Marsden boosted by the arrival of Francisco

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Marsden’s tough start to the season sees them entertain Ryhope in an early season clash of promotion hopefuls.

The visitors were one of only two winners last weekend and the match which starts at 1.30pm is surely to be an entertaining affair.

Marsden are boosted by the arrival of their overseas professional Nisal Francisco, an extremely promising left hand opening batsman and leg spin bowler.

The Sri Lankan made his first class debut in 2017 and the club have high hopes that he will form an effective partnership at the top of the order with Chris Mann.

Mann was delighted with the team’s overall performance with four batsman contributing scores over 30, including Mark Symington, who hit a run a ball 66.

After Crook made a strong start, the bowlers then dug in to almost force a victory in the last over of the match

Skipper Mann makes just one change from the side that drew the opening day fixture with Crook, with Francisco replacing Mark Woodhead, who is unavailable.

Mann is hoping consistency of selection can be one of the factors that guides his team to success.

Mann said: “Mark Woodhead missing is a blow because of the discipline he brings to the bowling attack, but the change bowlers, Ryan Little and Sam Crews, certainly showed enough to warrant keeping their places, while Owen Amess was outstanding behind the stumps.

“Had Woodhead been available, it would have undoubtedly caused a major selection headache.”

One player surely to be knocking on the selection committee’s door over the next few weeks is Michael Elliot, who took six wickets last weekend as Crook were dismissed for just 38 before Marsden powered to an eight-wicket victory.

Second XI skipper Neil Wastell misses the reverse fixture, with Neil Cairns set to take over the captaincy for the day.

Kristian Summerside is also available, but Adam Sneller again misses out due to other sporting commitments.

A youthful academy team make the trip to Shotley Bridge as they start their 2017 campaign, with the ethos of the team set firmly in the development of the club’s brightest young talent.

The club would like to thank this week’s match sponsors Perfectly Clear Drinks and SAY training consultancy for their continued support.