HETTON Lyons hope for more inspiration from Ryan Pringle as they prepare for two Dukes North East Premier League Premier Division matches in two days against the new league leaders.
Stockton may be the current hot property in team terms after starting the season in dramatic style with three wins out of three, a run that included victories over both Chester-le-Street and South North.
But Lyons have the individual man of the moment in Pringle, so their double header takes on an intriguing twist.
Pringle’s staggering solo performance against Gateshead Fell last Saturday will simply go down in the league’s history books as the best ever, and it is hard to see how it will ever be improved upon.
A nine-wicket haul is an extremely rare feat by itself, but to couple it with a maiden century is almost comic book hero stuff.
Perhaps more important was that the win was much needed by Lyons as it was their first of the season and lifted them well clear of the dreaded bottom spot which carries with it a very real relegation threat this season. Having been selected again, Pringle will line up against the surprise package Teessiders, who expect to be at full strength.
The league game precedes the rearranged ECB National Club Championship match against the same opponents on Sunday, the first attempt to play last week falling foul of the weather. Skipper Shaun Birbeck still has work commitments, so Josh Coughlin comes into Hetton’s team.
Chester-le-Street continue to play their home games away from Ropery Lane, and they are back at Maiden Castle this week for the visit of Sunderland.
Indifferent league form was forgotten by the Cestrians last Sunday when they returned to their former powerful ways in hammering Harrogate in the national cup, and that confidence booster should stand their full-strength side in good stead.
Sunderland once again hope to have Durham bowler Mitch Claydon’s services, but they have suffered a frustrating hold up to their plans to bring in Zimbabwean first-class man Brian Chari as their overseas player, red tape holding up his arrival which will possibly not now be until June.
Durham Academy managed to solve the keeper crisis caused by Cole Pearce’s back injury. They brought in 14-year-old Eddie Hurst, South Shields’ second team keeper, and it is believed he became the youngest player to represent the Academy in the Premier League when he made his debut last week.
Despite his tender years, Hurst did well and he will deputise while Pearce recovers over the next few weeks.
With Gavin Main still out with a side strain, the Academy are pleased that James Weighell is back on the recovery trail, although he may not bowl on Saturday when the team go to South North. Home skipper John Graham returns to the side, replacing Andrew Doig.
Gateshead Fell try to recover from Pringle’s double destruction when they entertain South Shields, and they have Steve Devenport and David Daley replacing David Hill and Tom Harvey.
Alex Smith is in the Newcastle team away to Tynemouth, while Chris Varley is back for Blaydon at Benwell Hill.