3D Sports Durham Coast League preview

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SILKSWORTH hope to give a repeat performance of the opening day of the season to kick-start the second half of the campaign.

Opening bat Paul Smailes sees Saturday’s home game against second-placed Seaham Harbour as the ideal opportunity for his team to get back on track.

He said: “We beat Harbour on the opening day and hope to repeat the feat this weekend by completing the double and regaining ground on the teams above us.

“After a good start to the season, last weekend was very disappointing.

“Before the double fixture, we were looking up the table, only 20 or so points off top, now we find ourselves fourth from bottom!

“It’s been a strange season where all teams in the league are so close with a lot of draws. After a disappointing day on Saturday against Seaham Park, we’d hoped to correct things on Sunday at Ryhope, but heavy downpours put to bed any chance of a result with only 55 overs possible.’

Silksworth have a strong team in the field this week, with Michael Nicholson back from holiday, which has the added benefit for Smailes of relieving him of keeping duties.

Leg spinner Andrew Pettey also comes into the side after impressing in the seconds. Harbour, meanwhile, hope that Shaun McKenna will return from injury. Adam Fairley reclaims his place, with Peter Hambleton and Michael Agar missing.

The big game of the day is at Seaham Park, where leaders Hylton are the visitors, determined to enhance their championship credentials.

In his very own words, “inspirational skipper” Mike McNicholas is unavailable for Park this week because of a family wedding, so Dave Hanson takes over the captaincy reins in his absence.

Veteran ex-pro Alan Dick will also play, and Andrew Worthy has answered an SOS and will play only his second game of the season as Park push for honours.

It’s a case of two in and one out at defending champions Boldon CA ahead of their home match against Ryhope.

The departure of kingpin Karl Bellerby to play for Senior League neighbours Boldon is a massive blow, given his pedigree, but as one door closes another opens and in come Andy McCord and Ian Male.

McCord has made the journey in the opposite direction to Bellerby, signing from Boldon, while Male has joined from Hetton Lyons and will certainly be able to add experience to the CA attack after impressing with the ball for Lyons last year.

Peter Booth has come out of retirement again – he played in both matches for Easington over the double weekend – and will probably have to play a few more as stand-in for Jason Jones, who broke his hand last Friday. He sees a surgeon soon, but the prospects do not look good for the rest of his season.

Easington are at Washington on Saturday, when the home side will be missing Phil Hooper.

In the day’s other games, the two bottom sides clash at Peterlee, where unchanged Murton are the visitors, while same-again Bill Quay look to boost their title hopes at home to another unchanged team, Dawdon.