BURNMOOR are looking forward to the chance to lock horns with the Warmseal Durham Senior league leaders on Saturday when they entertain Felling.
As with most other teams, there is a real feeling of frustration at Burnmoor after the rain-ruined start to the 2012 season, so Saturday’s home game provides the chance to make up ground after the Gateshead outfit moved into an early 16-point lead at the top with a brilliant performance at Whitburn last week.
Burnmoor are unchanged from the full-strength team which didn’t play last week, but Felling, top for the first time in six years, have several enforced changes, with skipper Chris Taylor working in Germany, Mike Malthouse also sidelined by work commitments and Lee Hargreaves unavailable.
They hand an opportunity to 15-year-old all-rounder Jack Tilley, and draft in Simon Ward and Mark Douglas.
Only one team still boast a 100 per cent record, Castle Eden. With an uneven number of clubs this year, they have played just twice so far and their game in hand means their third-place standing could provide the springboard to even better things.
However, the expected arrival of Indian Ryan D’Souza has hit a paperwork snag, and he is unlikely to join, so the club are now actively trying to source a replacement and hope to make an announcement shortly.
They will therefore stick with the same successful line-up for the trip to Horden, the other surprise package in the truncated start to the season.
Horden are second, five points above Castle Eden, following two victories and a washout.
With Graham Smith unavailable this week, Brian Brolly earns a recall – probably a wise decision as who wouldn’t want a Brolly in their team with the weather the way it is!
With the current top four playing each other, the opportunity is there for others to make positive strides up the table, but, for fifth-placed Eppleton, nothing will come easy as they face a trip to champions Kimblesworth.
With the on-off Aamer Sohail saga now apparently off again, Eppleton will travel with an unchanged side.
Don’t be fooled by a table which shows last year’s top dogs propping up the rest after two defeats – Kimblesworth gave a pretty impressive display of their talents in Monday’s Armbrister tie when they smashed more than 200 against Philadelphia, and they are itching to put their shock league start firmly behind them.
But they have lost one player, with young Liam Dixon moving to Gateshead Fell, a decision that has prompted his father, Kevin, to postpone his planned playing retirement.
After last week’s first victory, Marsden enjoy home comforts once more when they entertain unchanged Boldon. Taking the opponents into consideration, they have decided to strengthen their batting by selecting Mark Symington to replace bowler Paul Snaith.
In the day’s other games, Philadelphia will have to cope without skipper Shaun Smith when they take on a same-again South Hetton, and Whitburn stick with the side who slipped up last week for their trip to Norton.