Lancashire cut it fine against Durham

LANCASHIRE had to pull out all the stops to beat Durham in their opening Daily Telegraph Northern Counties League match at Heysham.

They lost the foursomes 4-2 and despite storming back by winning the top four singles the issue was in the balance until Reece Cranfield, on his debut, dispatched Andrew McCarrick 3&2 in the final tie to secure a 10-8 victory.

England international Paul Kinnear and John Carroll gave Durham, who finished bottom of the league last year without a point, an encouraging start to the foursomes by succumbing on the home green to Richard Asbitt and James Glenn.

Lancashire halved the next two matches then Joe Brice and Jack Shelley appeared to put them in the ascendancy after eclipsing Jason McGuire & Jamie Birkbeck 4&2 but Durham comfortably won the last two pairings.

Remarkably, all three fixtures finished 10-8, Cheshire overcoming Northumberland at Close House and defending champions Yorkshire battling back from a 4-2 foursomes deficit to beat Cumbria at Eden.

Cheshire appeared to be coasting after going into lunch 5-1 to the good before their hosts swept back to win five successive singles. Ashley Sage and Mike Harrington stopped them in their tracks by clinching the final two ties.

Astonishingly, all six foursomes finished 2&1!

Meanwhile, Cumbria also held the upper hand against Yorkshire, bossing the foursomes 4-2, but they lost their momentum in the singles as the Tykes chalked up eight points.

Lancashire 10 Durham 8

FOURSOMES: Paul Kinnear (Formby) & John Carroll (Huyton & Prescot) lost to Richard Aisbitt (Brancepeth Castle) & James Glenn (Brancepeth Castle) 1h; Ian Kenwright (Haydock Park) & Richie Blundell (Hillside) halved with Stuart Brown (Castle Eden) & Chris Handy (South Moor); Ciaran Doherty (Bury) & Sean Doherty (Bury) halved with John Kennedy (Consett) & Martin McCririck (South Shields); Joe Brice (Manchester) & Jack Shelley (Formby) bt Jason McGuire (Heworth) & Jamie Birkbeck (Bishop Auckland) 4&2; Paul McFerran (Warrington) & James Rooney (West Lancs) lost to Gavin Nesbit (Boldon) & Andrew McCarrick(Boldon) 3&2; Curtis Clarkin (Nelson) & Reece Cranfield (Wigan) lost to Sam Robinson (Tyneside) & James Wilson (Tyneside) 7&6.

SINGLES: Kinnear bt Aisbitt 3&2; Kenwright bt Glenn 1h; Blundell bt Handy 7&6; Carroll bt Nesbit 6&4; C Doherty lost to McCririck 3&2; Brice lost to  Birkbeck 1h; Rooney bt McGuire 5&4; Shelley halved with Brown; Clarkin lost to Kennedy 1h; S Doherty halved with Robinson; McFerran bt Wilson 3&1;Cranfield bt McCarrick 3&1.

Northumberland 8 Cheshire 10

FOURSOMES: Phil Ridden (City of Newcastle) & Andrew Minnikin (Northumberland) lost to Dominic Barnes (Caldy) & Jon Beesley (Mere) 2&1; Matty Lamb (Hexham) & Sean Heads (Hexham) lost to Sam Prince (Northenden) & Chris Chilton (High Legh Park) 2&1; Neil Graham (Newcastle United) & Alex Dixon (City of Newcastle) lost to David Hirst (Wallasey) & Tom Dolan (Heswall) 2&1; Mark Wharton (Newcastle United) & Kris Wylam (Close House) lost to Chris Harrison (Sandiway) & David Peel (Stockport) 2&1; Russell Hayhoe (Ponteland) & Craig Penny (Newbiggin) bt Cameron Massey (Wallasey) & Matt Robinson (Eaton) 2&1; Seaton Wakenshaw (Whitley Bay) & Paul Caldicot (Northumberland) lost to Mike Harrington (Shrigley Hall)  & Ashley Sage (Sandiway) 2&1.

SINGLES: Ridden bt Beesley 3&2; Lamb lost to Prince 6&5; Minnikin lost to Chilton 3&1; Wharton bt Barnes 2h; Wylam lost to Dolan 2&1; Heads bt Massey 2h; Dixon bt Robinson 3&2; Penny bt Hirst 4&3; Caldicot bt Harrison 5&4; Wakenshaw bt Peel 2&1; Graham lost to Sage 2&1; Hayhoe lost Harrington 5&4.




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