South Shields CC face a busy weekend with a double header that finishes tomorrow with a crunch derby clash against Whitburn.
The Wood Terrace side have had a tricky start to the season, but enjoyed a good win over Felling in their last game to move up the NEPL Premier League standings.
They are back in action in the longer form of the game tomorrow, but before that they face a Twenty20 game against Gateshead Fell.
Shields will have home advantage for the NEPL T20 tie, and will field a strong team, with two Durham University lads likely to feature, opening batsman Alex Combe, and off spin bowler Nabeel Aziz
Captain Chris Rainbow likely to go with the following team: Alex Combe, Salman Ahmed, Chris Rainbow, Michael Dunn, Chris Dorothy, Luke Elliott, Chris Stewart, Sam Taylor-Gell, Sam Embleton, Nabeel Aziz, Matty Muchall.
Shields will be confident of doing well in the game, having already beaten Fell earlier this season in the Banks Salver.
However, it won’t be easy with the visitors going well in Division One following relegation from the Premier Division last season.
The first XI then travel to neighbours Whitburn in an important NEPL Premier Division clash for both clubs tomorrow.
Shields sit 29 points and three league place above Whitburn, who hover uncomfortably only one place off the bottom.
Shields are likely to be without middle order batsman Michael Dunn, and all-rounder Chris Dorothy, both of whom look to have work commitments over the weekend.
And spinner Aziz will definitely miss out due to university commitments in what is a further blow for Rainbow’s selection plans.
Seam bowler Chris Stewart is still nursing a back strain, and so will not bowl this weekend, but the versatile player will retain his place as a batsman following an impressive 60 not out against Hetton Lyons.
Rainbow will have the option of promoting from the in-form second XI, with batsmen Uzi Afaq, Mark Appleton, Keelan Clements, and bowlers Oli Appleby and Shae Clements all in consideration.
Predicted team: Combe, Afaq, Ahmed, Rainbow, Elliott, Stewart, Taylor-Gell, Embleton, Muchall, Appleby, Clements.
Whitburn, meanwhile, will be desperate to make home advantage count in the game.
Fixture secretary Dan Quinan said: “There are two changes. Gary Burlinson, a batsman, returns from holiday and replaces myself and Paul Shields remains in the team as a result.”
l South Shields’ second XI, who are currently going well in this season’s campaign and sit just behind league leaders Brandon, are at home to bottom club Mainsforth tomorrow.
It means that despite having a slightly weaker side out, due to first team promotions, they hope they will still be too strong for the visitors.
The second string are then at home to South Northumberland in the Banks Bowl clash on Sunday, after the original tie was rained off last weekend.
Skipper Anth Marshall will have a strong team available for him to select from, and so this promises to be a good contest.
The thirds travel to Newcastle on Sunday, while the fourth team go to Annfield Plain.