Dukes ECB NEPL Premier Division’s in-form Whitburn entertain leaders Newcastle at The Village Ground, in the “match of the day” this weekend.
Whitburn have lost only once in the last four league games and enjoyed an exciting four-run win against the Durham Academy last week,
Ross Carty the Whitburn skipper, feels his side is getting better and their confidence is growing each week.
He said: “We tend to rely on Daniel Shurben and Lee Henderson up top, as they have scored over 600 and 300 runs respectively this season, but young players like Jack Burnham have come in and done really well.”
“Joe Coyne is still only 23 years of age and has over 600 runs to his name this season, and Mark Elliott, our off spinner, has taken 27 wickets, so far this year.”
Ross added: “Jeremy Benton has just signed a professional contract for Canterbury in New Zealand and he has been great for us this season as well, so I am really pleased we have started to put a run together, for all the hard work they have put in.
“We have a great junior set up at the club and our aim this season was to finish in the top six and, perhaps, win one of the cups, so we are still on course for that planning.”
They will certainly be tested against a Newcastle side, who still remain unbeaten this year.
They will promote Neil Corby up the batting order to open, as Ben McGee is unavailable while Callum Harding returns, to add strength to the bowling line up.
Chester-Le- Street are at home to South Shields and will be looking to keep the pressure on Newcastle.
Skipper John Coxon said: “The mood in the camp is good and our next few games are crucial, so in order to stay in the title race, we must keep performing.”
The Cestrians will hopefully welcome back wicket-keeper Cole Pearce, who faces a late fitness test on his back injury, but the game might have come too early for him this week. George Harrison is unavailable.
Durham Academy are without England International Ben Stokes, but Scott Steel returns to the side.
This will be the only change and they are up against South North this weekend, who are still in title contention.
But John Windows, the Academy coach said: “We are looking forward to the game and the lads are up for it, we are improving all the time and they are learning each week.”
Eppleton welcome near neighbours Hetton Lyons for the derby and the Lyons skipper Jarvis Clay remembers the game earlier in the season which went his side’s way.
He said: “Ben Whitehead took five wickets that day, but it could have gone either way, so they will be out for revenge.
“We are really happy with the replacement for Faiz Fazal, in wicket-keeper Mahesh Rawat. He has had scores of 37 and 87 in his last two innings.”