Cobwebs blown away as league campaign begins
PENRITH open their Northern Premier League campaign at Tynefield Park today with St Annes the visitors (1pm start).
They were in action at home to Carlisle on Saturday in a friendly which, according to vice-captain Greg Hall “blew a few cobwebs away”.
Batting first, Carlisle made 197 for eight from their 40 overs, with professional Michael Slack — a former Penrith player — leading the way with a fine knock of 69.
Penrith would have been less than happy with the 39 extras they conceded.
New professional Asher Hart and Jonathon Osborne each picked up two wickets. Hart opened the bowling with Greg Hall, who conceded just 16 runs from his eight overs.
In reply, Penrith got off to a steady start. Although losing the early wicket of Nick Hodgson, overseas amateur Zach Reekie (55) and captain Nicky Burns put on 109, before Burns retired on 51.
In the next over Reekie was bowled for 55 and wickets then tumbled quickly, with only Greg Cameron showing any resistance with a knock of 38. Penrith closed on 167 for eight, giving Carlisle a 30-run victory. “We used Saturday to blow a few cobwebs away from the winter and get prepared for the first league game of the season,” said Hall.
“It was good to see Nicky and Zach in great touch so early and I am certain this will continue throughout the season. Greg batted well given the situation we were in and, if given more support in the middle overs, we would have looked to win the game.
“On the bowling side of things it was good to get overs under the belt for the likes of Asher, Sam (Hall), Jonners (Jonathon Osborne) and myself.”
Another new signing, Sulosan Thiru kept wicket as regular keeper Alister Craig had a hand injury.
“Sulosan did a great job behind the stumps, taking a fantastic stumping off the bowling of Jonners,” said Hall. We picked 12 players for the warm-up game and in this instance Sulosan then batted at 12. Alister will be keeping wicket this week as his hand has now healed, but it’s great to have people challenging for places. This should help the first team players work harder to cement their spots in the team.
“The boys at Penrith have trained really hard through the winter to try and put the club as a whole in a position where all teams can progress and look to finish in the highest possible positions.
“New leadership in the first team in the shape of Nicky Burns and getting Asher as our pro should lead to exciting and new things in the upcoming season.
“As ever we have an excellent junior section so new young players are quickly coming through the ranks and his season will hopefully be a very positive one.
Today’s opponents St Annes, who finished third in the table last year, have retained their professional, all-rounder Amar Ullah. “We roughly know how their team normally sets up and we can hopefully use that as an advantage going into the game,” said Hall.
Penrith first XI to play St Annes: Nick Burns (captain), Greg Hall, Asher Hart, Zach Reekie, Greg Cameron, Nick Hodgson, Ali Craig (wicketkeeper), Sam Hall, Jamie O’Brien, Jonathon Osborne, Adrian Robson.