At long last the cricket season finally began on Saturday 18th July, albeit with Government Covid-19 rules and accompanying ECB guidelines being strictly adhered to. However with half of the season’s league fixtures lost due to the pandemic, the NYSD league have scrapped promotion and relegation for this season, but teams still have plenty to play for as championship trophies and some cups are still up for grabs.

Newton Aycliffe Cricket Club’s 1st team, sponsored by Franks the Flooring Store, began their season away at Barnard Castle 2nd XI in the NYSD 2nd division and, after a poor display, came away with a six wicket defeat. Aycliffe were asked to bat first and were bowled out for a below par 121 after 42.4 overs despite an outstanding innings from Adam Gittins, who showed what could be done as he hit a determined unbeaten 56 from 113 balls reaching the boundary on seven occasions. Jack Slatcher (18 runs off 31 balls) and Ben Nicholson (11 runs off 16 balls) were the only other batsmen to reach double figures. In reply Barnard Castle coasted to victory after only 29.3 overs with Jack Slatcher (3 for 21) and James Layfield-Carroll (1 for 22) taking the only four wickets to fall.

A young second team containing six juniors hosted Guisborough 2nd XI in their opening NYSD division four game and despite losing by 47 runs, put in a spirited performance. The visitors were asked to bat first and were restricted to 167 for 6 in their allotted 40 overs. Dan Weldon (3 for 50) was the pick of the bowlers and he was supported well by 14 year old Leo Mercy (1 for 16) and 17 year old Jak Kennedy (1 for 18). In reply Aycliffe were dismissed for 120 after 32.2 overs despite some good individual performances from Sean Morgan (38 runs off 61 balls), Kyle Robinson (24 runs off 57 balls) and Jak Kennedy (11 runs off 16 balls).

The u17’s began their season with a tough home game against Darlington in the NYSD Junior league and put in a good performance despite losing by 26 runs. Darlington chose to bat first and scored 96 for 1 from their 20 overs with Will Varley taken the only wicket to fall. In reply, Aycliffe batted well thanks to a good innings from Owen Smith, who top scored with 25 and Matty Greaves who scored 11 runs as their side were dismissed for a respectable 70 runs after 15.2 overs.

The u15’s hosted their Hartlepool counterparts in a pre-season friendly and it proved to be an excellent work-out for the youngsters as they ended up tying the match in a thrilling climax. Hartlepool batted first and scored a respectable 88 for 4 from their allotted 20 overs. In reply Matty Greaves batted superbly (30 runs and retired) and despite good innings from both Thomas Dearden (17 runs) and Owen Smith (11 runs), Aycliffe couldn’t quite get over the winning line, but were happy to earn a tie against a typically strong Hartlepool team as they finished their 20 overs with the scoreboard showing 88 for 5.