AMBITIOUS Littletown have been dealt a major blow for their Second Division campaign with the news that Pakistani Rizwan Ullah will not be their first overseas pro following visa issues in his home country.
Undeterred, they are now pursuing a promising option which may see an Indian all-rounder with IPL experience arrive within the next fortnight.
In the meantime, they head into the weekend without the unavailable Luke Hutchinson, who misses both Saturday’s home game against Silksworth and bank holiday Monday’s trip to Houghton.
They delay naming his replacement.
Silksworth have to reckon without the services of skipper Micky Waterson on Saturday, although he returns for the home derby against Ryhope on Monday when Mark Foster is also expected to make his seasonal bow.
Ryhope show one change for their home opener against Ushaw Moor, with Andrew Scollen in for Chris Errington.
Whiteleas were one of only two winners in either division last week and their double header begins with a home game against Langley Park and is followed by a trip to the other opening day victors, Seaham Park.
Leas will be expected to get the better of a Langley Park side who finished bottom last year,
Seaham Park are likely to provide a much sterner test following the winter additions to their side.
The Park finished a place behind Leas last term and have made no secret of their desire to secure Division One cricket next season, with several new signings.
Leas skipper Ray McRae has to do without opening batsman Lee Gilbert for Saturday, but the experienced Scott Oliver returns to the fold. Gilbert will play in Monday’s game.
Just seven days into the new season and it’s stag weekend time already!
The Peterlee four of skipper Paul Griffith, Andrew Laidler, James Kemp and Shaun Taylor could not have picked a worse time to pack their bags and head for Magaluf as their club are set to host red-hot title favourites Burnopfield on Saturday.
Fit or not, the quartet return for the bank holiday trip to Ushaw Moor, but, with Darren Bill working this weekend, the five named replacements on Saturday are Harry Garraghan, Darren Almond, Howard Craggs, Jon and Billy Willetts.
Murton are missing Ali Watson, Niall Heron and Matthew Aiken, so Thomas Spinks, Nish Kulasegaram and Jed Jarvis make the trip to Evenwood,
Houghton include new recruit Zac Waite, formerly of Hetton Lyons and Eppleton, alongside the returning Craig Nield when they play at unchanged Marsden.