.

New captain Ben Debnam led his team out and secured a nail biting two wickets win on a green, seaming wicket.

The skipper won the toss and elected to field first.

His decision soon paid dividends as the pace attack of Finn Lonnberg, David Hymers and Rory Cox made early in-roads, reducing the visitors to 33-4.

Lonnberg had Hill caught at point by Debnam for 14 and then Watson caught behind by Euan Stenhouse for two whilst Cox removed Elliott and Rainbow.

Tidy bowling by Russell Perry and Cox put the visitors well behind the expected rate of scoring.

Dunn was dropped off Perry but two balls later he was run out following a fine throw from Ben Richardson.

Ollie McGee then bowled Shaw for nine with a turning delivery and, despite a 19 from McShane and nine from Matty Muchall, wickets for McGee, Hymers and Sam Robson saw the visitors dismissed for 85.

Lonnberg finished with 3-22, Cox 2-14 and McGee 2-20.

In reply, Tynemouth disappointingly lost skipper Debnam first ball and, when Matty Muchall also removed Richie Straughan, the home side were in trouble at 4-2.

Cox was next to go for ten and then Matthew Brown for five with Tynemouth in a perilous situation at 16-4.

Then Robson played positively and with support from Hymers and Richardson, the innings seemed to be going along nicely.

However, following a flurry of wickets to off spinner McShane, capturing Robson (30), Richardson (7), Hymers (10) and then Stenhouse, Tynemouth were in desperate trouble at 68-8, but with not too many runs required.

Finn Lonnberg (4 not out) and Russell Perry (11 not out) saw Tynemouth home with plenty of overs spare to secure the two-wicket win and retain the Harbour Cup.

For the visitors Matty Muchall finished with 3-6 and Kris McShane 4-22.

The North East Premier League season starts on Saturday with the first team at Benwell Hill.

Tynemouth hope to have the club’s South African professional Patrick Botha arriving in time for the fixture.

Twenty-two-year-old Botha joins the club from South African state side Free State having recently been included in the South African Academy.

He has already made more than 2,000 first class runs with two hundreds and five half centuries to his name.

Botha also has 34 first class wickets and it is thought that his off spin bowling will be suited to the Tynemouth wicket.

Botha is also a qualified coach and the club hope that he will contribute significantly to their coaching team and bring on some of the talented youngsters who have broken into the senior teams over the last few years.

Durham University students Dan Newton and Rory Cox also return to strengthen the batting line-up.

Joining them from the university is left arm spinner Nat Watkins, who was also part of the young cricketers MCC squad and the UCCE Durham

Northumberland all rounder Andrew Smith is also likely to be fully available this year although wicketkeeper Greg Hollins is unavailable as he recovers from a broken thumb and will be playing cricket in Yorkshire where he is studying.

Debnam said: “I am looking forward to the challenge of this year.

“Although we again have a young squad there is some real experience of the demands of Premier League cricket coupled with some genuine and unique talent with the junior contingent that is more than ready for the demands of senior cricket.”