North back on Trophy trail

Northumberland captain Phil Nicholson expects a tough game against Cheshire at Warrington tomorrow in the second of four MCCA Trophy group games, (writes JEFF BOWRON)

Northumberland captain Phil Nicholson expects a tough game against Cheshire at Warrington tomorrow in the second of four MCCA Trophy group games, (writes JEFF BOWRON)

North, who won the MCCA Trophy last summer - the first trophy in their 111-year history, got this season's campaign off to a flier last weekend.

A 21-run Trophy win over Cumberland at South North saw professionals Bradley Parker and Graeme Bridge make big contributions.

Former Yorkshire batsman Parker hit a top-scoring 82, while Bridge marked his debut with five wickets.

However, former Durham all-rounder Ian Pattison, who hit a quickfire 60, is unavailable for the trip to Warrington and is replaced by Benwell Hill batsman Simon Birtwistle.

Nicholson (pictured right) said: "Pattison batted really well last week but Birtwistle is a class act and will slot in at No 3.

"Cheshire are usually a strong side and they fancy themselves to do well in this competition, so we will have to play to our potential.

"They have former Derbyshire pair Nathan Dumelow and Ben Spendlove in their side as well as former Yorkshire player Ismail Dawood who was at Herefordshire last year.

"Grappenhall is a short and straight ground that takes spin so Graeme Bridge and Steven Gale will have important roles."

Gale is one of four Blaydon players in the side, including Bridge, who was released from Durham last year.

Gale replaced injured strike bowler David Rutherford against Cumberland and was 12th man for last August's MCCA Trophy final at Lord's.

NORTHUMBERLAND: P Nicholson (capt/wk), S Birtwistle (Benwell Hill), G Bridge (pro), S Gale, G Stewart, A Worthy (Blaydon), S Humble (South North), J. Windows (Durham Academy), D Shurben (South Shields), M Symington (Sunderland), B Parker (pro, Gomersall).

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer