Youthful Burnmoor hoping to topple experienced Felling

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Following last week’s false dawn when the whole programme was washed away, Burnmoor have the perfect opportunity to lay down a marker when they kick start their 2016 campaign with a home match against Felling.

But the Moor have to come to terms with the fact that they will no longer be able to turn to the legendary bowling skills of Ian Conn following his decision to retire.

The 54-year-old has made a career out of making life miserable for batsmen.

With Sri Lankan Irosh Samarasooriya now playing in Nottingham, and Sean Tindale moving to Newcastle for Premier Division cricket, the Moor line-up will have a more youthful feel to it, with Western Australian Liam Purdy set to debut alongside Liam Burgess, Matthew Whaley and Daniel Unsworth.

Felling have gone down the experience route, making their intentions perfectly clear with Mark Turner, Gary Scott and Ian Hunter joining them, along with Bryan Potts, who joins from Sacriston.

Stuart Walker, the only man to top the 1,000 runs marker in the division last year, leads the side with only Jon Nicholls unavailable.

Boldon, led once more by Chris Ellison, face a trip to Willington where their hosts hope to build on a successful 2015 campaign in which they were in the title running for most of the season before finishing third.

Top performer Anand Singh is expected to arrive in the country just before the game, and Durham University student Robert Gibson, who played for South Shields last year, will debut.

Tommy Nixon is Boldon’s only absentee, with Calum MacLeod set to debut alongside Umar Waheed.

The 21-year-old has represented Pakistan Under-23s, and in his relatively short first-class career is already averaging well into the 30s. Darren Hickey makes up a trio of debutants.

Following the departures of Hunter and Potts, along with youngster Reece Carr, Sacriston were delighted that former players Mel Betts, Martin Hubber and Craig Burke opted to return to Front Street.

They’ve also managed to recruit former Durham player Graeme Bridge, the spinner joining them from Blaydon.

Bridge will debut in a full-strength Sacriston team, who entertain Sunderland this weekend, but the Wearsiders will fight fire with fire as they also expect to have everyone available.

Although, there will be a question mark over Usman Arshad’s availability given Durham have a championship game starting on Sunday.

Notwithstanding that, former Eppleton duo Kamran Shah and Zaheer Shahbaz will feature for the first time, with Rammy and Jas Singh making their return also.

In Saturday’s other games, Seaham Harbour travel to Washington with Michael Nunn set to start following his move from Sunderland.

Former Yorkshire player Moin Ashraf starts for Brandon when they entertain a Blaydon team trying to recover from the traumas of relegation and now having to come to terms with the loss of Bridge.

New boys Mainsforth, ‘shoe-horned’ into the league following South Hetton’s resignation, open their programme with a home game against former Durham County League stablemates Tudhoe.