Burnmoor’s comprehensive display at Brandon last week lifted them up to second place in the table, just six points adrift of surprise package Mainsforth, and with a new spring in their step, they will provide a real test for Boldon this weekend.
The early weeks of sparring with the rain as well as opponents will hopefully now be behind clubs as the weather looks set to be a little kinder to cricket after a horrendous April, and the clash between the former Durham Senior League giants at the Village Ground certainly has a mouth-watering air to it.
After helping nurture the talents of Brydon Carse when he was with them as an 18-year-old in 2014, the Moor look to have unearthed another youngster with potential in the shape of Western Australian Liam Purdy.
His 7-over spell at Brandon last week ripped the heart out of the home batting, and the Aussie student also enjoyed a nice little cameo with the bat with an unbeaten 14.
Skipper Alec Linsley was delighted with the performance of his young charge, although he might be less so with the scorecard on the League’s play-cricket website which initially indicated that his four catches behind the wicket were taken by dad Ian!
One more plus for the skipper is that another student, Danny Unsworth, a close-season signing from Ormskirk who is at Durham University, was unable to bowl last week because of injury, and he is expected to be given the all-clear, although with the others having routed Brandon for 49 last time out, he could be pushed to get his hands on the ball.
After an opening day calamity at Willington, where a 133-run defeat provided food for thought, Boldon bounced back with a much better display against Felling, a game they dominated although just unable to apply the final winning touches.
They do have one or two team selection issues with Callum MacLeod, Phil Shakespeare and Ryan Little missing, although with Darren Hickey now fit he slots straight in, with Oliver Sampson-Barnes and Gareth Smith also called into action.
Despite losing two of their three games to the weather, Sacriston have kept their place in the top three thanks to their one played game against Sunderland producing a healthy points return.
They now have the chance to build on that promising start when they entertain Seaham Harbour.
Skipper Ian Jones misses the game, but in comes Chris Rushworth for his debut after his signing was completed just a few days ago.
Harbour’s cricket manager, Stuart Lacey, indicated that he was keeping faith with the same team who lost to Mainsforth, and that he was looking for an improved batting performance.
Two complete abandonments have not allowed Sunderland to get fully over the defeat suffered in the only match they have played, and they face a stiff examination when they travel to Heworth to take on the much vaunted Felling team.
The Wearsiders will be hoping to have Usman Arshad in their ranks, while Felling also expect to have their best line-up in the field.
In Saturday’s other games, leaders Mainsforth make three enforced changes for their home game against Blaydon. Rob Chismon, Mark Snowdon and Aidan Cummings are missing, and Jamie Appleby, Glen Donaldson and Dan Smith drafted in.
Willington hope to build on their promising start by adding to Tudhoe’s woes at the foot of the table, and Washington will just be grateful if they can get a full game in when they entertain Brandon.