Durham Leagues weekend preview.
ALL is not doom and gloom for those fretting over the lack of cricket in the Fosters Durham Senior League as secretary Ray Mathews has given his formal confirmation the league programme that was completely washed out on Saturday June 23 will now be played on Sunday July 15 - weather permitting.
With that to look forward to, today's fixture list throws up opportunities for the two runaway leaders to enhance their wins record as, while they are both away, they are playing the two sides at the opposite end of the league table. Leaders Burnmoor are at Durham and can call upon their full-strength side, while Whitburn go to Seaham Harbour. Whitburn will miss Paul Cook who is unavailable, but have been spared selection dilemmas as Tony Greaves is back while Harbour have two changes with Simon Brown unavailable, Matty Young taking his place, and David Thompson stepping up to replace Liam Ramshaw.
It's third versus fourth at Boldon where Philadelphia are the visitors. Along with the two leading sides Phili are unbeaten in league matches and have proved uncompromising opponents along the way so the home team know this will be real test for them.
Elsewhere in the league Hetton Lyons indicate they have problems with holidays and illness ahead of their home match with South Hetton, although the extent of their problems will not be known until just before the start of the game. Eppleton have no such problems as they are unchanged again for the visit Felling.
Horden entertain Marsden and with just a single point currently separating the two sides in mid-table there is everything to play for. A combination of horrendous weather, their rivals' good fortune and a defining defeat has seen Kimblesworth's once apparently unassailable lead at the top of the Readers Durham County League cut to virtually nothing. Their advantage has been reduced to a meagre three points and with a double programme of league matches starting today there could very well be new leaders come tomorrow night, particularly as Kimblesworth sit tomorrow's games out.
The leaders' only game of the weekend is at Brandon today and they will come up against full-strength opponents whose only team change will be for tomorrow's game at Ushaw Moor when Andrew Oreb is replaced by Will Paxton.
Esh Winning will start their bid for the top with a home game against lowly Mainsforth which should give them the chance to keep the pressure on before a testing match at Shildon tomorrow. The Railwaymen are currently 30 points behind Esh and know that if they win at Evenwood today, and then turn the second placed side over tomorrow, the whole picture would be dramatically changed. Stewart Hall is unavailable.
While Shildon sit threateningly behind the top pair Willington could well be the team to emerge as a serious threat as the double header pits them against bottom club Etherley today, and then they travel to another struggling team, Mainsforth, tomorrow.
Tudhoe are not out of the reckoning yet and will be looking for a maximum return from their two outings - they entertain a Langley Park side today that has only one win all season to their credit, and then they go to Crook tomorrow, although the latter will be fresh into that match as they 'enjoy' their free day today. Hylton play host to Ushaw Moor and Moor round of their weekend with a home game against Brandon.
In the 3D Durham Coast League the pick of the fixtures is today's clash at Silksworth where the second placed home side take on current leadersCastle Eden. Castle, on the are at full strength for both days, with unbeaten Bill Quay their visitors on Sunday. Quay, though, face selection dilemmas. With a home game against Seaham Park starting their weekend off the apparent weakening of the side could not have come at a more inopportune time. Seaham will be desperate to pick up full points today as it will not only keep up the pressure on the top sides but it will put them in tremendous heart for the local derby tomorrow against Dawdon. Dawdon have a full compliment for both days, with today being another away day at Boldon CA.
Boldon have the luxury of two home matches as, following Dawdon's visit they entertain Washington tomorrow. Along with Bill Quay they remain unbeaten and with David Batty back in the side after recovering from his dislocated shoulder they are confident that this could be the weekend when they set down the marker to the rest.
Murton have a free day to start the weekend and then go to RyhopeRyhope start their programme with a game at Peterlee and name an unchanged side for both days. Peterlee are strengthened for their games, the second of which is at Easington, by the return of a number of players including David Garraghan