Durham Cricket League: Philadelphia finally ready to unleash Pakistani professional at home to Bill Quay
Philadelphia are set to hand professional Rameez Shahzad his debut this weekend when they host Bill Quay in the First Division at Bunker Hill.
Shahzad plays for the United Arab Emirates, who had to agree that he can play in England this summer.
Shahzad has previously played for Sunderland and South Shields in the Premier League, where he was a huge success with both bat and ball.
Captain Shaun Smith said: “Following a disappointing start to the season with a defeat, followed by a draw, Phili are hoping Shahzad will be a big influence.
“We were hoping he could play in the midweek cup game, but hopefully he will hit the ground running against Bill Quay.”
Whiteleas and Harton make the short journey to Jack Clark Park tomorrow, to face neighbours Marsden.
Skipper Andrew Jones said: “Following a disappointing start to the season for Leas, we are hoping the added incentive of a local derby, will help kickstart the season.”
“There’s definitely more to come from the players in the coming weeks and I’m really disappointed with how we didn’t capitalise on a sold batting start last week and to be honest, we bowled nowhere near our capability.
“However, I’m fully confident we can turn it around and it’s an ideal setting to put in a good performance on Saturday.”
As for team news, Leas are buoyed by the news that overseas player Biliwal Iqbal will be available from now on in, having arrived in the country last Wednesday.
The Pakistani pace bowler has completed commitments in his homeland and will add firepower to the bowling attack, as well as strength to the middle order.
Batsmen Ray McRae and Scott Oliver return to the starting line-up, having missed last week, but Chris Nichol is missing through work commitments.
Esh Winning fixture secretary Kevin Carmedy said: “We have an unchanged team this week against Tudhoe. It is always a competitive game between them and ourselves, and we always have good games against them, so we are looking forward to it.”
Crook Town travel to Horden and captain Andrew Pratt said: “Our overseas professional Daniel Doran arrives tomorrow, but other than that, our side will be unchanged.
“We are looking forward to seeing the professional play for the first time, and hopefully he will improve our side.”
Leaders Easington are at Seaham Park and secretary Peter Booth said: “We will be at full strength, with Jordan Wilson returning to the side.
“The new Sri Lankan professional, Duvindu Tilakaratne, is settling in well and is a good lad.
“It’s never easy against Seaham and a few players have played for both sides, so there will be a bit of needle in the game for sure!”
Durham City have made a poor start to their campaign, losing both their matches and currently sit bottom of the league. They travel to Mainsforth, who have drawn one and lost one, from their first two games.
Boldon CA are looking to continue their winning start to their Division Two season this weekend with a victory over Silksworth.
CA chairman David Thompson said: “We have made a promising start to the season and are really looking forward to the ‘derby clash’.
“In the past we have had many relegation battles with them.
“However, this is at the top end of the league this time and it should attract a big crowd at the Miners Welfare Ground.”
Early leaders Evenwood entertain Murton and secretary Luke Bannister said: “We have made a very good start and to be fair, we have earned the two victories.
“We are still struggling a bit with availability and injuries, etc, so a couple of the younger players have come in and done well.
“We will take it one game at a time, but we are keen to get promoted.”
Ushaw Moor, in second place, welcome bottom club Peterlee, but visiting chairman Michael Garraghan said: “We remain positive and we are short of runs at present, so hopefully that will change at Ushaw Moor, who have started well.
“We will be stronger as Andrew Laidler is back and we aim to get up the league and start competing again.”
Newcomers Hunwick entertain Ryhope and captain Chris Pratt said: “I only have about eight or nine players definately available for this weekend, so I am still waiting to confirm the full squad.
“We’re hoping to get our full strength team out to try and compete with other teams around us, as we know it’s going to be a difficult season against good teams.”
Littletown are at Dawdon and will be without captain Dan Pearson and Gregg Arundel.
Bryan Conlon will take over the captaincy for this week, while Chris Gowland and Nathan Birch will also step into the team.
Pearson said: “We hope to continue with our good start to the season.”
Langley Park are at home to Hylton and both teams are without a win, from their two opening fixtures, so something will have to give in this match.
Langley have earned just 14 points and the visitors have 10 points, having both played two, lost two.