Peterlee’s rise to prominence has been the story of the season so far in Division Two.
Last year’s mid-table finish was the club’s best performance for many years, their last few years in the now defunct Durham Coast League having proved a real struggle, but 10 victories in the 2015 campaign represented real progress, and with three wins in three outings this time around they have risen to the very top of the table.
Whilst their opening victories over Langley Park and Houghton were more or less expected, it was the win at Evenwood last week that made people sit up and take note, and it perfectly showcased the skills of Aaron Shellie, who is back for his second season, the Aussie blasting an unbeaten 144 in a virtuoso performance.
But now comes the biggest challenge to date – a home game against a Marsden team who have promotion ambitions of their own and who will hand a debut to new signing John Leslie, a proven performer.
Leslie was Dawdon’s leading bowler in the First Division last summer, taking 47 league wickets for the Green Drive club, so he will add real firepower to the Marsden challenge. And with Paul Hobson and Stu Zatorski also back in harness the side will be at full strength as they attempt to recover from last week’s setback against neighbours Whiteleas.
Peterlee, 14 points ahead of Saturday’s opponents, have skipper Paul Griffith returning, while Joe Spalding also features while home from the Forces for a few weeks, and Andrew Bates makes his first appearance of the season after completing his university commitments.
Whiteleas, second after the Marsden win, go straight into another local derby when they visit Boldon CA.
With Owen Peterson missing due to a family engagement, Steve Martin will skipper against his former club, and he has Rob Scorer and Scott Oliver returning to the fold.
CA, delighted with their success at Silksworth last week, are able to include James Patterson and Karl Birkett.
Ryhope, currently on the fringe of the promotion race, make two enforced changes for their home game with Evenwood, Dan Glasper and Dan Douglas drafted in to replace Connor Cheal (Test match) and Graham Pickering (work).
The club is delighted with the contribution made by Sagar Udeshi, the left arm spinner from Mumbai who has been in the wickets.
Houghton face a tricky trip to Langley Park, while Murton host Silksworth and Littletown head west to take on Ushaw Moor.