Future’s bright for South Shields cricketers – if they can avoid relegation

Shields bowler Sameer Awan.
Shields bowler Sameer Awan.

South Shields have to avoid defeat at basement club Blaydon, to ensure they do not finish bottom of the Dukes ECB NEPL First Division, and presently they have a 19-point ‘cushion’.

It has been a tough campaign for the Wood Terrace side, but chairman Jim Elliott has been delighted with the progress of the club’s youngsters who have been thrown in at the deep end.

He said: “Though results have not gone the club’s way throughout the season, there are signs of positivity for the future.

“It has been stressed during the season that the younger members would be given a chance and the club expected to be in the lower regions of the league and this has proved the case.

“However, a look at the promising youngsters now in, or near, the first team shows the policy is beginning to bear fruition.

“Luke Elliott has gone from an average of nine batting in the seconds to be the leading run scorer in the firsts this season. Sixteen-year old Josh Leslie has turned out to be a very useful and economical part of the bowling unit.

“Adam May professed to be a ‘batting’ all-rounder at the start of the season, but has vastly improved his bowling.

“Ben Scott, another 16-year-old, is showing promise with the bat and has already chalked up a 50, showing great development.

“Sameer Awan is now carefully choosing his shots. He bats for longer, picks the right one and can also turn his arm over when required.

“Those mentioned, and other stalwarts, will all be given the chance to turn out this week at Blaydon, the bottom of the table clash with plenty of pride to play for and hopefully, avoiding the wooden spoon.”

In the Premier Division, Whitburn travel to Benwell Hill and skipper Paul Shields said: “For the first time this season there will be no changes for the final fixture.

“We need to be on our toes as Newcastle can catch us if events don’t go our way.

“The squad has maintained its high level of performance in recent weeks and have only been undone by the loss of the toss, so it is hoped that doesn’t happen this week and a positive outcome ensues.”

Whiteleas and Harton CC welcome Mainsforth (1pm) for their penultimate Readers Durham Cricket League Division One game of the season.

Having lost two of their last three games, Leas remain firmly in a relegation battle knowing it’ll be either themselves, Bill Quay or Horden who join tomorrow’s visitors for the drop to Division Two.

Andrew Potts’ side are nine points clear of Horden and one behind Bill Quay, therefore a win would pretty much guarantee safety.

The skipper has warned his side that they have to stand up and be counted in tomorrow’s clash.

He said, “We’re disappointed that we’re going into the last game with a chance that we could be one of the sides who go down.

“However, the league table doesn’t lie and it’s up to us to make sure we get a positive result tomorrow. We need some big performances from our players.”

Leas are at full strength with bowlers Ryan Hale and Chris Nichol returning to the side. Elsewhere, Marsden travel to Philadelphia.

In Division Two, Langley Park and Boldon CA will both finish in mid-table this season. If the visitors avoid defeat, they will finish above their hosts in the league.