Boldon CA act to sort out ground problems

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BOLDON CA are playing well this season – when they can get on the pitch!

Monday’s bank holiday victory at Easington was a personal triumph for Indian pro Shashank Singh, who followed up a brilliant spell of bowling, in which he claimed five wickets for just seven runs, with an unbeaten half-century.

But the poor lad looks set to be twiddling his thumbs again this weekend instead of wrapping them around a cricket ball as the ground problems that have beset the club this season have returned with a vengeance following the persistent rainfall of the last week.

Despite being unbeaten in the Readers Durham Cricket League, five of their seven games have gone down as draws, and their home game on Saturday against high-flying Esh Winning looks likely to be another casualty.

Boldon CA spokesman Steve Symes explained: “We have only been able to fulfil one home fixture this year, and that is not just the first team but actually all four teams.

“We thought we were over the worst of the problems when the weather picked up a fortnight ago, but now the heavy rainfall of last weekend and during this week has put us right back to square one.

“The ground is situated on an old colliery site and suffered from subsidence and now is absolutely saturated due to back flooding because of a blocked drainage dyke.

“Matters have been protracted as there are so many separate entities involved in sorting out the problem. We share the grounds with Jarrow Roofing FC and Boldon CA FC, who have also had some drainage problems. “The ground was formerly owned by British Coal, South Tyneside Council are involved and we’ve also consulted Northumbrian Water, looked at mediaeval maps for drains – you name it, we’ve tried it!

“As a long-term solution, we hope to be able to run a drain from the score box into a storm drain which should remedy the whole problem.

“We have contractors in place to carry out this procedure as soon as we get the nod and the work should only take around a week.

“All parties have agreed that the ground is just simply an awful mess and that it needs addressing immediately. It has been extremely disappointing, not only for us but visiting sides as well.”

Because of the unique situation with the ground, the club have approached the league executive seeking a postponement of Saturday’s game so it can be played later in the season, and an answer is still awaited on that request.

Philadelphia’s problems have been on the pitch rather than off it.

For a side tipped to be in with a shout of promotion. one win in seven games represents a poor return and also leaves them not too far above the relegation zone.

On paper, Monday’s draw at Burnmoor looked a positive result, but it was a clear case of what might, or should, have been.

The Moor were made to struggle by the superb bowling of Stephen Robinson, who included no fewer than nine maidens in his 12-over stint, and in claiming three top-order wickets he conceded just nine runs, six of those coming in one hit.

From there, the leaders scrambled up to 158-8, but were then staring down the barrel again when the Phili openers rushed to 87 without loss, only for ambition to evaporate when the odd wicket began to fall, the run chase grinding to an almost inexplicable halt with only 39 runs scored from the last 25 overs to leave them on a safe but disappointing 126-6.

Apart from Robinson’s continued success with the ball, the other main positive was the debut of Stephen Wright, who joined the club from Silksworth recently.

This pairing could cause major problems for Evenwood, who are the visitors to Bunker Hill on Saturday. Evenwood have had some disastrous days with the bat so far, although picked up a bit on Monday when West Indian Tade Carmichael at long last struck some form with 80.

Leaders Burnmoor go to bottom club Hylton, and while they will be missing Stephen Meek again they do have the return of Ian Conn and Will Philips to look forward to, along with proud new father Alec Linsley, who had to miss the last match at short notice to begin life as a parent.

Hylton are boosted by the return to action of Gav Barnes, James Waller, Gary Braithwaite and John Stokoe.

The big game of the day is at Horden, where Dawdon are the visitors. The home team are back to full strength as the Gilbert brothers are safely back in the country after their stag weekend, while Castle Eden hope to continue their improved from in a home game against struggling Easington.

In Division Two, table-toppers Durham City should have too much in the tank for hosts Shildon Railway.

With second-placed Ryhope taking their turn on the sidelines, the chance is there for Whiteleas to make progress up the table when they host Langley Park, although they have to reckon without skipper Ray McRae, Kris McShane, Sam Embleton and Chris Nichol, who have all opted for a weekend in London watching the Froch-Groves boxing match.

Meanwhile, Murton have Richard Lowes and Keith Chapman back, and Graeme Robson makes his seasonal debut in the home game against a Silksworth side who are another team missing a player because of the Wembley boxing, Michael Nicholson’s flight to the fight seeing Malcolm Nichol step into the Silksworth side in his place.