Durham Cricket League: Former India Under-19 captain Virat Singh excites Seaham Park ahead of debut at Tudhoe

Easington's Omar Shahid bowls to Seaham Park opener Adran Hedley last weekend. Picture by Kevin Brady.
Easington's Omar Shahid bowls to Seaham Park opener Adran Hedley last weekend. Picture by Kevin Brady.

Seaham Park are excited about the arrival of Indian all-rounder Virat Singh for their First Division visit to Tudhoe on Saturday.

Vice-captain Michael McNicholas, looking to get back on track after last week’s defeat to Easington, said: “We have signed a young Indian, Virat Singh, a 20-year-old batsman/spinner who captained India Under-19s last year.

“We’re very excited to see him play and hope this weekend to get our season up and running.

“Last week, six of our first-team players were missing and will hopefully return.

“John Sample, Neil Young, Shoaib Akhtar and David Gilbert will all be back in the squad.

“Hopefully our professional will arrive this week.”

Tudhoe are at full strength and chairman Stephen Thexton said: “We always have a really hard game with Seaham Park, so we expect a good, competitive match.

“Our batsmen have come into form, and, under the leadership of our captain, Joe Dodd, the young players are flourishing.”

Captain Shaun Smith will be in confident mood for Philadelphia’s home clash with Esh Winning.

Smith created a club record against Bill Quay last Saturday, when he scored 151 not out.

Interestingly, his dad, Norman, has the highest ever score in the club’s second team, 168 not out against Norton. Like father, like son!

Phili chairman Malcolm Pratt said: “There will be one change to the team, with left-arm spinner Adam McGuire unavailable.

“One or two players in the second team have made impressive starts to strengthen their claims for promotion, so they are in contention for selection.”

Esh Winning secretary Brian Gott said: “Everyone is available so we’ll have a full strength side.

“To be fair, we know it’s going to be a hard game.

“We don’t have an overseas player this season and we’re aware that a good pro makes a big difference.

“In our last two games, the opposition pros have won the game for their teams, so we realise we’re at a distinct disadvantage. All the teams in this league are strong and there are no easy games.”

On-song Easington entertain Mainsforth.

Visiting chairman Tony Johns said: “There will be three changes to our first team, after Curtis Bihari, Nathan Wall and Ryan Dawson were all injured last week.

“Their replacements will be Brady Smith, Glenn Donaldson and Chris Reynard.

“We just hope to get through our game against Easington without picking up any more injuries. We are also struggling for bowlers this year.”

Bottom club Whiteleas and Harton welcome Durham City.

Skipper Andy Potts is remaining upbeat as his side search for their first win. He said: “It’s been a tough start to the season, but we’re now in a position where we can have a run of games with a settled side.

“If we apply ourselves right over the coming games, I have no doubt we can turn the corner.”

Potts makes four changes, with batsmen Nathan Ullah and Grant Parkin returning, as well as bowler Chris Nichol. All-rounder Hafiz Aleem makes his first start of the season.

Horden are away to an unchanged Bill Quay, whose secretary, Chris Little, said: “We hope to bat a bit better than we have over the last two weeks. We let ourselves down with our batting and hope to improve in that area to give ourselves a fighting chance.”

Leaders Crook are at home to Marsden without George Westlake and Jamie Mills, who are sitting University exams.

Alan O’Prey and Josh Holmes return, while William Angus may be required by the Durham Academy.

Professional Daniel Doram will make his home debut, after impressing on his away bow last week,

Secretary Alan Stewart said: “It’ll be a tough game. Crook and Marsden were promoted together last year and we’ve both had good starts and there is only a few points between us.

“Marsden are very fortunate to have Chris Mann, who is the best batsman in the league. We need to get in early and we hope for a good day.

“We want to build on the start we’ve had, because it’s been great.”

In Division Two, Dawdon are at Hylton.

Green Drive secretary Steve Dent said: “Our team will be pretty much the same as last weekend. James Dent returns from holiday and will be in the first team.

“He will take the place of Harry Morgan, who will be away on duty with the Royal Navy. It would be nice to get a win under our belts after two defeats and a draw.”

Unchanged Murton entertain Langley Park. Murton secretary Alan Welburn said: “We had a good result last week against Evenwood and look to carry that on.”

Silksworth skipper Andy Barrass is hoping Gary McAvoy is back, alongside Mark Forster to strengthen the team in the batting and bowling departments against Ushaw Moor.

Barrass said: “We welcome them both back, as we try and get another win under our belts, but Ushaw Moor have started well and have good batsmen in their top order.”

Peterlee are at home to Ryhope and chairman Michael Garraghan said: “We should be at full strength, but Andrew Laidler is a doubt.

“We batted well last week, but we came up just short of the target. The younger players in the team did well.

“We are up against David Craig, our former player, at Ryhope and we know how good he is, so hopefully we can get him early on!”

High-flying Littletown host newcomers Hunwick.

Littletown’s head of cricket development, Gregg Arundel, said: “We are looking forward to renewing acquaintances with our old friends from Hunwick.

“Matthew Dench and Patrick Stephenson are not available this weekend, but skipper Dan Pearson returns alongside myself. We have had a good start, but have still not had our full side out yet!”

Evenwood, at home to Boldon CA, have Thomas Teesdale junior back, but Andrew Wells and Danny Wilkinson are both away.

Secretary Luke Bannister said: “We’ve had a bit of chew at the start of this year, with so many players away.

“Boldon are top, but they’re an unknown force as they’ve been bottom half the last two years, so we’re wary. We go into the game cautious, but confident.”