RYHOPE have put the accent firmly on youth in recent years and, after last weekend’s tremendous 3D Sports Durham Coast League performance when they trounced double champions Boldon CA, they feel they are on the right track.
Club stalwart Malcolm Dawson was full of praise for the club’s young side, telling the Echo: “Many clubs have recruited heavily this winter.
“But we have preferred to develop our youngsters and give them more and more first-team opportunities over recent seasons.
“Given our performance on Saturday, this looks like it is beginning to bear fruit.”
Ryhope’s star of the show with the bat was 17-year-old Connor Pearson, who amassed 101 from only 118 balls. Dawson enthused: “It was young Connor’s maiden century in senior cricket, and what a game to do it in!
“He batted with maturity and his batting and keeping are both showing real improvement.
“Ultimately, we want to be competitive in every game and then see where that can get us to in the league this time around.”
The new-found confidence of a side that won just three times in 2011 will be tested again this Saturday when they travel to take on another of last year’s leading teams, Seaham Harbour.
Ryhope have the boost of being able to include Dave Gilbert, with brother Lee also set to return in future weeks.
Harbour were disappointed with last week’s showing when they felt Washington batted them out of the match rather than take a more positive approach, the result being that the game ended in a grinding stalemate. They show faith to the same 11 to tackle exuberant Ryhope.
Murton and Seaham Park are the very early pace-setters, the former the only team left with an unblemished record.
Murton are at full strength with the return of Ian King for the derby visit of Easington, who have Matt Scott and Michael Robson back in contention for places.
It’s the first town derby of the “summer” with Seaham Park taking on Dawdon, and both teams are in positive mood after decent starts.
Park’s great strength is their ability to bowl teams out and, with Farukh Iqbal set to make his debut, that potency looks set to increase. Dawdon name an unchanged 11 after their crushing 10-wicket win against Peterlee last weekend.
Boldon CA were shaken but not stirred by the Ryhope result, and they bring a new signing, all-rounder Brian Conlon, straight into the starting line-up for the home game against Washington.
With key bowler Ian Male also back, CA will look to put “a bad day at the office” firmly behind them against a side who have become unwitting draw specialists with 17 of their last 24 matches ending that way.
Silksworth were relieved to get off the mark in points terms last week and are now looking to kick on a level when they entertain Bill Quay on Saturday.
For the first time in skipper Paul Smailes’ memory, they have a full squad of 13 to select from, with Darren Stoker back and Steve Wright possibly featuring just seven days after announcing his 50-over retirement.
Quay are able to include Dan Pearson and Paul Bentham after they missed last week.
The final game of the day sees bottom club Peterlee take on an unchanged Hylton side still missing Kit Allan senior.