Pascal straight in to lift Boldon

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BOLDON’S spirits have been lifted by the news that West Indian international Nelon Pascal is due to arrive at Newcastle Airport tomorrow, and he will go straight into the team to entertain Willington on Saturday in the Dukes North East Premier League First Division.

The paceman’s arrival had been delayed by playing commitments in his home country, but with those now complete he is set to renew old acquaintances at Sunderland Road, where he last played in 2008 when he was just 21.

That experience was cut short when Pascal was called into the national squad for the ill-fated Stanford Twenty20 competition.

Since then he has played two Tests and a one day international for the West Indies, as well as taking 130 first-class wickets, so he returns to Boldon more or less as the finished article and ready to boost the club’s title hopes.

He will be the only change in the home dressing room, with Graham Fox making way. Willington expect to be at full strength with the return of Steven Bradwell.

Seaham Harbour were happy enough with their opening day “winning draw” against Boldon, and were particularly impressed by their Indian professional, Swaru Purkayastha, who enjoyed an outstanding debut, making an undefeated 77 and following up with three wickets.

He lines up in an unchanged team for the visit of Washington, with skipper Stuart Lacey the only absentee following a recent operation. He expects to be fit in two or three weeks.

One player who won’t appear in the game is Paul Hindmarch. The former Durham man was contracted to Washington but subsequently committed to playing for the Unicorns in the Yorkshire Bank 40 competition, which meant he would miss at least five or six games.

Washington are looking for a replacement, but he won’t be in place by the weekend so they expect to field the same side that drew their opening match at Eppleton.

Whitburn are enjoying the luxury of being out on their own at the top of the table, even though they are just one game into the season.

The comprehensive nature of their win over Felling, and the superb form of Stuart Walker, has put skipper Andy Turns in buoyant mood. He told the Echo: “I’m delighted with that start and hopefully we can mount a challenge for honours this season. We are especially pleased to have secured Stu’s services again and delighted he has agreed to a two-year deal.”

Unsurprisingly, the Villagers take the same line-up to South Hetton on Saturday, when their hosts show just the one change to the side which lost narrowly to Brandon, with 19-year-old Liam Houghton called up in place of Alex Nicholson.

Sacriston take on Brandon and they include Ben Hall in place of Mark Fort. The visitors hope to be at full strength, with Craig Hewitt definitely in and positive news expected about Stephen Ball’s availability as well as that of Ruel Brathwaite.

In Saturday’s final game, Felling skipper Jon Nicholls misses out at home to an unchanged Eppleton, so 15-year-old Jack Tilley is handed an opportunity.