BOOSTED by last week’s success at Seaham Harbour, Boldon are in good spirits for the trip to Dukes ECB NEPL First Division top side South Shields on Saturday.
Skipper Chris Ellison was particularly delighted with one young man who came up trumps for him in their second win of the summer: “I decided to open the bowling with our 16-year-old left arm spinner Lawrence Wood, and he went on to bowl a fantastic spell and really stepped up to the plate.
“Our pro, Murtuza Hussain, ended up with four wickets from his eleven overs and Lawrence took four from his fifteen and also ran out another batsman to cap a fine performance.”
The captain is now looking to kick on from the welcome win: “I think it’s fair to say we’ve got off to a moderate start to the season, but I believe we have a good side and that we can build on this win to put pressure on the teams above us.
“We are in a clutch of teams in mid division. A couple of good results would see us leapfrog several of them and that’s what we’ve got to aim for.
“The league looks very tight this year with every team seemingly capable of beating anyone on their day, so if we can add some consistency to our performances we can be up their challenging come September.”
The Shieldsmen are in the middle of four home league games in a row, an unusual quirk of the fixture list that they aren’t too worried about given that the first two resulted in low scoring and nerve shredding victories by the narrowest of margins – two runs over Eppleton, and five runs over Washington - with Shields chairman Jim Elliott pointing out that although the games were played on ‘not the best of wickets’ they did produce some of the most exciting cricket seen at Dean Street for some time.
With home advantage yet again, Shields will be hoping for more of the same, although they do show a few changes for this match with Gordon Muchall coming in as the Durham player in place of Michael Richardson, and both Ollie Stedman and Andrew Elliott missing.
Eddie Hurst returns from a six week stint with Durham Academy, and the club hand an opportunity to 14-year-old off spinner Luke Elliott.
Boldon make just one change with Neil Johnson available again.
He fills the place vacated by Nick Sampson-Barnes who is having a day out at Alton Towers, something that didn’t overly enthuse Chris Ellison, who quipped: “He’ll have to start in the seconds next week.”
Eppleton’s success in league and cups has brought plenty of matches, and with those have come one or two niggling injury problems.
Currently on the treatment table are Dean Musther, who is troubled by ankle ligament damage, and Craig Scurr, who suffered a tightening of the hamstring upon his return to action from that very problem.
Late fitness tests will determine whether they play or not, with a T20 quarter-final at Tynemouth tomorrow night being followed by a home league game against Willington.
Sacriston’s hectic schedule has eased, and this week they just have the home league game against Felling to concern themselves with.
They expect to have everyone available for this one, with Jack Hardy and Mark Fort back from their holidays, and Jonathan Rudolf recovering from a rib injury.
All three go into a full strength squad from which the final eleven will be chosen.
Seaham Habour make two changes for the trip to Washington.
With Jack Lacey and Andy Stephenson working, Stephen Sennett and Andy Boal earn call ups.
Their hosts show just one change with Dan Talbot coming into their side in place of the unavailable Andrew Ebdale.