Senior League extend search for new teams

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THE Warmseal Durham Senior league’s decision to write to all clubs in the county is the latest chapter in the long-running saga affecting the structure of club cricket in the region.

The league are asking clubs who may wish to join the competition to express an interest, and they are invited to attend an open meeting at Durham City, on June 14, where further information will be given out.

Any club that wishes to do so should contact league secretary Ray Matthews on 07971 893821, email, or write to 4, Tweed Close, Salterfen Park, Sunderland, SR2 9TN as soon as possible.

Having been left with just seven clubs for the 2013 season following the formation of the North East Premier League’s Second Division, the Senior League, along with the County and Coast Leagues who were also significantly affected, were invited to submit proposals to the Durham County Board (DCB) about the future structure of cricket in the county.

After considering the proposals, DCB representatives met with those leagues and a preferred framework was presented which was then put by the Senior League executive to their seven remaining clubs.

At that meeting, the decision was taken to test the appetite of clubs in the area for joining the Senior League, with letters going out to all. League chairman Ian Linsley explained the rationale: “Following the decision of six clubs to leave the league at the end of the 2012 season, the remaining seven clubs are keen to continue as the DSL and have invited applications from clubs who may wish to join the league in 2013.

“Any new club would become a member of the oldest league in County Durham, with all its traditions and outstanding reputation for playing enjoyable competitive cricket at senior and junior levels.

“The seven existing member clubs believe they have a vital part to play in any future promotion/relegation arrangements with the NEPL and look forward to like-minded clubs joining them in an exciting future.”

Back on the field, Linsley’s own club, Burnmoor, face a tough trip to take on champions Kimblesworth on Saturday, the pair sitting just outside the top two.

Kimblesworth were missing key players Stephen Meek and Andrew Biggs last week, and they are still unavailable for this one so the title holders keep the same side who just failed to squeeze a victory from their game at Whitburn. Moor have to reckon without Martin Thursfield, so Graham Stoker earns a call-up.

Full-strength Castle Eden enjoy a 40-point lead over second-placed Felling, and they have home advantage on Saturday when second-bottom Durham City, the only team without a win so far, are the visitors.

Graham Smith returns to the Horden dressing room for the home game against Felling, who are concerned by skipper Ant Trotter’s thigh strain. Richie Smith is back and Chris Pleasants will play.

Marsden have leading wicket-taker Stephen Neilson back to fitness after an ankle injury, while Ryan Little is also fit again. However, Connor Elliott and Paul Cassell have work commitments and miss the home game against bottom club South Hetton, so Lee Bays is called up for his first-team debut.

Two unchanged sides clash at Boldon, where Eppleton are the visitors, while Billy Brownsword makes his Philadelphia debut at Norton after joining from Hetton Lyons.