Durham Cricket League: Bewick gives Seaham Park an all-round boost for Philadelphia clash
Philadelphia, on the back of last week's win over bottom placed Hylton, are forced into making one change to their line up against Seaham Park in Saturday's Division One clash.
Regular wicketkeeper Gary Braithwaite has a broken finger, but fortunately they have Mattie Noble available to take over behind the stumps.
Captain Shaun Smith is in buoyant mood, enthusing, “We are pleased with how we have done so far this season as we approach the halfway stage and it’s good to be in second position.”
Seaham Park have new signing Adam Bewick making his debut having signed from Hylton.
All-rounder Bewick will add some more depth to the team with both bat and ball.
Opening batsman Kit Allen is unavailable, but skipper Dave Hanson returns to the team, with Craig Robertson faling back into the seconds.
Runaway leaders Burnopfield face a stiff task as they travel to third-placed Dawdon. However, they welcome back their leading run scorer Gareth Breese, but Matty Young is unavailable and Stuart Atkinson is doubtful with a sore back.
Dawdon, who suffered a blow in their quest to make up some ground last week with a heavy defeat at Easington, have James Denton and Mark Ewart back, but David Lowther is away.
Esh Winning, on the back of a four-wicket win over Castle Eden last week, are hoping to stay in the title race with a home match against Bill Quay.
Bowler Jordan Grosset returns from holiday, but no other changes are anticipated.
Captain Stuart Hall is expecting another tough match, but one he feels his team should win. “We have a lot of ability in our team and expect to win if we play to our full ability,” Hall commented.
Hylton, in desperate need of a win to claw themselves out of a very difficult position rooted at the bottom of the league with only 29 points, are at home to Crook Town, who are also in need of some vital points to push their team away from the relegation zone.
Castle Eden, who are second bottom, have no injury worries and will be at full strength at home to Durham City.
Horden also in trouble at the wrong end of the division, welcome Easington to Park Road.
They have Lee Jackson and Matty Billyard back from injury, but Jamie Greenwood and Scott Birks are both away.
In Division Two, Whiteleas welcome Ryhope and are just 13 points behind new leaders Murton, but skipper Owen Peterson still refuses to get involved in any talk of promotion, insisting there is still a lot cricket to be played.
Peterson said: “We had another great result last Saturday against a good Peterlee side, but it’s premature to set any promotion expectations.
“The competitiveness of the league is showing that anyone can beat anyone – which is a good thing.
“There’s no easy games and Ryhope will be another tough test and are a good side with very dangerous players.”
With Leas’ main success coming from their bowling attack and Ryhope’s from their batting unit, in particular the prolific Adrian Hedley, an intriguing encounter awaits.
Having missed the last three games, Leas are delighted with the return of all-rounder Nick Quinn, but are missing batsman Nathan Ullah.
With Alex Catcherside away, Peterson hands a debut to Navneet Singh, who has impressed for the Seconds.
Leaders Murton have a difficult away game at fourth placed Evenwood and with only 17 points separating the top five teams, the winners of this match will be handily placed at the end of play.
Evenwood have Owen Peddelty missing, having broken his ankle in a recent cup match and David Wilkinson comes in to replace him.
Ushaw Moor entertain Peterlee in fifth, so there will be a fair bit of movement at the top of the league, after these round of games.
Houghton entertain Littletown needing a boost to push themselves away from the relegation trap door, are set to name an unchanged team, with Chris Ledger and Carl Purvis still away.
Boldon CA travel to Marsden with both teams in need of survival points and are without Stuart Smith, who is unavailable and James Pattison will be out for up to four weeks with his injury.
The bottom two play each other when Silksworth entertain Langley Park.
This is a must-win game for Silksworth who are languishing 40 points behind their rivals.