Country Park under-9s (Winslade 2 , Foley) ran out 3-0 winners over Birbeck
Northern Spirit veteran team riders led by Andrew Birbeck
on Badger, a 19-year-old black TB former race horse, Kelli Jefferson and Norman Foley maintained a flawless pace from start to finish to win in 4min 38 secs.
Two members of the new team are Edward Crow from Houghtonle-Spring, and Alan Birbeck
. Alan, 57, from Fulwell, has an allergy and had been out of work for several years caring for his wife, who passed away 18 months ago.
In the under-10s division Powerhaus (Alex Croft, Phil Caine) drew 2-2 with Birbeck
. Country Park (Gorst 2) fired seven past Hawks.
But where as the Cestrians have Tony Birbeck
leading a full strength team, Sunderland could be minus no fewer that five players.
, my old county Under-19 captain, is still among the league's top batsmen, despite his advancing years, and he was the NEPL's leading run-scorer last season.
Townsend Boys' (Qualeys and McGrail) good form continued with a 2-0 win over Country Park, while Cavanagh was the only scorer as Millers beat Birbeck
Durham won the toss and batted, starting well with openers Tony Birbeck
(106 no) and Keith Smith (32) sharing a firstwicket partnership of 80 in 17 overs.
O'Learys (LNewcombe 2,J Downes 2,L Saggiest 2,L Garvey,D Owen and T Morgan) romped to a 9-0 success against Cross Keys, while in the Under-9 DIvision, Ben Irwin netted for Powerhaus in their 1- 1 draw with Birbeck
While Cestrians' captain Tony Birbeck
was not optimistic that the game would be going ahead, he did feel positive about his side's chances in the coming campaign.
Belfry defeated Forefield Rangers (Kieron Edwards) 3- 1 and Birbeck
(L.Bradley 2) edged out West Rails (Alex McKearney) 2-1.
Cestrians club captain Tony Birbeck
- whose Seconds could also win their championship tomorrow ahead of the first team's appearance in Sunday's Matthew Oswald City of Durham Cup - makes Chester "slight favourites".