SKIPPER Andy Crawford opened the batting for Humshaugh as the West Tyne League Division One Champions played their first competitive match without newly-retired batsman Allan Murray.

And he delivered a performance befitting of the veteran, who announced last week that he was hanging up his bat at the age of 62.

Crawford’s 53 set the defending champions on their way to a comfortable home win over Belsay, with Jack Garrett scoring a tidy 65 not out, after coming in at number five.

After racking up a total of 217-8, Humshaugh’s bowlers made light work of Belsay, who were all out for just 42.

There was a five-wicket haul for Matthew Williamson (5-18), while Will Forster (3-18), and Adam Murphy (2-2) also impressed.

The sun-drenched opening day of the West Tyne season saw some eye-catching performances in scorching conditions.

Haydon Bridge’s Joe Barber helped his side to an opening day win over Haltwhistle. The opener scored 70 as the visitors reached 154-6.

Bridge bowler Tom Waugh took 4-13 as Haltwhistle were all out for 94. Dan Kirkup was the hosts’ top scorer with 25 runs, while 15-year-old bowler Archie Richardson (2-21) took two wickets.

Despite four-wicket hauls for both Ian Donkin (12-4) and Alam Taufiq (16-4), newly promoted Stamfordham lost by 11 runs at home to Benwell Hill III.

Stamfordham, who were missing some key players, including skipper Richie Gledson, bowled out their opponents for 129, but couldn’t get going themselves with the bat, reaching just 118 all out. Mike Smith was the hosts’ top scorer with 29 runs.

Wylam lost a close encounter at home to South Northumberland. The visitors set a target of 157 (all out) as Wylam bowler Paul Robinson took 4-20.

But the hosts fell short in reply. They were all out for 151 with opener Mark Wilson scoring 36 runs.

Hexham Leazes were winners by five wickets at home to Mitford. They bowled the visitors out for 120 with Mark Armstrong taking 3-25.

An impressive 68 not out from Ross Davies, and 38 from Armstrong, helped Leazes reach a winning total of 124-5.

There was a good all-round performance from Mitford’s Jake Edwards, who scored 34 not out, and took 2-23. Craig Mole took 2-20.

Visitors Newton defeated Matfen Hall by four wickets, Matt Scattergood scored 46 as Newton reached a total of 140-6. Matfen were all out for 137, despite a solid 34 runs from top scorer Ben Brown.

There were good bowling performances from Newton’s A Prabachika (3-20) and Jim Balkwill (3-22), and Matfen’s Aaron Tiffin (2-13).