NE Premier League: Something's got to give as Sunderland and Seaham Harbour battle it out
For the second week in succession Sunderland feature in a bottom-of-the-table clash as the only two teams without a win go head-to-head at Ashbrooke.
The Wearsiders came badly unstuck at Tudhoe, a 108-run defeat leaving them rooted to the bottom as their victorious rivals leapfrogged them.
Sunderland now prop up the rest, and immediately above them are Saturday’s opponents, Seaham Harbour, who are 11 points better off.
The one positive factor for the two strugglers is that a number of other teams are also finding life uncomfortable at the moment, with just 22 points covering the bottom five, so a victory in this match would be priceless.
Harbour will still be missing the injured Jack Lacey, while Stuart Pattison is away, so youngsters Dylan Bacon and Niall Cowell are handed opportunities.
Sunderland have a full squad available and will finalise their line-up when they know about the availability of Usman Arshad, who has been away with Durham.
Burnmoor could do Sunderland and Harbour a real favour if they can beat Tudhoe.
Moor held their nerve well at Mainsforth last week, bowling their opponents out for 98 despite only having a meagre 108 to defend, and with Kevin Dixon available, the continued absence of Stephen Meek shouldn’t be too much of a problem for a side still in with a shout of title honours.
Blaydon entertain high flying Boldon, who missed an opportunity to go top of the table when held to a draw at the Harbour.
Boldon will find their hosts in much improved mood following their first win of the season against Felling, and they will have to cope without Calum MacLeod, who is on Durham T20 duty. Following his half century for the second team last weekend, Anthony Brown is promoted in MacLeod’s absence.
Sacriston, just a single point behind leaders Willington, will be looking for a maximum return from their home game against Mainsforth.
Mainsforth were dismantled by Sacriston in the Salver for a paltry 35 in just 11.5 overs, the game representing a personal triumph for youngster Reece Carr who bagged eight of the wickets to fall.
Carr has just returned to the club following a brief spell with Seaton Carew, and he will be licking his lips at another opportunity to have a go at Mainsforth. With Callum Appleby returning in place of Nathan Hall, Sacriston will be at full strength.
In Saturday’s other games, leaders Willington take on Washington, while Felling entertain Brandon.
Tomorrow night’s T20 games include Sunderland making an immediate return to Tudhoe where they lost so heavily last Saturday, Boldon have a juicy looking home tie against Benwell Hill, and Seaham Harbour entertain Burnmoor.