CASTLE Eden and Burnmoor are going to be sick of the sight of each other in the next few weeks.
Tomorrow night’s League Cup semi-final clash is followed three days later by a re-arranged Armbrister Trophy semi, and then a Warmseal Durham Senior league head-to-head in a fortnight.
There’s little doubt this triple whammy will sort the men from the boys as the two of them are arguably the prime contenders for the three major trophies, and both will harbour ambitions of making it a glorious clean sweep.
The trilogy kicks off with the League Cup tie at the Parklands. While the home team are hungry for trophies as they are still in virgin territory in terms of cup success in the Senior League, Burnmoor will also be keen to add to their record of four wins in the competition, the last of which was in 2005.
Castle Eden have a full squad for a testing weekend in which they follow the cup match with Saturday’s trip to their closest league challengers, Felling.
Felling clawed back valuable ground last Sunday when they won while Castle’s moat was overflowing with water, and the lead is now down to 25 points.
That victory was a dramatic one as it came with just one ball to spare, with the winning run coming off a dropped catch.
Burnmoor stick with the winning formula for their hectic weekend, putting out the same team that won at Horden for the home league match against Marsden.
Steven Neilson replaces Richard Cox in the visitors’ line-up for this one.
Boldon will have a new face on show for Saturday’s derby at Whitburn, with Neil Mulvaney joining them earlier this week.
Mulvaney is a proven run-scorer at this level although he hasn’t played competitive cricket so far this season.
He goes straight into the side with Micky Walker still sidelined by a back injury which needs a further week’s rest.
Philadelphia expect to be back to full strength with the return of Mattie Haswell for their game at Horden, while Bill Brownsword, who has been waiting throughout the whole of June to make his debut, should at long last play his first game – weather permitting!
Horden, though, will be missing one familiar face from their dressing room following the news that great club servant Graham Smith has decided to retire after almost 30 years of outstanding service.
Brian Brolly takes his place in the Horden side, which hopefully isn’t a weather omen.
Eppleton are once again unchanged ahead of their home game against a Norton team that includes the returning Arslan Riaz, Lee Dalby and Chris Fawcett.
South Hetton entertain Durham City in a match carrying the extra significance of being a battle to get away from the bottom of the table.
Following last week’s complete Saturday wipe-out, the league executive have confirmed that the first and second team games which should have taken place have now been re-scheduled to be played on Sunday, August 19, which will make it a hectic month should the sun have decided to come out by then.
H The Third Teams Cup reaches the semi-final stage tonight, with Burnmoor hosting Gateshead Fell and Chester-le-Street away to Sunderland.