NE Premier League: In-form Eppleton looking to maintain upward progress

South Shields batsman Sam Embleton defends at Eppleton last weekend,
South Shields batsman Sam Embleton defends at Eppleton last weekend,
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Eppleton are looking to maintain their climb up the Premier Division table when they visit Whitburn on Saturday as the season reaches the half-way point.

Director of cricket John Smithson stated: “All sections of the side are producing the goods at the moment. We are sixth in the table and rapidly closing the gap on those above us!

“Wicket-keeper Tyler Easton is still out due to a dislocated shoulder. Other than that, the team is at full strength which is all well as this fixture will be a tough one as usual.”

Hetton Lyons travel down to Teesside to play Stockton, who had a great win at Chester-le-Street last week.

The Lyons skipper Jarvis Clay said: “All players are available, so we should be at full strength. A good win last week bodes well for the future, after a good batting display followed by a terrific bowling attack, saw the team home in fine style.”

Chester-le-Street travel to South Shields and the Cestrians skipper John Coxon said: “Jack Harrison is still away, so we are likely to be unchanged.

“I hope the team gets back to winning ways and get the season back under way, to challenge the teams above us.”

Benwell Hill in third position, welcome the Durham Cricket Academy one place below them, to Denton Bank.

Skipper Kyle Coetzer is a welcome return for the home side, after returning from international duty, as is Joe Kilpatrick, who replaces Anthony Hunter who is unavailable due to holidays and Sameet Brar also plays alongside John Chambers.

Coetzer said: “A good match is envisaged and all matches must be keenly fought from now on in. We have dropped to third, behind Newcastle and South North.

“This was despite Haseeb Azam taking five wickets last Saturday to no avail, as the batsmen could not post a competitive total, to give the team a chance of victory.”

Tynemouth host leaders South Northumberland, and secretary Gordon Halliday said: “They are an unpredictable side, who can turn on a great performance one week and perhaps not the next week.

“We will not be underestimating them, that’s for sure and look forward to the game.”

Bottom club Felling host second-top Newcastle, with the home side looking to build on last week’s positive performance agfainst Benwell Hill.

In the First Division, Boldon welcome Sunderland and skipper Chris Ellison said: “Barry McCarthy, the club’s Durham player, will hopefully be available. If he isn’t, the team remains the same, even though the last two games have been lost. The other sides were better than us on the day. Even so, we remain third in the league.”

Mainsforth entertain leaders Sacriston, with secretary Nigel Milner saying: “Skipper Robert Chismon is absent on holiday and is replaced by John Sweeney. Ryan Dawson is also on holiday and his replacement is Brady Smith, who is returning after injury put him out of last week’s defeat to Washington.

“Washington were a bit too strong, but other than the changes mentioned, the team remains the same for the fixture against the leaders, who are currently top of the table, so things will be no easier!

“You can only turn up on the day, put in a good performance and hope for a positive result.”

Second-placed Brandon travel to Blaydon and skipper Chris Peareth commented: “There is one change - Sairaj Raghavan is unavailable and so Nathan Adamson slots back into the team, after being away on holiday. The team had a comfortable win last week, so it remains the same for the predicted tough encounter at Back Park Avenue.”

Washington in fifth, and in good form, host Gateshead Fell, who are fifth bottom and seem to be getting to grips with life in the First Division, after a slow start.

Both teams had good wins last week, to set up an intriguing match at Vigo Lane.

Willington entertain Burnopfield and skipper James Stock stated: “Joe Cook has left University and is unavailable for the rest of the season.

“Jason Marshall replaces him as a top order batsman. Other than that, the team selects itself, though we lost a close game last week, the problem stemming from the fact the batsmen did not put enough runs, put on the board.”

Burnmoor travel to Seaham Harbour with Alec Linsley back from holiday to replace Ross Hodgson, who goes off on holiday himself. Secretary Ian Linsley recalled last week’s draw against Burnopfield, saying: “It was a disappointing end to last week’s fixture when the bowlers couldn’t remove the final pair, who remained solid for 15 overs.

“However, Samiullah Khan, the club’s Pakistani professional, had a great debut. The immediate future looks very positive, with him in the side.”