NE Premier League: Shah jetting in to bolster Eppleton

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THREE frustrating draws from their first three outings have left Eppleton lounging in the bottom half of the early-season table, but things are possibly about to change with the long-awaited arrival of their overseas player.

Pakistani Kamran Shah is well known in the region after playing for Hetton Lyons, South Hetton and Castle Eden in recent years, and he will add some all-round strength and experience to the Eppleton dressing room.

After what seemed like interminable visa delays, Shah was at last due to catch his flight to the UK today, and will go straight into Saturday’s team to play at Willington, with Joe Dodd sidelined by sore shins.

The home team include new signing Will Phillips in their team.

The Durham University student is a Hampshire lad, and falls into the all-rounder bracket.

He picked up three wickets in last week’s debut at Tudhoe before the game was washed out.

Wicketkeeper Elliott Foster is missing for the next two weeks due to university commitments.

Lewis Straughair is likely to be missing from the Sacriston teamsheet for quite some time after fracturing his wrist in unfortunate circumstances last week.

He slipped while bowling and fell on his hand as he tried to break his fall.

Many would have been straight off to hospital, but Straughair hung around and was needed to go in at number 11 to try to earn his side a draw at against Burnmoor.

He didn’t have to face a ball, but his presence meant his side avoided defeat.

Sacriston go to Boldon on Saturday, and, as well as the injured Straughair, they will be missing the unavailable Mark Fort. In come Jack Keall and Craig Robertson.

Boldon, currently second, 12 points behind Brandon, are able to rely on the same team that has earned them a seat near the top of the table.

Burnmoor have settled in nicely at this new level, and they entertain a struggling Seaham Harbour, who are just one place and five points above South Hetton.

The Moor make one change, promising youngster McKenzie Wright called up to replace the unavailable Neil Young.

Son replaces father in the Harbour team, 16-year-old Elliott Leslie making his debut at the expense of dad David.

Seaham still await news of their overseas man.

In the day’s other games, leaders Brandon entertain former County League colleagues Tudhoe, while Washington take on rejuvenated Felling.

In Sunday’s National Club Championship, Burnmoor have a home tie against Richmondshire, and with the Dalesmen depleted because of the Minor Counties commitments of several players, the Moor will be favourites.