Durham Cricket League: Skipper Smith back from broken fingers as Philadelphia welcome old foes Horden
Philadelphia welcome old rivals Horden to Bunker Hill for Saturday's First Division clash and make two changes.
Chairman Malcolm Pratt said: “We welcome back captain Shaun Smith, who has recovered from broken fingers in both hands, sustained whilst fielding at Seaham Park.
“Willie Orchin also returns, as Phili look to arrest a disappointing start to the season. The pair replace Steven Wright and Gary Embleton, who are both unavailable.”
Pratt added: “Interestingly, when the club last won a championship in 1985 – the Durham Senior League title – they didn’t win a game until late June, but incredibly went on to finish top of the table.”
A repeat is highly unlikely though and the Bunker Hill team’s first priority, is to beat Horden.
Horden hope to field an unchanged team. It is expected that all players will be available forselection.
Secretary Adam Dixon said: “It’ll be a tough game against Philadelphia, as it always is, but we hope to continue to pick up some much needed points.”
Whiteleas are two points adrift of the relegation zone and welcome Seaham Park.
Following last week’s disappointing defeat at Esh Winning, skipper Andrew Potts is still remaining positive.
He said: The bottom half of the table is extremely tight, but there’s still a long way to go.
“If we can perform to our ability, we’re capable of giving anyone a game.
“Seaham Park are littered with very good players and their overseas professional seems prolific with the bat.
“We need to dig deep but as always, the lads are up for the challenge.”
All-rounder Hafiz Aleem returns for Leas, but batsmen Owen Peterson and Grant Parkin are both missing.
Seaham Park miss bowlers John Sample and Davey Gilbert, who are on holiday.
Brothers Shevvy and Umar Akhtar return to the team, after missing last week due to work commitments.
Vice-captain Michael McNicholas said: “This will be another tough game for us and we need to get back to winning ways, after being robbed by the weather over the last two weeks.
“Whiteleas seem to have signed themselves a good professional, so it won’t be easy.”
Second-top Easington know they cannot take their foot off the pedal when they host Durham City.
Easington are 13 points behind leaders Crook, but do have a 46-point lead over third-placed Esh Winning.
However, only one club will go up this season, so the Colliery side need another win to keep in touch.
They will also be hoping for a slip-up from Crook, who have a tough fixture at home to third-placed Esh.
Crook could be without a couple of regular players.
Secretary Alan Stewart said: “We’re top of the league, so we hope to keep on winning and extend our lead.
“This is our nearest thing to a local derby, but it won’t be an easy game.”
Esh make one change to their team.
Jamie Robinson will be on holiday, while Daniel Wilkinson is returning from holiday and will replace him.
Secretary Brian Gott said: “This will be a hard game for us against top-of-the-table Crook. We are riding high in third and would like to think we can carry on our good form and hopefully beat them.”
Tudhoe, in fourth, welcome Marsden with a full strength, unchanged team.
Chairman Stephen Thexton said: “Marsden are only two places below us in the league, so it should be a goodcompetitive game.
“We didn’t play them last year as they were a league below us and gained promotion at the end of the season, so their team will be new to us. We look forward to facing them.”
Bottom club Mainsforth, entertain Bill Quay and make three changes to their team, this weekend.
Darren Hickey, Ryan Dawson and Nathan Wall return, to replace Danny Hooper, Glenn Donaldson and Brad Bihari.
Chairman Tony Johns said: “We hope to get something out of the game, as we’ve had a bad start to the season with numerous injuries.
“We can’t field the side that we’d like to, but hopefully we’ll plod on and eventually start to get some wins to lift us off the bottom of the table and boost our confidence.”
Quay have Liam Brophy and David Hill back in the team, with secretary Chris Little and James Hudson making way for them.
Little said: “We hope to win two games in a row for the first time this season.
“This is a tight league and the secret to success is whether or not you can string together two or more wins. Mainsforth had a rocky start to their season, but so did we.
“After last week’s good win, with Adam Rayner making a fantastic debut, we hope to carry on with another win.”
In Division Two, third-top Ryhope welcome bottom club Murton. Chairman Ian Lawrence said: “We’re back to full strength for our home game against Murton.
“We hope to bounce back after our top of the table clash last week, where we were rolled over for 71.”
Littletown, in fourth, entertain Ushaw Moor, who are second. The hosts miss head of cricket development Gregg Arundel, who is carrying a back injury and will drop down to the seconds.
He will be replaced by the second team’s leading run scorer, Jordan Woodley.
Arundel said: “This will be an interesting game, as Ushaw Moor come here on the back of a few wins.
“Patrick Stephenson faces his old club for the first time and we want him to do well against them.”
Boldon CA, in fifth, travel to Hylton, with chairman David Thompson stating: “We were very pleased with the win against Littletown last weekend, as they have been doing well this season and we are looking to consolidate our position in the league at present.”
Third-bottom Peterlee host Hunwick, 22 points behind their opponents, so they will be looking to make the most of home advantage,.
Hunwick had a ‘winning draw’ at Murton last weekend, while Peterlee were well beaten at Dawdon.
Silksworth, with three wins so far, are at home to on-song Dawdon and captain Andy Barrass said: “We’re definitely missing Greg Davison and Mark Barrass, but Gary McAvoy will be available again.”
Leaders Evenwood, at home to Langley Park, will be missing Daniel Wilkinson, but Andy Rowell returns from injury.
Secretary Luke Bannister said: “We just went top at the weekend, so we need another win to stay there.
“Langley Park are a tricky team – they get results where you don’t think they will and they’re not a bad outfit.”