CUMBRIA County Cricket Club got off to a great start with a decisive win in their first 3-day match of the season against Northumberland.

Northumberland won the toss and, despite a slight green tinge to the wicket, elected to bat.

With a chilly cross-wind blowing right to left, Michael Slack (Carlisle CC) opened the bowling.

With his third ball he created an edge from Sol Bell to the slips which was fumbled and put down. In his third over Slack took matters into his own hands and bowled out Bell, followed by a caught behind in his seventh over.

To add insult to the host’s injury, Slack then caught and bowled opposition captain Stuart Poyntor two overs later.

At 123/3 off 43 overs Northumberland were reasonably well placed. After containing the batsmen for 12 overs Matthew Siddall (Cockermouth CC) then struck twice in the 44th over.

Northumberland were all out for 177 in 63.3 overs, with Siddall taking 6 wickets for 60 runs in 22.3 overs, 4 maidens. Keeper Drew Postlethwaite (Haverigg CC) took 4 first innings catches.

In reply Cumbria struggled initially with hostile bowling from Matthew Oswell at one end and economic bowling from Matthew Scott at the other.

So Cumbria were limited to 15/3 off seven overs. Fortunately, after a relatively quiet season by his standards, No. 5 batter Sam Dutton (Furness CC) was able to carve out 57 before being bowled by spinner Max Williamson.

The Mail: Postlethwaite takes a catch behind off Siddall. Picture: Lesley CairnsPostlethwaite takes a catch behind off Siddall. Picture: Lesley Cairns

Having supported Dutton in a 75-run partnership, Matthew Sempill (Cockermouth CC) then forged a 47-run partnership with Nico Watt (Carlisle CC).

Unfortunately Sempill was an 'lbw' victim to a grubber from Williamson very late on the first day.

Having indulged in an all-you-can-eat meat feast at the recommendation of re-visiting pro Jacques DuToit, the ‘Sausages’ could have gone either way on the second day.

Penrithian Brodie Glendinning (Newcastle CC) established a decent partnership with Watt before his departure brought Postlethwaite to the crease with the visitors on 202-7 off 62.2 overs.

With both Watt and Postlethwaite having become first-time fathers to baby girls in the past few weeks, one can only imagine the levels of fatigue they had to fight to advance the score to 234-8 off 72 overs by the time that Watt was out for 55.

The Mail: Dutton in the runs. Picture: Lesley CairnsDutton in the runs. Picture: Lesley Cairns

New fatherhood must suit Postlethwaite as he batted through to the end of Cumbria’s innings, contributing a valuable 36 to their total of 248 all out in 78.5 overs.

Second innings Northumberland scored 205 all out, with Cumbria taking one more ball to bowl them out than they had taken in the first innings.

Siddall was again the main wicket-taker with equally impressive figures of five wickets for 49 in 20.4 overs, five maidens. Glendinning took three wickets, including the two top scorers. Watt took two top order wickets.

Postlethwaite’s glovework contributed to three of the wickets.

Cumbria openers Ben Davidson (Carlisle CC) and Alex Grainger (Cockermouth CC) survived the potentially tricky half hour or so at the end of the second day.

On the third day Cumbria were in a spookily similar position to that faced by England on the last day of their India Test match.

Cumbria needed 118 in the last day’s play; England needed 119. Many Cumbria supporters were keeping one eye or ear on Edgbaston by phone, radio or TV in the clubhouse. Although Cumbria’s openers perished, Slack and Glendinning were able to see Cumbria home just before lunch.

Slacky got to exactly 50 with the last ball of the match, leaving Glendinning four short of his own half-century.