Umar on song as Park relish derby showdown

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IT’S derby day on Saturday, with Seaham Park facing neighbours Seaham Harbour in a 3D Durham Coast League game that is crucial to their title ambitions.

Despite making up a couple of points on leaders Murton when the two slugged out a stalemate last weekend, the match left Park skipper Mike McNicholas feeling frustrated.

Park recovered from a disastrous opening to dominate the match, and McNicholas said: “It was a strange one really, but, given we were 30-6 batting first, I suppose we can’t be too disappointed in the final outcome.

“We were indebted to Umar Akhtar. His innings of 78 was one of the best I’ve seen in my nine years as skipper of the Park – it was faultless. He’s in really good form, I think he’s only been out once this season so far, and that was when I ran him out!

“Anyway, after making almost 180, we had Murton in trouble early on, so they dropped anchor with Dave Hanson batting through the 40 or so overs to finish with 20 not out – I think if we’d still been bowling today we wouldn’t have shifted him. Farukh Iqbal’s figures of 12 overs, 10 maidens, 1-2 told their own story.”

Park will have an unchanged side for the visit of their local rivals, the game witnessing a welcome return to the club by Stuart Pattison. Harbour miss Stuart Lacey, with Andy Stephenson called up to replace him.

Leaders Murton were relieved to salvage the draw last week, a result that kept them 10 points clear at the top of the table, and they have a full-strength side in the field when they entertain a Peterlee team that has three of their six missing players returning, with Glen Riddle, Andrew Laidler and Connor Pearson back in harness.

Dawdon travel to Washington, with Scott Cahill and Tabs Shah stepping up to replace the unavailable Craig Stephenson and Jamie Greenwood. They will face a strong home outfit, who hope to include professional Darren Hickey.

Hickey has been missing recently because of a groin strain and he was having an injection today in the hope of being fit.

Washington definitely include his son, Adam, who has been released by Durham Academy for this one. With Lee Rushworth and Nick Thompson also back, the home team look strong.

Chris Pringle returns for Silksworth, who are looking to avenge a recent cup beating when they entertain Boldon CA. The champions already have a mountain to climb if they are to retain their title as they are now 72 points behind the leaders and have yet to register a victory.

Dave Tate and Brian Conlon are back for this one, although there are four absentees, including skipper Lee Jackson.

Hylton have Gavin Barnes back, which puts them at full strength for the visit of a Bill Quay team who have had trouble fielding a settled team. This week’s changes see Berwick Hall hopefully recovered from illness to replace wedding-bound Dan Pearson, while youngster Luke Davidson is handed a chance as part of the club’s rotation policy.

Ryhope will be missing Micky Thorpe so Paul Howe earns promotion for the visit of an Easington team which includes the returning Andrew Price.