DAWDON face another daunting task in their tough start to the season continues on Saturday when they visit champions Boldon CA.
The fixture computer could not have dealt the Green Drive outfit a more difficult set of opening games, having suffered an opening-day defeat to last year’s runners-up, Bill Quay.
Dawdon will be hoping that the one-sided defeat, when they fielded well enough but then collapsed in a heap with the bat, was just one of those days. There will be a debutant in the side as Craig Stephenson has been signed from South Hetton, the wicketkeeper returning to the club where he began his playing career.
Boldon CA were as emphatic in victory as Dawdon were in defeat, and they were delighted by the contribution of their new boy, all-rounder Carl Watson, who had an outstanding debut after switching from Eppleton in the close season.
With David Tate missing last week, Watson, primarily an opening bowler and accomplished middle order batsman, stepped into the opener’s shoes and did a great job. Boldon’s “rock” returns on Saturday and will resume his place at the top of the order where he is so vital to the stability of the team, allowing their array of stroke-makers to play freely.
Silksworth got off to a great start with a win at Seaham Harbour, despite missing quite a few members of their usual starting line-up, mostly because of football commitments. Four return this week, with skipper Steve Wright, Phil Middlemiss, keeper Michael Nicholson and Eddie Wood primed for seasonal debuts at home to Hylton.
Their north-of-the-river visitors enjoyed some glorious batting conditions last week, although they did not have enough fire power to force a victory from a position of strength. Hylton make just the one change with Ben Taylor replacing the unavailable Graham Shovlin.
Peterlee were given a significant boost by their first league success since 2009 on the opening day, but one of the stars of that victory will miss Saturday’s home clash with Ryhope.
Min Mahill made a great return to the club, top-scoring with 49 and also bowling well without any luck, but he is away for the next fortnight so wicketkeeper/batsman Connor Dickinson takes his place.
Seaham Harbour have taken action following last week’s disappointing display and Michael Rich and Michael Agar, who both did well for the seconds, are promoted for the fixture at Bill Quay, who miss a wedding-bound Joe Dodd. Matty Dench comes straight in on his return to action.
Seaham Park miss Asim Akhtar against Easington, but have yet to name a replacement, while their opponents must get by without John Sample and Peter Booth, with Andrew Pike and Paul McGhee stepping up.
Murton are back to full strength at unchanged Washington, with all-rounder Graeme Robson back from holiday.