NE Premier League: Hodgson acquisition boosts Burnmoor's attacking ranks

Burnmoor are seeking to pile on the misery for Sunderland this weekend, and they have a fresh face in their ranks as they try to build on the form which has seen them win two of their last three games in Division One.

South Shields batsmen Matthew Muchall and Jacob Bushnell go for a quick run against Eppleton last weekend
South Shields batsmen Matthew Muchall and Jacob Bushnell go for a quick run against Eppleton last weekend

Those two wins, against Brandon and Washington, were punctuated by a loss to Boldon, but overall the momentum has been positive, and with just 28 points separating the Moor from new leaders Willington, a home game against the struggling Wearsiders provides the opportunity for further upward progress.

The hosts have a few selection headaches even though skipper Alec Linsley will miss this game.

Daniel Unsworth has now recovered from his back injury, and Owen Lancaster also returns, while Ross Hodgson, the former Tudhoe skipper, has just signed for the Moor in the last few days.

Hodgson was Tudhoe skipper last year, scoring almost 600 runs for them while also picking up more than 20 wickets.

He will debut against Sunderland, who are dangerously close to the relegation slot.

Defeats to Felling, Boldon and Sacriston have left the Wearsiders just six points above the danger zone, a surprising position given the strength of their revamped squad.

However, their batting has failed in the opening three games, this highlighted by the fact that skipper Greg Applegarth is the leading run scorer – with just 65 – and he is the only player to have made a half century as the team have only amassed 356 runs, while losing 30 wickets.

In even more of a rut are Seaham Harbour. They are currently bottom after registering just 17 points to date.

They face another tough game when they go to Felling, a team who were picked out as one of the promotion favourites.

Harbour go into the game without Jack Lacey, while Stuart Pattison is also unavailable, so Dylan Bacon receives a call-up after scoring 50 for the seconds last time out.

Martin Stephenson is also penciled in for his seasonal debut after missing the opening games with a wrist injury.

The home team make one enforced change with Joe Carroll in for Danny Clark.

Emboldened Boldon should have a great chance of making it three in three as they entertain a Tudhoe team who are finding life difficult at this moment in time.

The high flying hosts have Tommy Nixon back this week with Stephen Lamb making way, their only doubt being over the availability of Calum MacLeod, who is likely to be on Durham T20 duty in Worcester.

Tudhoe’s problems mirror Sunderland’s – there has been a distinct lack of runs with just 321 scored in their three games to date, which have all ended in defeat.

They have just 18 points, one more than bottom club Harbour.

Sacriston continue their challenge for honours with a home game against a Brandon side exhibiting improved form.

The hosts have to reckon without Craig Burke and await news on the availability of Will Gidman, while the visitors expect to put out the same team who brought an end to Mainsforth’s honeymoon period in the NEPL.