DURHAM City slumped to the foot of the Warmseal Durham Senior League last week, but they have the chance to make their stay at the bottom a short one with two home games to come in the latest double weekend of the season.
For the second time in the first seven weeks of the campaign, clubs play back to back league fixtures on Saturday and Sunday. With the next round of Twenty20 games scheduled for tomorrow night, many players will be saying “see you on Monday” to the family when they leave for work tomorrow morning!
For Durham, the glut of games may be in their favour as they are the only club not participating in the T20 competition, which means they should be fresher than the opposition in both their league matches, the first of which is against Horden, with Norton arriving the following day.
City have the additional boost of being able to include three returning players to put them back to full strength – Mike Elliott and Paul Moralee will play, along with Subhan Christudas, who has managed to shake off the back injury that was troubling him.
Horden, whose second match is at home to South Hetton, have lost Afzal Chougle, who suffered a broken finger while batting last week.
He is likely to be out for two or three weeks, with Anthony Peace taking his place, while Norton are also missing two key players for their game at City – keeper Lee Dalby and Tanesht Ruswa.
New leaders Whitburn have a tough derby at Boldon to contend with on Sunday, but also face a difficult Saturday match – at home to unchanged South Hetton. Whitburn have no selection problems for either game, and unsurprisingly stick with the side that took them to the top.
That line-up, of course, includes Stuart Walker, who is in scintillating form.
He has scored 350 runs since the last time he was out in a league match, and his season aggregate now tops 500 at a mind-blowing (for bowlers at least) average of 125.
Yet Walker is not top of the league batting charts – that honour belongs to Jimmy Daley of Burnmoor, who has scored around the same number of runs, but been dismissed on one fewer occasion to give him an average exceeding 160!
Daley takes his trusty blade to Castle Eden on Saturday, and then enjoys home comforts with the visit of Kimblesworth the following day for what promises to be an intriguing fixture.
Moor have some selection issues, with Paul Davidson struggling with a side strain that saw him pull out of the attack after just three deliveries last week.
Philadelphia reckon it’s a case of the okey cokey for them this weekend – in, out, shake them all about is the selection mantra.
One thing they do know for certain is that Andrew Robinson cannot play and Stephen Robinson can, and they hope to be dancing to a different tune than the one that has seen them plunge down the table after leading the way in the opening weeks.
Phili entertain Boldon first up, and then go to Eppleton on Sunday, where they will no doubt hope to put their best foot forward!
Eppleton are at Kimblesworth on Saturday, while Felling visit Norton.