WITH the cricket season suspended until further notice due to the spread of coronavirus, players throughout the North-East are itching to get their whites back on.

The Tyne Valley’s senior teams were looking forward to pushing on and challenging in their respective divisions within the Northumberland and Tyneside Cricket League (NTCL) before the call, unsurprisingly, came from the England and Wales Cricket Board that planned fixtures would not be going ahead in the foreseeable future.

With the season set to start this weekend, teams will be thinking what could have been as the NTCL has prepared a number of options for a delayed start.

If possible, fixtures could start mid-season in July, or, worst case scenario, the season would be cancelled with the possibility of arranging competitive games in August or September.

Tynedale and Stocksfield remain in the highest division of the NTCL, with the former looking to improve on last season’s impressive third placed finish.

In teenager Matthew Scott, the first XI possessed one of the hottest properties in local cricket as he enjoyed a trophy-laden breakthrough season.

Bowling an impressive 31 maiden overs for the first team, he was named bowler of the year by the Northumberland Cricket Board Officials Association and was crowned best player for the Northumberland U17 team.

Topping that, though, he was also presented with the prestigious North East Emerging Cricketer of the Year Award at a ceremony held at the annual Durham Youth Trust dinner held at Emirates Riverside.

It capped a remarkable season for him as he won the young player, first XI captain’s and most improved player in senior cricket awards for his club.

The talented teen was set to be joined in attack by young Aussie spinner Deon Billington as the Priors Flat outfit’s new overseas player.

The teenage right arm-off spinner has represented Western Australian at U15, U17 and U19 levels and there was a great deal of excitement about his arrival in Hexham, but he may not make any appearances as it stands.

Largely keeping their squad as it has been for the past seasons, Stocksfield were again hopeful of a competitive campaign in Division One.

Under the leadership of captain Steven Henderson, they proved they are a match for most in the division, and are expected to show the high levels of team spirit enviable among many teams in the league.

There will be plenty of local interest in Division Three as Corbridge will be joined by Tyne Valley rivals Stocksfield II and Allendale.

In a competitive league, Stocksfield’s second string were crowned champions of Division Four last year and their title party was started in style as they defeated Whickham II by 117 runs on the final day.

Allendale were the much-fancied team before the season started but finished third in the table, their promotion to Division Three secured as they thumped Whitley Bay in a play off game.

They had strengthened ahead of the 2020 campaign by welcoming back Ben Lloyd and adding the talents of Michael Watts and Marcus Sewell to the squad, while an overseas player was set to bolster the playing side even further.

Having finished runners-up in Division Five (South), Tynedale II were looking forward to life in the tougher Division Four.

In Division Six (South), Corbridge II and Stocksfield III were gearing up for their seasons too.

The West Tyne Cricket League was set to be a strong one this year with 22 teams over the two divisions.

The 12-team Division One consisted of Belsay, Benwell Hill, Haltwhistle, Haydon Bridge, Hexham Leazes, Humshaugh, Matfen Hall, Mitford, Newton, South Northumberland, Stamfordham and Wylam. Allendale, Clara Vale, Haltwhistle, Hexham Leazes, Humshaugh, Medomsley, Mitford II and III, Stocksfield and Wark will contest Division Two.