NE Premier League: Applegarth looks for Sunderland to maintain impressive form against Burnmoor

South Shields bowler Chris Stewart clean bowls Eppleton batsman Abihijai Mansingh last weekend.
South Shields bowler Chris Stewart clean bowls Eppleton batsman Abihijai Mansingh last weekend.
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Sunderland, having won their last two league games, have dragged themselves away from the relegation slot and are now 50 points ahead of bottom-placed Tudhoe.

On Saturday, they entertain Burnmoor at Ashbrooke looking to make it four games unbeaten.

Moor suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Washington last week, probably ending their title ambitions this season in the process.

Greg Applegarth, the Sunderland skipper, is enjoying the surge in form, and he said: “We are a young, competitive side and the results have started to come for us now, showing the potential that we have.”

Blaydon are only 31 points ahead of Tudhoe. The team from Denefield need points badly and host Willington, who still have an outside chance of the title and will be looking for maximum points, to keep the pressure on the top two teams, Felling and Sacriston.

Blaydon’s Jack Chapman said: “They are all big games from now on in to the end of the season.”

The two teams above Brandon have home games against the top two, with Seaham Harbour hosting Felling and Brandon taking on Sacriston.

Felling are 14 points behind leaders Sacriston and will obviously be looking to win, but Harbour have only lost one in their last five league games and have proved harder to beat in recent weeks.

However, Harbour are by no means safe and it looks to be an intriguing game.

Harbour stalwart Stuart Lacey said: “We didn’t play very well at all last week and ,with Jack Lacey out for the rest of the season with his ankle, we really need to play well.”

Brandon are just one point above Harbour and they host the men from Front Street, Sacriston.

The home side have lost the last three league matches, whereas the visitors are unbeaten so far this season and have won four of their last five league games.

Washington host Mainsforth and have won three of their last five league games to claw themselves away from danger, while the visitors sit comfortably in mid-table, 47 points ahead of their hosts.

Tudhoe need to get on a run to avoid relegation and they entertain Boldon, who are fourth.

Tudhoe skipper Danny Thexton said: “We will continue to play aggressive cricket and hope it falls our way.”

After this game, they play four of the teams around them at the bottom, so, if they could get something going, this would give them a chance of survival.

Ian Grainger is out for the rest of the season, though, with his broken hand.