NE Premier League: Potts back for Academy after stint in Durham’s Championship team

Boldon batsman Paul Leonard defends against Sunderland last week. Picture by Tim Richardson.
Boldon batsman Paul Leonard defends against Sunderland last week. Picture by Tim Richardson.
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Durham Cricket Academy welcome back all-rounder Matthew Potts on Saturday when Felling are the visitors to the Emirates Stadium in the Premier Division.

Potts has made the step up to the Durham first team and will be keen to make his mark again.

Quick bowler Matthew Oswell makes his Academy debut, having improved and given impressive performances for Burnopfield this season.

Freddy Simon returns from injury for Felling at the expense of Peter Binton.

The visitors are on a high after their first win of the season, last weekend against Newcastle.

Hetton Lyons travel to South Shields and captain Jarvis Clay said: “Josh Coughlin is missing and is replaced by Ross Salkeld.

“Other than that, the team is the same as the last fixture which was almost a victory, but became a winning draw.

“South Shields away will be a difficult task this week, but it is hoped the outcome of the season’s first fixture will be repeated!

Eppleton host Newcastle at Church Road and secretary John Smithson is delighted with the season so far, despite last week’s performance at Whitburn.

He said: “We have only lost three games in 11 and we are hard to beat.

“The team is young and learning, but I have every confidence in them. In fact, the whole club is doing well, including the second team and the juniors.”

Chester-le-Street journey to Whitburn and will be at full strength, as Jack Harrison returns to the team.

Skipper John Coxon believes the current champions need to kick-start their season.

“We had a good win last week over South Shields, which hopefully will give the team some momentum going into this game,” he said.

“I am looking forward to the trip to Whitburn. They have always been tough to beat and we are up for the challenge!”

Tynemouth entertain Benwell Hill at Preston Avenue. Visiting skipper Kyle Coetzer said: “Mark Dale and Joseph Anderson are both out, the former through injury. Joe Moore comes in as a like-for-like replacement for Anderson.

“Anthony Hunter missed the last fixture and he replaces Joe Kilpatrick who returns to the seconds. A fighting performance against Durham Academy last week saw the team gain a spirited winning draw, but we were unable to knock over the last two wickets!

“This is the ongoing problem, - not being able to bowl sides out.”

Leaders South North travel to play Stockton and skipper Adam Cragg is without Tom Hodnett, but Johnny Whiteman returns from holiday.

He said: “This will be a tight game, as they play really well at home – they know their back yard. They’re a strong opposition, but we have potentially our strongest team out.”

Adam added: “We’ll go into the game with confidence and if we play near the best of our abilities, we should win the game. Going into the second half of the season we want to keep winning. The players are taking responsibility and are bringing out match-winning performances. Match selection has been tough, which is nice, because everybody is fighting for a place.”

First division leaders Sacriston play at home to Washington, holding a very healthy 40-point lead over Brandon.

Club secretary Iain Bestford said: “Callum Appleby is still out and Graham Hubber will be missing with a broken finger, which he picked up last Saturday and we are awaiting whether Will Gidman will be free, from county duty.

“Washington are improving and it will be another good test, but we won’t underestimate them at all.”

Boldon in third, welcome second-placed Brandon and secretary Peter Crane said: “They are a good side and Gordon Muchall is such a big danger in their team. We had a poor result at last week at Sunderland, but it just shows you that anybody can beat you in this league and it’s very competitive.

“Barry McCarthy hopefully returns from his Durham duty, to bolster the side.”

Burnmoor, in fifth, journey to Blaydon and hope to kick-start their season. However, secretary Ian Linsley said: “We will be without Gareth Harte and Paul Craig is away, so we have a somewhat changed team from last week. We need to push on into the second half of the season and we would love to finish in the top three.”

Bottom club Seaham Harbour are desperate for a win and welcome Willington to New Drive.

Cricket manager Stuart Lacey commented: “There are no changes to last week’s selected team, even though the batting department is running well below par. The bowlers are putting in the performances, but with seven dropped catches in last week’s match alone, the writing was on the wall as to the outcome of the match.

Willington skipper James Stock said: “A couple are missing, Elliot Foster is on holiday so Steven Bradwell moves up from the seconds. Jason Marshall, an in-form opening bat, is the second absentee, also missing through holiday.”

James added: “The team suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Burnopfield last weekend, when they were skittled for just over 100 and the bowlers had nothing much to bowl against. It was one of those days which you hope will be few and far between during the season, when things go temporarily awry.”

Sunderland, on the back of an excellent win last week at Boldon, travel to second bottom Mainsforth, with only one win this season so far.

If the Ashbrooke outfit can gain another win, this could put them into mid-table safety and push them securely away from the bottom end of the table.

Burnopfield, in fourth, host Gateshead Fell and will have the same team that turned out against Willington last week, except Matthew Oswell their opening bowler who will be debuting for Durham Academy.

Darin Williams, who was unavailable last week, is the like-for-like replacement.