Intriguing match-ups in round two
Sixty matches will be played up and down the length and breadth of the country in the second round of the ECB National Club Championship on Sunday June 6 - from Benwell Hill in Northumberland to Werrington in Cornwall and St Anne’s on the Lancashire coast to Preston Nomads near Brighton.
There are a number of stand-out ties - the pick of these has to be in the north east where South Northumberland (2006 winners) host the current holders and NE Premier League rivals from Chester-le-Street. Just along the road Blaydon (NE Prem) will be hosting Middlesbrough (N Yorks & S Durham) in another high-profile tie.
Two other teams that have recently played in Lord’s Finals meet in the Midlands as Barnt Green (Birmingham Prem), who were runners-up in 2005 when they lost on the last ball to Horsham, are eagerly awaiting the visit of Kibworth (Leicestershire), who won the trophy in 2004 and 2008.
Kibworth also lost on the last ball of the match in the 2007 final against Bromley. So both teams know how precious a trip to the final is.
Horsham (2005 winners) have a trip to nearby Pulborough as a reward for knocking out the 2009 runners-up from Spencer CC. Bromley (2007 champs) host Upminster in a Group 14 match.
Malden Wanderers, who missed the competition last season after finishing as runners-up to Kibworth in 2008, travel to Preston Nomads (Sussex) a scene of a nail-biting encounter where they edged the tie on narrowest of margins.
Other interesting ties throw up the Group 2 visit of Mansfield Hosiery Mills (Notts Prem) to East Bierley (Bradford League). This is the first time that Bradford League clubs have entered, Hanging Heaton (Div 2) lost in the first round, and East Bierley will be a threat to any team in the Group. In their previous match Gavin Hamilton opened the batting and scored an impressive century.
In Group 3 Honley from the Drakes Huddersfield League are looking forward to the visit from Wollaton (Notts Prem). Bamford Fieldhouse from the Saddleworth League, who have excelled in this competition reaching the last 16 at their first attempt in 2006, host Westhoughton of the Bolton League.
Group 7 sees two Birmingham Premier sides meet in a clash of the titans as Shrewsbury, who reached the semi-finals last year, host Walmley.
One match was played a week early when Heaton from the Bolton League travelled to Lytham and beat their Liverpool Competition hosts by 15 runs to record the first shock of the round.
Two matches will be held over until the following Sunday when Leyland will play Morecambe and Callington will visit St Austell.
Disappointingly there will be no match at the picturesque ground at Mote Park in Maidstone as Sutton, Surrey Premier League Champions, have conceded the tie as they cannot raise a side.
The third round is scheduled for Sunday June 27.