NE Premier League: Two changes as Whitburn look to maintain positive start at home to champions South North

Eppleton. Back, from left: John Smithson (Director of Cricket), Josh Coughlin, Dominic Stuart, Luke Henderson, Daniel Stephenson, Piers Davison, Sam Blacklock (Scorer). Front: Tyler Easton (Wkt), Joe Coyne, Connor Whitelock, Dean Musther (captain), Craig Scurr, Marcus Brown. Picture by Kevin Brady.
Eppleton. Back, from left: John Smithson (Director of Cricket), Josh Coughlin, Dominic Stuart, Luke Henderson, Daniel Stephenson, Piers Davison, Sam Blacklock (Scorer). Front: Tyler Easton (Wkt), Joe Coyne, Connor Whitelock, Dean Musther (captain), Craig Scurr, Marcus Brown. Picture by Kevin Brady.
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Whitburn are full of confidence ahead of Saturday’s Premier Division encounter with last year’s champions, and this year’s early pace-setters, South Northumberland.

Whitburn official Paul Shields said: “We had three good wins last weekend, in cup and league matches, which has boosted morale and confidence in time for the visit of the league champions.

“The wicket looks promising and there should be a run fest!

“There are two missing from last week’s line up, with Ross Carty and Paul Shields having work commitments, so they will be replaced by Ben Markham and Craig Henderson.”

Hetton Lyons, with two wins out of three so far, take on the youngsters of the Durham Academy at the Emirates Riverside.

Lyons skipper Jarvis Clay said: “Carl Watson is available, but the player he is replacing is still under discussion and not yet known.

“The side must stay focused after last week’s excellent performance and must realise the Durham Academy are well able to acquit themselves on the day.”

Eppleton travel to Benwell Hill for a battle of third-bottom and second-bottom.

Eppleton director of cricket John Smithson said: “Selection will not take place until later this week, due to many of the squad not being able to declare their availability until then, but one player definitely not taking to the field is wicketkeeper Tyler Easton.

“Easton will be out for up to eight weeks with a seriously dislocated thumb, which had to be operated on and pinned.”

Benwell Hill skipper Kyle Coetzer has Gavin Main available for the first time this season.

The player giving way has yet to be decided, as the side look to return to winning ways after a disappointing defeat last time out.

Chester-le-Street travel to Tynemouth, with skipper John Coxon delighted by last week’s performance in the victory over Newcastle.

Coxon said: “It was an excellent bowling display, with all the bowlers contributing well, to a deserved win.

“Quentin Hughes was exceptional with his control and four wickets and Andrew Smith has started the season in tremendous form with both bat and ball, let’s hope he continues with this form all season!”

“Hopefully, we will be unchanged and Tynemouth are always tough opponents and this game will be no different.

“We are looking forward to the challenge and everyone will be keen to do well, to keep up our good start to the season.”

Sacriston are at Stockton and official Iain Bestford said: “Melvyn Betts will miss out this week due to a hamstring problem.

“He should be replaced by Jack Hardy, who has been out for two weeks through illness.

“Matthew Potts may be available, but confirmation from Durham is awaited.

“Another tough challenge lies ahead at Stockton, who are in form after a win last time out.

“The side will begin to get an inkling of what consistency is needed to rise through the table, if they harbour ideas of honours.”

Felling are currently bottom and will be looking for a positive result, at home to Newcastle, who currently sit in mid-table.