Season on a go-slow to frustrate clubs

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“IF we were boxers we’d be punch drunk” – that was how Warmseal Durham Senior League chairman Ian Linsley described the season-long battle with the weather that clubs have had to endure.

With the forecast on the wrong side of poor yet again, there are already fears for some games this weekend, and the two domestic cups are no nearer a conclusion after a further rash of abandonments in the last week or so.

And it seems that the two leading sides in the league, Castle Eden and Burnmoor, are destined never to meet – with their league head to head washed out last week, their many attempts to get both their League Cup and Armbrister Trophy semi-finals played seem to have been running longer than “The Mousetrap”.

Eppleton are waiting patiently to play the winners in the Armbrister, the final of which was originally to have been on July 6, while Kimblesworth are through to the League Cup final.

Kimblesworth visit the Parklands on Saturday in what is sure to be a serious examination of Castle Eden’s title credentials.

Castle held on to their league leadership in last week’s double-header, winning the only game they played, although Burnmoor clipped another seven points off their lead, which is now down to a more tenuous six points.

Ground staff politely described conditions at Castle Eden in midweek as “very wet”, but they will be keen to play given that they once again have a full squad at their disposal, as do their visitors.

There was a little cameo appearance by Ian Linsley for Burnmoor last week, drafted into the side at the very last minute following an ankle injury to Matthew Sampson-Barnes.

Sampson-Barnes is expected to be fit to return this week, which will be a relief to Linsley who indicated that he “tweaked” several things in his first match action for years. Moor, away to unchanged Eppleton, have Gary Brown unavailable, so Owen Lancaster’s return is timely.

With skipper David Bell missing, Andy Turns takes over as Whitburn captain for their game at South Hetton, and he has the club’s leading three bowlers at his disposal, following the return of Neil Johnson, Craig Smith and Paul Cook.

In addition, Mark Elliott keeps his place after a fabulous first-team debut in which he took 7-24. John Leslie returns for struggling South Hetton after missing last Sunday.

Tim Stonock and Subhan Christudas are back for Durham City away to Philadelphia, who have Ian Hauxwell back in harness,

Rock-bottom Marsden must do without opening bowlers Stephen Neilson and Paul Cassell when they entertain unchanged Horden.