BOLDON have swooped to snap up exciting all-rounder Karl Bellerby to bolster their bid to retain the championship.
The move for the Boldon CA star can only help the Sunderland Road club, who were knocked off the top of the table following last weekend’s shock defeat at Horden.
Bellerby has been one of the leading performers in the Coast League for several years, and he finished second in the league bowling averages last season with 65 wickets at 11.68 apiece.
Also no mug with the bat, Bellerby will undoubtedly be a useful addition to the Boldon squad, providing a precious boost ahead of his debut at title rivals Eppleton this Saturday.
The hosts have seen one player exit this week, with Adam McGuire returning to former club Philadelphia. But, with Graham Hoban back in harness, they will be keen to consolidate on the progress that has seen them climb the table into second spot.
Down at the other end, Felling have announced the signing of a new overseas professional.
Pakistani Rizwan Haider is a left-arm opening bowler who has played 23 first-class matches during which he has picked up 68 wickets – the 26-year-old also boasts a batting average of 34 and has recently been part of the Pakistan A squad. Haider is said by the club to bowl at 90mph.
With Chris Taylor back from his army duties this week, and Phil Taylor recovered from his finger fracture, Felling will present stiff opposition for a Whitburn team who will be playing without skipper Dave Bell for the first time since 2004.
Bell has strained a thigh muscle and so loses his amazing record of never having missed a first-team league game in seven years. Paul Cook will captain the Villagers in his absence, while Ian Elliott returns.
After last week’s hammering, Castle Eden are now locked with Felling on 89 points, just above the relegation slot. And they, too, will have a new face on show, with Pakistani opening bowler Hubb Hussoun joining them having previously played in the Manchester region.
He goes straight into the side to meet Horden on Saturday, the visitors welcoming back Afzal Chougle following his recovery from a broken finger.
Burnmoor will be missing Gary Brown and Mark Robson this weekend, so the return of Michael Callaghan, and the inclusion of Barry Dews, who may have to play with the aid of painkillers, is timely.
South Hetton are the visitors to Chester Road this weekend, and they stick with the same line-up who went down at Eppleton last week.
Durham City promote Tom O’Neill and James Allan for their vital home game against Philadelphia.
City have shown positive signs in recent weeks, but they still haven’t been able to break their duck in victory terms and, as a consequence, are 11 points adrift at the foot of the table. Phili are missing Andrew Robinson and Chris Noble, so the return of Adam McGuire is welcome.
In Saturday’s final match, leaders Kimblesworth go to Norton but, highly unusually, they are three players short. Stephen Meek, Johnny Green and Adam Morton are all away and it is likely that Michael Fishwick, Nigel Darling and Mark Messer will step in.