NE Premier League: Whitburn face an uphill battle against leaders South North

Seaham Harbour line up ahead of their recent Ashbrooke clash with Sunderland
Seaham Harbour line up ahead of their recent Ashbrooke clash with Sunderland
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Whitburn face a daunting task this weekend when they host league leaders South North.

South North have Jimmy Miller back in the team after his recent groin injury cleared up.

He replaces the prolific Simon Birtwisle, who is away and will be missed as he has accumulated over 700 runs already this season.

Captain John Graham said: “Simon will be missed, but we have Jonny back and otherwise we will be at full strength.

“Although we have gone back to the top, we are still not firing on all cylinders. We still have a few players out injured, but Lee Crozier is nearly back to full fitness, so that will give us a further boost soon.”

That will be worrying news for Whitburn, who were skittled for just 53 last week at Tynemouth and have a few players missing this week.

Skipper Ross Carty is unavailable, as is Dan Woolston and Paul Shields.

However, they welcome Craig Henderson into the team after scoring 84 in the Seconds last week and also off spinner Luke Smith, who took five wickets last week also for the Second team.

Chester-le-Street welcome Hetton Lyons to Ropery Lane hoping to get back to winning ways as their recent form has taken a dip, with only one league win in June.

Stephen Cantwell is out with a dislocated finger he hurt while fielding against Eppleton in the cup.

On Sunday, the Cestrians will again try and play their regional final Royal National Club Championship match against South North at Ropery Lane.

Skipper John Coxon has one eye on the weather in particular, as the match may be decided with a (bowl off) if the weather intervenes again.

“It could be decided that way if the weather beats us again, so we had better get some decent practice in the nets,” said Coxon.

Durham Academy visit Eppleton, with George Harding facing a late fitness test on his sore back and if Harding plays, captain John Windows will be rested.

Josh Coughlin, 18-year-old, could make his debut after impressing for Durham against Sri Lanka A in midweek.

He had taken two wickets in the match with the prize wicket of opener Udara Jayasundera.

John said: “Josh is doing great just like a few others in the team and they are starting to believe in themselves.

“The league is really strong this year and we are now looking for a few wins to climb up the table.”

Eppleton have a full squad to choose from and have no injury worries.

Third-placed Tynemouth entertain fourth placed South Shields in the top of the table encounter at Preston Avenue.

Both teams have come into form recently and had impressive wins last weekend.

Both will be looking for the win to keep the pressure on South North and second-placed Newcastle, who will be without Ben Stokes in the squad, as they travel to Teesside to play Stockton.