SEAHAM Harbour have had to turn their attentions to a new overseas target after their original choice from Pakistan suffered visa problems.
While far from being cut and dried, Harbour are looking towards bringing in an Indian opening batsman now – subject to the usual jumping through hoops with the paperwork.
However, even if that goes smoothly, it will be another couple of weeks before he arrives and, with Stephen Sennett and Shoaib Akhtar working this weekend, promising youngster Dylan Bacon is handed an opportunity in Saturday’s home game against early-season table-toppers Brandon.
Peter Hambleton, making his seasonal debut, comes straight into the team.
After the joy of their opening day success, Sacriston came down to earth with a bump last Saturday when they ended up on the wrong end of the weather, and the toss at Brandon, and crashed to a nine-wicket defeat which left them with a solitary point.
It could have been even worse as their top order was blown away after being inserted by their hosts in bowler-friendly conditions, Sacriston crumbling to 5-5 in the early exchanges before Callum Appleby and Graham Hubber saved their blushes.
The confident Burnmoor are the visitors to Front Street on Saturday, but Sacriston hope to have a couple of new signings on show as well as having the influential Ian Hunter returning to their line-up.
Two students, who have played to a high standard of University cricket, are expected to make their debuts, and, interestingly, they are both wicketkeeper/batsmen, although Sebastian Stewart-Taylor and Prabodh Kakodkar will both play as batters.
Just one point separates Sacriston and Burnmoor, with the Durham League champions’ debut record currently standing as one win and one total washout.
Having been frustrated by the weather last Saturday, it was a case of Sunday best for Moor as they hit the road south to get their first ever taste of National Club Championship cricket at Driffield in Yorkshire, where they romped to a nine-wicket win.
They have a full-strength line-up available to them at Sacriston, with Paul Craig set to make his delayed league debut.
The fact that Bravesh Shetty, Sunderland’s overseas pro, had not arrived in time to debut at Burnmoor last week did not matter, with the game being washed out, so it’s back to Ashbrooke on Saturday, where the Wearsiders take on a Boldon team who were one of the lucky three to defeat both the elements and their opponents in last weekend’s weather-beaten programme.
Boldon’s bowlers came up trumps in the win over Felling. With the match reduced to 51 overs, the initial split was 28 for the team batting first and 23 for the chasers, but, with Tommy Nixon and Joe Coyne rampant, Felling fell apart and Boldon had 27 overs to reach a relatively small target.
The victory pushed them up to third place and, unsurprisingly, Boldon stick with the same line-up at Sunderland.
With relegation now a clear and present danger, South Hetton will want to get their own show on the road as soon as possible.
One defeat and a washout sees them propping up the rest, and their trip to Felling already takes on additional importance, with their hosts having suffered two defeats.
South Hetton make two changes, one of which is enforced with Dan Douglas studying. All-rounder Mark Gray is handed an opportunity alongside Sam Wilson.
Eppleton, no nearer bringing in their overseas man, entertain high-flying Washington, while Tudhoe tackle Willington.
On Sunday, Burnmoor make their bow in the Banks Salver when they entertain Newcastle, and Sunderland go to Felling.