NE Premier League: Scurr back as Eppleton face up to huge challenge at unbeaten Premier Division leaders
Third-bottom Eppleton journey to Premier Division leaders South North on Saturday, knowing the size of the task ahead of them.
Secretary John Smithson said: “Craig Scurr should be back after work commitments last week, but the player he replaces has yet to be decided.
“It’s not much tougher in this league than an away fixture at South North.
“However, the side will travel with confidence, as ever, hoping that all can do the job they’ve been selected for, be competitive throughout the match and hope events go their way.
“You never know what could happen on the day!”
Eppleton have just one win and two winning draws from their 10 league games so far. South North are unbeaten, with six wins, three winning draws and one abandonment.
Second-top Whitburn, leading the chase of South North but 30 points adrift, visit eighth-placed Newcastle.
Whitburn skipper Paul Shields said: “Philip Bell is a doubt for the game and Brydon Carse is still struggling with his injured knee, so Luke Smith and Ben Markham – who both played last week as the two replacements – will retain their places.
“It must be stressed that both gave very competent performances, so they deserve their selections.”
Chester-le-Street have dropped down to fifth ahead of the visit of Benwell Hill to Ropery Lane.
Skipper John Coxon said: “It was very disappointing to lose last weekend to Hetton Lyons, but they deserved their win.
“With the exception of Kyle Davis, with another superb performance, we didn’t really play well enough to win.
“However, we are keen to bounce back and we are looking forward the game.”
Coxon added: “Alex McGrath, Kyle Davis and Andrew Smith are all away this weekend, but that provides exciting opportunities for others.
“Matthew Cranston is likely to come into the side, having scored back-to-back centuries in the seconds last week.”
Benwell Hill fixture secretary Fenwick Marley said: “Everybody is available with the exception of Peter Halliday, the usual wicketkeeper, who is a doubt after picking up a hip injury last week.
“Phil Nicholson will roll back the years and take his place and do the team proud. It’s a big fixture this week, with just three points between the teams, but, if you look at the current league standings, it is very close and many teams are still in with a shout of success.
“Confidence and consistency will be two key elements to keep the barrel rolling.”
Sacriston entertain Hetton Lyons and official Iain Bestford said: “We have one change. Nathan Hall is back from his holiday and Ian Jones drops back into the seconds, after a brief run in the firsts over the last few weeks.
“The team have been performing better of late, but they still can’t find the luck or form to get across the line – as shown against Durham Academy last week when they came up three runs short. The batting still needs to improve its consistency however.”
Lyons, and captain Jarvis Clay, will go into the game in good spirits after their impressive success at Chester-le-Street.
Durham Academy travel to third-placed Tynemouth, who are unbeaten in their last eight games. The Academy have only lost three of their 10 games this season and are proving hard to beat.
Academy director of cricket John Windows said: “Ben Seabrook returns after injury and Tom Mackintosh will keep wicket. We had a good win last week, with plenty of batsmen doing their jobs.
“Tynemouth will be another tough assignment, because they have a strong outfit, they’re at home and above us the league. The Academy needs to show more of last week’s form in order to gain success.”
Only 38 points separate the bottom six clubs in the league and the two bottom clubs, Felling and Stockton, take on each other at High Heworth Lane.