On-form Horden ready for Tudhoe crunch

Murton Cricket Club. Picture by David Allan
Murton Cricket Club. Picture by David Allan
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THE rain prevented Horden from advancing their promotion ambitions last weekend when their crucial Readers Durham Cricket League Division One game at Esh Winning only lasted a couple of overs.

But they have another opportunity to make a big impression when they entertain table-topping Tudhoe on Saturday.

Horden are the form team of the moment, having won all five of the games they have managed to play in the last couple of months.

This success would be perfectly embellished with a victory over the other side currently on a hot streak. And a win would have the added value of making Horden serious contenders for the championship itself.

Skipper Dane Wilson will have a full-strength squad at his disposal for this one following the return from holiday of Connor Dickinson and Tommy Nicholson, while Tudhoe have been hit by the news that their top batsman, Simon Davies, will now be out for the season following his recent wrist fracture.

Though they have the resources to cope without him, Davies is a big player for the leaders and it remains to be seen whether his absence will undermine Tudhoe’s title push.

Skipper Tim Smalley is the only change to last week’s team – he returns from a 12-mile assault course exercise, possibly to toughen him up for the run-in!

One man on the road to recovery from injury is Burnmoor skipper Alec Linsley who is hopeful of being back in action soon.

Linsley said: “I’m hoping to get the all clear sometime this week to return to action with a cup match on Monday being the target.

“It’s difficult to say whether I’ll be able to keep wicket, so I will just play that by ear, but I’m keen to get back over the line and get back into it.

“We have had a few ups and downs recently, but the targets remain the title and promotion.”

Burnmoor will have to cope without the holidaying Stephen Meek for Saturday’s derby match at Philadelphia, with Gary Brown set to replace him.

Phili have delayed selection as they have had a hectic week of cup cricket, including a match tonight at Burnopfield, and they need to assess resources once that game is out of the way.

Boldon CA still boast the best defeats record – they have lost just one game all season.

But that record has not translated into a promotion challenge as they currently lie seventh, some 79 points behind the leading pair.

The club got a surprise last week when Shashank Singh turned up unannounced for their game at Marsden.

They had thought him tied up by an international universities commitment at Lord’s, but club spokesman Steve Symes said: “They obviously didn’t do very well! He turned up out of the blue but we managed to find a place for him.

“This week we’ve got our strongest ever side out – as well as Shashank, Lee Jackson’s back from Libya and Andy McCord also returns.”

Boldon CA entertain Easington, who have Peter Booth keeping wicket with Andrew Price away.

Dawdon are one place and 27 points ahead of Boldon, and they should consolidate their top-six placing when they travel to Evenwood to take on a side already resigned to relegation.

The hosts are in terrible form, having lost 12 of their 19 games, and they are now 65 points away from safety with their Division Two bags already packed.

Dawdon have star man John Leslie back for this one – he pulled out of last week’s game with a knee injury but has been passed fit again.

Hylton are still missing the injured Gav Barnes and Liam Foster, so they expect to have the same side in the field as last week when they entertain a Crook team minus Steve Chapman who has now returned to Australia.

Both Marsden and Castle Eden go with unchanged line-ups for a game the home team need to win if they are to ease relegation concerns.

In Division Two, Whiteleas suffered more than most at the hands of the weather last week.

Their game at Langley Park offered them limited opportunity to register additional points, while Durham City were blasting their way to a crucial win in the limited time available to them and Bill Quay were picking up bonus points.

Leas now trail second-placed City by 17 points and leaders Bill Quay by 35.

Though they do still have a game in hand on both, they do need a win at Shildon Railway to keep their promotion bid on course.

Stevie Martin returns from his holiday to boost the Leas attack, but Andrew Potts misses out due to his week away in the sun. Scott Oliver will take the gloves in Potts’ absence.

The Quay will be odds on to win their game at rock-bottom Peterlee.

The home team have won just once all season, while the Tynesiders are flying along at the top of the table, losing just once.

The visitors still have to reckon without Micky Orridge, while Davey Newstead is working, so the return of Peter Elwell is timely.

Durham City face a tricky encounter at Ushaw Moor, while Mike McNicholas is back from holiday in time for Seaham Park’s home game against Silksworth.

Murton entertain a Ryhope side who have four players returning, with Scott Lawrence, Joe McQuillan, Connor Pearson and Chris Errington all back in harness.